Reversing Iron Deficient Anemia in Thal Minor with A Vegetarian Diet

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Offline Andy Battaglia

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Although iron is often contraindicated in thal minor, there are cases where iron deficient anemia does coexist with thal minor, and iron supplementation is recommended. Since iron supplements can be rather harsh on the digestive system, it is often preferrable to increase dietary iron intake. For meat eaters, this may be as simple as eating more red meat but for vegetarians it may not be so simple. Having been in an extremely iron deficient situation after a great loss of blood after surgery, I was confronted with this problem myself. With a hematocrit of only 25 (40-45 being normal for a male) I was in a severe anemic state. Iron pills proved useless as my stomach could not tolerate them. My only choice was to find dietary ways to increase my iron levels. A concerted, long-term effort has resulted in my hematocrit rising as high as 48. Below are some tips for increasing iron levels and I will add one more thing. I have been taking the wheatgrass extract from wheatgrassactive for the past two years and my occasional bouts of anemia have disappeared and my energy level has been far more consistent.

From the book, Laurel's Kitchen:

Iron and the Vegetarian Diet

    Factors affecting iron absorption are various and complex. Since the iron in meat is absorbed by a different mechanism than is iron from other sources, the vegetarian diet must be considered in a different light from the standard recommendations. The main factor governing absorption is always the body's need for iron, but there are other factors, too. One of these is the form of iron in the diet. Iron exists in two states of ionization; ferrous (carrying two positive charges) and ferric (carrying three positive charges), and ferrous iron is much more easily absorbed. Iron also reacts with other nutrients in the intestine, and these may increase or decrease its absorption. Phytic acid in the hulls of grains binds up iron just as it does calcuim and therefore inhibits the absorption of both, as do large amounts of fiber in the diet. On the other hand, the sulfur-containing amino acids, citric acid, calcium, and vitamin C all enhance absorption.  High quality protein from meat or plant sources has also been shown to enhance the absorption of iron from plant sources.
Vitamin C is of great importance to vegetarians, since it specifically enhances the absorption of iron from plant sources, partly by reducing ferric iron to the more absorbable ferrous form. In evaluation your iron status, the whole dietary picture must be taken into account.
    Food composition charts may be misleading when it comes to iron because of wide variations in mineral content (up to 500 percent for iron) depending on where the food was grown.
    Variety and a well balanced diet will go a long way toward supplying the iron you need. Little amounts from many places add up significantly....In addition, the iron deficient vegetarian should make a point of using cast iron pots for cooking and be sure to include foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, along with iron rich foods at every meal.

Sources of Iron
(Adult RDA is 10-18 mg.)

10.5 mg. prune juice, 1 cup
7.9 mg. black beans, 1 cup, cooked
6.9 garbanzo beans, 1 cup cooked
6.1 pinto beans, 1 c., ckd.
5.1 navy beans, 1 c. ckd.
5.1 lima beans (dry), 1 c. ckd
4.9 soybeans, 1 c. ckd.
4.8 rice bran, 1/4 c.
4.4 rice polishings, 1/4 c.
4.3 lima beans (green), 1 c. ckd.
4.2 lentils, 1 c. ckd.
4.0 spinach, 1 c. ckd.
3.9 peach halves (dried), 5
3.9 millet, 1/4 c. dry
3.4 jerusalem artichokes, 4 small
3.5 split peas (green), 1 c. ckd.
3.2 blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon
2.9 fresh peas, 1 c.
2.8 beet greens, 1 c. ckd.
2.6 raisins, 1/4 c.
2.6 chard, 1 c. ckd.
2.4 dates, 10 meduim
2.4 sesame meal, 1/4 c.
2.3 tofu, 4 ounce piece
2.2 tomato juice, 1 c.
2.1 wheat berries, 1/3 cup dry
2.1 butternut squash, 1 c. baked
2.1 pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons
1.9 wheat bran, 1/4 c.
1.9 wheat germ, 1/4 c.
1.8 soy milk, 1 c.
1.8 kale, 1 c. ckd.
1.8 prunes, 5 ckd.
1.8 sweet potato, 1 c. mashed
1.7 acorn squash, 1/2 baked
1.7 brussels sprouts, 8 ckd.
1.5 torula yeast, 1 tablespoon
1.5 strawberries, 1 cup
1.4 potato, 1 large ckd.
1.4 oatmeal, 1 c. ckd.
1.0 brown rice, 1 c. ckd.

***All the above is from the cookbook, Laurel's Kitchen. The statement about where food is grown speaks not only for the location of the farm, but the farming methods used. Organic methods are shown to produce food with higher nutrient values, and are always preferrable when they can be found.***

Below is a recipe for muffins that have often given me a boost when needed.

Wheat Germ Muffins

1/3 cup melted butter or oil
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup dry milk powder (optional--I usually leave this out and the muffins are still good.)
1 c. wheat germ
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or line them with paper liners. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix until well blended. Pour into prepared muffin tins and bake 15 minutes.

Makes 10-12 muffins

Optional eggless method replaces the eggs with 2 tbs arrowroot powder, 1/2 cup of yogurt and replace the baking powder with 3/4 tsp of baking soda.

« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 10:21:30 PM by Andy »

All we are saying is give thals a chance.



Hi Andy
Welcome back ,this was an interesting piece of writting ,great information on the source of iron in the food.Most of which I enjoy and like to eat it. I will surely  make the most  of the learning.Thank-you.


Offline SalD

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Wow Andy!  I found that fascinating!  I had NO idea that prune juice had so much iron in it.  When I think of high iron foods I tend to think of meat and spinach!  Just goes to show - Popeye the Sailor Man has confused us all!  :wonder


Offline §ãJ¡Ð ساجد

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I wanted to ask/comment on this without reffering to our friends who have to be Vegetarian by religion, but then I thought that for the rest of us there is no compulsion in being a non-veg or veg. so I think I shouldn't.
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Offline §ãJ¡Ð ساجد

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Popeye the Sailor Man has confused us all!  :wonder

Popeye was a marketing gimmick! It is a really old cartoon since the Black & White era of the televison. At that time, canned food was newly introduced and people prefered fresh veggies instead of canned ones.  Popeye did wonders to sitmulate kids to eat veggies and they demanded for the "Spinach that Popeye eats out of the can." Thus the toon became popular
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