Cast Iron Utensils And Iron Fortification Of Foods
When I was carrying my babies the worst thing in my life was popping those little iron tabs….. I just simply hated them, I don’t know why but they left me with a very peculiar after taste in mouth. But then there was no other option. And then suddenly I developed a terribly bad stomach so I was told by the doctor to stop taking Iron pills. What a relief it was but along with that came a rider that I would have to compensate through some other ways. Now this post tells about my those “Other Ways” to make up for the iron supplement.
The fact remains that around 80 percent of the people in the world are supposed to be deficient in iron, and almost 30 percent of the population suffering from iron deficiency that is also known as ‘anemia’. Who doesn’t know that Iron is essential for creating red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. If your iron levels are low, you can and must take steps to increase them.
An adult usually requires a dose of 40-200 mg of iron daily, depending on the severity of the condition of anemia. Since the amount of iron absorbed decreases as doses get larger, most people should take their daily iron supplement in two or three equally spaced doses.
Iron supplements are available in regular tablets and capsules, liquid, drops, and coated or extended release tablets and capsules. All iron supplements cause your stool to become dark in color, and some people may also experience side effects which make it hard to follow recommended dosages like an upset stomach and constipation are the most common side effects of iron.
If you are a person like me who cannot have iron supplements in any way, then you will have to rely on natural sources of Iron to compensate your requirements. There are various sources of iron like:
- Chicken liver
- Boiled lentils
- whole grains
- fortified cereals.
Iron, from animal-based iron sources, is absorbed two to three times more efficiently than from plant-based iron sources. Consuming animal food along with plant food along with vitamin C, vitamin A or beta-carotene can increase the absorption of iron.
Iron cookware can fortify food with iron content by increasing the amount of iron in the diet. And the best is to cook green leafy vegetables and brinjals in cast iron cook pots. Most of the time, this is a very small source of dietary iron Iron vessels such as karahis are often used in cooking for their health benefits. One study showed that cooking in iron pots can help reduce the risk of anaemia. When you cook food in iron vessels, it reacts with the metal surface. As a result, iron gets released in the food. This is why green vegetables cooked in an iron wok or karahi look darker in colour! As iron pots and pans heat up evenly and keep food warm for a longer time. They are also ideal for slow cooking, which means more iron fortification.
In many states in India after the delivery , new mothers are given water to drink which has been boiled with an iron rod in it. They believe that it helps in fighting anemia among new moms.
Basically it is like if above mentioned foods which are rich in Iron are cooked in cast iron utensils and served with a combination of vitamin C, vitamin A or beta-carotene then we can be sure that some extra iron fortified food is being consumed by us easily and without any side effects.
Things to watch out for
- It is best not to cook in an iron vessel every day. Using it only two to three times a week can help to prevent an overload of iron in your body.
- Sour or acidic foods may react with the iron to create an unpleasant metallic taste. Cook kadhi, rasam, sambar, or a tomato-based curry in a stainless steel vessel instead.
- Wash the karahi with a mild detergent and dry immediately. Store it with a thin coat of vegetable oil to protect it from rust.
- For the same reason, any food cooked in iron vessels should be transferred immediately to a glass or enamel dish.
So are you going to start cooking green vegetables in cast iron utensils?
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