The issue of nutritional iron has resurfaced. I’ve been feeling tired lately, and I suspect it is partly due to the change in my diet. Just after Christmas, I stopped eating factory farmed meat. More recently, I changed my iron-rich breakfast of homemade granola (with prunes!) to plain old toast and peanut butter. Why? I was too lazy to make the granola.
Then a Facebook friend posted a link to this news item about a health initiative to mitigate dietary iron deficiency, “a problem that affects about 3.5 billion people worldwide, especially in developing countries.” NGO’s introduced Cambodian cooks to the “lucky iron fish.” When they added it to the pot used to boil drinking water, the water absorbed nutritional iron.
“The fish is thrown into the pot with the day’s drinking water, along with a squeeze of lemon juice (vitamin C helps iron absorption in the gut). Made from scrap iron from a nearby factory, the fish cost $1.50 each to make.
Lab studies have shown that the drinking water provides about 75 per cent of daily iron requirements. More important, it increases the body’s iron stores, so more circulates in the blood. In continuing field studies, people report feeling better and having more energy.”
In some shape or form, iron has been a theme throughout my life. From anemia to iron overload and everywhere in between. The first time I encountered iron in its native state was in the sandbox.
OK. It’s story time:
Dad ran his business from his shop in the basement. That meant that he was home to monitor us and make sure we were fed and watered. The monitoring, however, more often than not fell to the boob tube. We watched children’s programs until the game shows started. If he didn’t intervene, we were good until lunchtime.
Every now and again, he’d exercise parental responsibility and shoo us outside. “Turn of the TV!” he’d say, “Go outside, and get the stink blown off!” If the weather was iffy, we played on the front veranda, otherwise, we had the run of the rear yard where we played Lost Kids or Davy Crockett or Swords.
One time Dad took a more active role in our play. He came up from the basement and told us to come outside to the sandbox.
He said, “I have a job for you to do.”
This was interesting!
“Look,” he said, “This is a magnet, and this is a metal nail. See how the nail sticks to the magnet?”
This was VERY interesting!
“Now, look what happens when I do this!” He passed the magnet through the sand and when he lifted it to show us, it was covered in tiny black particles. “I want you to fill this pill bottle with these metal filings. Can you do that for me?”
And so began a lifelong love affair with science.
(cue sound-clip of a phonograph needle screeching as it is yanked off the LP.)
And so began a 20-minute-long love affair with science. I filled about a third of the tiny pill bottle, stood up, dusted off my hands and went inside to watch the Flintstones.
Tags: iron deficiency