Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Fighting anaemia the natural way: Use iron pots, utensils, pans for cooking food

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Going back to the basics, nutritionists now
recommend that food should be cooked in iron utensils to beat the
ever-growing health problem of anaemia, particularly in young
children, adolescents and pregnant women.

Studies on the iron content in food, cooked in iron utensils and those
made of other metals, revealed that the food prepared in iron “tavva”
and “kadai” contained relatively higher content of iron, deficiency of
which in the body leads to anaemia. Anaemia not only robs agility and
ability of a person, but also makes him or her prone to a number of
health issues including poor absorption of food and deficiency in
oxygen intake.

Researchers from Jehangir Medical Research Institute, Pune, gave a
presentation at the Institute of Nutrition here on the medical
benefits of cooking food in iron kitchenware. According to Surabhi
Shah, as part of the research they selected pre-school children,
between 2.9 years and 3.1 years, to find out whether food cooked in
iron utensils improved the haemoglobin content in their blood.

“Iron deficiency anaemia is seen among preschoolers mainly due to
meagre consumption of iron rich foods. Four iron rich snacks with
about 3.7 mg of iron per serving were prepared and served to two
batches of children. While one group got the food prepared in iron
utensils, the other group had the food from non-iron utensil. They
were fed for five days a week for 16 weeks,” she pointed out, adding
that the group that had the food cooked in iron utensils got
relatively higher content of iron.

Average increase of 17 per cent in iron content was recorded in
recipes after cooking in iron pots. Those who received food cooked in
iron utensils showed increase in serum iron by 69.3 per cent,
transferring saturation by 78.3 per cent and haemoglobin by 6.93 per
cent. The rate of anaemia decreased by about 10 per cent. “A positive
correlation of supplemented iron intake was noted with haemoglobin.
Thus, supplementation of iron rich recipes with contaminated iron
(cooking in iron utensils) has a positive effect on iron status,” she
added.

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