Next on the list of minerals for us to discuss in the Shaklak Aklak series is Iron. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. 30% of children in Egypt suffer from iron deficiency, known as anemia, and long-term iron deficiency in infants and young children can lead to developmental delay and learning difficulties.
Iron is an essential element for hemoglobin production and transporting oxygen around your body to all your cells. Hemoglobin is hugely important in allowing our organs to receive enough oxygen, which explains why you feel tired all the time if you are iron deficient. Not just that, but iron also enhances our immune response and promotes cell recovery.
Sources of Iron
Iron from our food is available in two forms, heme and non-heme. Heme iron is present in animal foods such as beef, liver, fish, and poultry. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods such as molasses, spinach, lentils, quinoa, and even dark chocolate.
Factors that Affect Absorption
What you eat alongside foods high in iron is critical to its absorption.
Tea: The tannin compounds in tea block the absorption of iron. Make sure to not have
tea with your meals, and wait 2 hours after your meal before you make your cup of tea.
Vitamin C: Foods high in vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, guava, broccoli, and
tomatoes) enhance iron absorption from food.
Phytates: Phytates are compounds that bind minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium,
making them unavailable for absorption in the body. They are present in wholegrain
breads, cereals, grains, seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruit. Too much phytate
consumption will reduce iron absorption.
Stay tuned for more Shaklak Aklak episodes where important nutritional information such as servings sizes, differences between fats, and nutritional values are discussed. Find out more information via the Shaklak Aklak website, Facebook page, Instagram page, and YouTube channel.