Why a child’s diet should have enough Iron!
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On September 01, 2018
Iron is an essential element of the human body. It is important especially for growing children and adolescents. Iron is a part of many enzymes and most of all a principal part of hemoglobin of the red blood cells which carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
It is estimated that 70% of the children in India have anemia (low hemoglobin) as their iron intake in the diet is less. This puts them at risk of low IQ and poor physical health.
Why iron is so important in child’s diet:
- Helps make red blood cells & hemoglobin to carry oxygen from lungs to other parts of the body
- Brain and Cognitive development
- Important for immunity to fight infections
- For maintaining the blood volume and blood pressure
- It is required for increasing the lean body mass (muscle mass)
- Helps in proper growth and development
What are the symptoms of Iron deficiency?
- Generalised weakness and feeling tired most of the times
- Pale Skin or sometimes paleness is limited to only nails, eyelids, face, gums or lips
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent Headache and Giddiness
- Heart Palpitations- Irregular of fast heartbeats
- Weak, Dry and easily pluckable hair
- Brittle or Spoon shaped nails of the finger
- Frequent infections
- Low Stamina and Poor Academic Performance
Rich sources of Iron:
- Liver and spleen of pork, chicken and goat
- Lean meat, poultry
- Cereals like amaranth, Rajgeera and bajra
- Pulses like horsegram dal (kulith), lentil and soyabean
- Nuts and oilseeds like garden cress seeds, sesame seeds and Niger seeds
Quick tips to enhance iron absorption in child’s diet:
- Dash of lime or juicy citrus fruit with meals, as vitamin C enhances the iron absorption
- Sprouting or fermenting the whole pulses
- Avoid having calcium rich sources along with iron rich foods as they compete in absorption such as palak paneer.
- Cut down on the tannin rich foods like tea and coffee, as they inhibit the iron absorption.
- Include iron fortified cereals
Daily iron requirements for children:
|Age group||Iron requirement(mg/day)|
|10-12 years (Boys)||21|
|10-12 years (Girls)||27|
|13-15 years (Boys)||32|
|13-15 years (Girls)||27|
|16-17 years (Boys)||28|
|16-17 years (Girls)||26|
Iron rich Recipes:
To check and ensure adequate iron intake as per your child’s requirement, download the Fitterfly app to do your child’s nutrition assessment or consult a Pediatric Nutritionist at Fitterfly.
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