Iron is an important mineral in our health, but iron deficiency anemia affects more than 18 million Americans. Iron combines with a protein called hemoglobin in our blood, which carries oxygen from your lungs to the tissues of your body. Myoglobin carries oxygen to the muscle cells.
The absorption of iron from food can be affected by certain factors. There are two types of iron available in foods: heme and nonheme iron. Both are found in meat, fish and poultry. Nonheme iron is found in vegetables, fruits and grains. Heme iron is better absorbed than nonheme iron. Fifteen to 35 percent of heme iron is absorbed, while only 2 to 20 percent of nonheme iron is absorbed. Vegetarians need to be watchful of their iron levels.
Also, foods high in vitamin C increase the body's use of iron by changing it to a better chemical form. Eat a high vitamin C food along with a high iron food to unlock all of the iron. For example, drink orange juice with your eggs and whole wheat toast, have a baked potato with your steak, add ground beef to the chili and tomatoes, have strawberries with oatmeal, eat an orange with a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread.
Some foods interfere with iron absorption, such as oxalates in spinach and chocolate, tannins found in tea, carbonate in soda, calcium supplements (take on empty stomach), phytic acid in wheat bran and soy products. Red meats, especially organ meats, are naturally high in iron. Other foods, such as cereal, flour and bread, are enriched or fortified with extra iron. The RDA is 18 mg a day for women age 18 to 50.
Iron Rich Foods:
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
It is important for your friend to investigate the cause for her low iron. Has she been on a restricted diet, or does she have heavy menstruation, or has she been checked for gastrointestinal bleeding?
Eating foods high in iron can help, but she may need therapeutic doses of iron and blood-building hormones. Other B vitamins are important, such as B12.
There must be some vitamins that do not contain dyes--maybe the Feingold Association or Food Allergy Network can help.
Iron can also be given intravenously, under close medical supervision. In other words, if a high-iron diet is not effective enough, there are more aggressive avenues to pursue.
Make her a pot of chili, a fruit salad, and snacks of mixed nuts and raisins. Once made, these are easy to eat. Her beverage should be fruit juices. She should drink coffee or tea between meals, and not at meals.
----- Original Message -----From: BrendaSent: Friday, June 23, 2000 9:53 PMSubject: [MOL] Low PlateletsDo you have an answer about the low platelet count?I would like to know what causes a low platelet count (43,000) when all my other lab results are normal. I would also like to know if there is anything I can do nutritionally to correct the problem. Thanks!