Isn’t it amazing how our body is so strong, yet so fragile too? Thanks to our body we live and experience the world around us, which is why we must care for it and honor its integrity by taking the right nutrients to keep us healthy and happy while enjoying life.
Iron is a vital mineral; it’s found inside plants, animals, soil, air, water, meteorites and rocks! This nutrient is essential to your baby’s growth and development because it helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
When babies are born they have iron stored in their bodies, but a constant amount of additional iron is a must in order to help a baby’s steady development and growth. When your little one (or you while preggo) has low iron levels, the red blood cells become pale and small; a condition commonly known as anemia (a terrible thing especially for someone who is growing!)
Research sustains that the proper daily intake of this nutrient for babies and toddlers is:
- 7 – 12 months: 11 mg
- 1 – 3 years: 7 mg
Fun fact: Did you know that too much iron in someone’s blood system besides not being healthy can set off metal detectors?
So, where can we find this extraordinary mineral to care for our nutrition?
There are some fortified grains and cereals that offer a great amount of iron for you and/or your baby, but of course natural foods are always the best source to start helping out nutrition; for example beans!
Beans are worldwide known for making people gassy (oops!); but according to research, people who eat beans on a daily basis experience less gas and bloating than people who eat them less often. These legumes are rich in fiber and therefore are good for your digestion too, but if what you want is to absorb iron out of them, consider taking beans with foods high in vitamin C to increase its absorption by six times!
(Very important! Please mash or cut beans in smaller pieces to avoid choking hazard with small children)
Other excellent sources of iron are meat, seafood and poultry because they contain higher levels of ‘heme iron’. What is that or why is it important to your body? The quick answer is because it’s the easiest type of iron for your body to absorb naturally (in comparison to ‘non heme iron’ which is found inside plants and must be taken with other minerals to aid its absorption).
Though meat is the “fast lane” of getting iron, this mineral can be found in spinach, raisins, whole bread, seeds and olives too! Whether or not you are a vegetarian, these non-animal sources are delicious and nutritional on many levels! (not just iron).
The key is to have a healthy and balanced food intake! Pamper your body by giving it the right nutrients to keep it functioning, and teach your kids to have a hearty and appropriate nutrition starting from home.