Our expert says:
I am sorry to hear that your 3-year-old daughter and in fact, your whole family, suffer from iron-deficiency. The following dietary sources are rich in iron that is easily absorbed by the human body: liver (chicken, beef, lamb - containing up to 10 mg iron/100g), red meat (all types - beef , mutton, pork, venison - 2-3 mg iron/100g), poultry (chicken, turkey, ostrich about 2-3 mg iron/100g)), biltong (7-9 mg iron/100g), fish (all types- 1-2 mg iron/100g), egg yolk (4 mg iron/100g or about 2 mg/egg), breakfast cereals fortified with iron (this value you will find on the labels), and all maize meal and wheat bread sold in SA which is fortified with iron by government decree. Dried fruit and raisins are also a source of iron, containing about 2 mg iron/100 g, or 0.6 mg of iron per 30g portion. I trust that the doctor who diagnosed the iron deficiency in your lassie, has prescribed a paediatric iron supplement for her because when the body stores are so badly depleted it is important to supplement iron intake until the body stores are filled up again. This process can take up to 3 months. Many plant foods that are rich in iron like spinach do not make a marked contribution to iron intake, because the iron in foods like spinach is bound by certain chemicals called phytates which make it difficult for the body to absorb the iron (you may have noticed that your stools have a dark colour when you eat spinach due to the iron passing out of the body). I think you need to sit your daughter down and tell her that she is feeling so ill because she does not eat meat, fish, and eggs and that she needs to have at least one serving of such foods every day. Even young children can understand this type of message. I would also recommend that anyone in your family who has a severe iron deficiency should be treated by the doctor with an iron and folic acid supplement such as Ferro-Folic. Make sure that when you eat your iron-fortified breakfast cereals that you have a glass of orange juice with the breakfast because the vitamin C in the orange (or other citrus fruits), helps the body absorb the iron in the food. If you find that you and your daughter are not improving after 6 weeks of taking an iron supplement, then Please go back to the doctor and ask him to investigate further because you may have a genetic predisposition to iron-deficiency which will need to be addressed.
I hope you will all start feeling better now, esp your daughter.
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