Health & Relationships

Experts say iron-rich foods can prevent anaemia

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Medical experts have recommended the consumption of foods rich in iron mineral and supplement diet for people suffering from anaemia.

The experts are Dr Akinkumi Afolabi, a cardiologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba and Dr Tosin Olowojebutu, a General Physician with the Liberty-Life Hospital, Ogudu, Lagos.

They spoke in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, anaemia is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood and caused by lack of iron.



“When anaemia comes on slowly, the symptoms are often vague and may include feeling tired, weakness, shortness of breath or poor ability to exercise.

“Anaemia that comes on quickly often has greater symptoms which may include: confusion, feeling like one is going to pass out, and increased thirst,’’ it said.

Afolabi said that iron-deficiency, especially in women, could be prevented by eating foods containing iron minerals and other food supplements.

He listed foods containing high iron to include: meats, beans, pumpkin, leafy green, raisins, eggs, seafood, iron fortified dry cereals, broccoli, red and green pepper, cauliflower and citrus fruits.



“Iron-deficiency causes constant tiredness, lack of energy, having a pale complexion, or frequent headaches.

“Lack of iron in the body can result when people do not consume enough iron-rich foods which results in loss of blood.

“If the body lacks iron, it cannot produce enough haemoglobin (part of the red blood cells) that carries oxygen through the body,’’ Afolabi said.

The cardiologist said that iron deficiencies often affect infants, children and women who lose a lot of blood through menstruation, vegetarians and frequent blood donors.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), anaemia resulting from iron-deficiency adversely affects cognitive and motor development, which causes fatigue.

“It also results when it occurs in pregnancy, which may be associated with low birth weight and increased risk of maternal and prenatal mortality.

“WHO estimated that 90,000 deaths in both sexes and all age groups are due to iron deficiency,’’ he said.

Also, Olowojebutu, who is a Managing Director of Liberty-Life Hospital, Ogudu, Lagos, said that anyone could suffer from iron-deficiency anaemia, saying that some people were more at risk.

Olowojebutu told NAN that pregnant women and children were more at risk.

He listed pregnancy, menstrual bleeding and uterine fibroids as the reasons why women were more likely to have anaemia.

“Heavy menstrual period can cause iron deficiency in many women, especially if they bleed over consecutive menstrual cycles.

“This results in the loss of more red blood cells than the body can produce.

“Pregnancy can be caused by developing iron deficiency because during pregnancy, extra oxygen nutrients are required for the baby’s blood supply, which cause low iron levels,’’ Olowojebutu said.

He said that it was important to eat a well-balanced diet to get the required number of vitamins and minerals to keep the body in good health.

The physician said that the best ways to increase iron level in the blood or prevent low level of iron in the blood dropping include incorporating iron-rich foods in the diet.

According to him, such irons include heme-iron, animal sources of iron, vegetable source of iron, cooking with cast iron cookware and boosting iron level with supplement in all our diet.’’ (NAN)

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