The Health Benefits Of Iron In Kids

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The Health Benefits Of Iron In Kids

Iron is a mineral that helps babies and children for good health and development. Our body needs iron to make hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to all parts of our body. Iron gives red blood cells their color, and the deficiency of iron leads to anemia.


What are the Symptoms of Iron Deficiency?

Babies and children need iron for normal brain development. Thus, babies with insufficient iron intake experience the deficiency, making them less physically active and slow overall development. Additionally, parents can also notice the following symptoms of iron deficiency:

  • Slow weight gain
  • Dull skin color
  • Less appetite
  • Cranky and fussy behavior

Furthermore, it also leads to low levels of concentration in older children.


How much Iron is needed by Babies and Children?

Full-term babies are born with a sufficient iron level, which they receive from their mother’s blood while they are in the womb. And until the age of 6 months, babies get the required level of iron through breast milk. However, if your doctor recommends iron supplements for your baby, follow your doctor’s advice.

Once the baby starts eating solid food, the amount of iron depends on age. Ideally, the following Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) guidelines need to be followed.

 

Age  Amount of Iron per day (RDA)
7 to 12 months 11mg
1 to 3 years 7 mg
4 to 8 years 10 mg
9 to 13 years 8 mg
14 to 18 years

11 mg (for boys)

15mg (for girls)

 

What Foods are the Good Source of Iron?

There are two types of iron - Heme iron, and Non-heme iron.

Heme iron gets easily absorbed by the body and is found in meats. Whereas, Non-heme iron comes from plant sources like vegetables, legumes, and cereals. Thus, the good source of iron are:

  • Chicken, liver, fish, eggs.
  • Pasta, rice, whole grain bread, iron-fortified cereals.
  • Chickpeas, lentils, dried peas, and beans
  • Spinach, broccoli, green peas, beans.

 

To help the body effectively absorb iron, combine these foods with Vitamin C - oranges, tomatoes, and red peppers. For example, you may serve pasta with broccoli along with orange juice.

If your doctor recommends giving iron supplements to your child, you may notice the change in its poop color. It may look greenish but do not worry, as it is okay.

#childhealth #childnutrition
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