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Red Meat Dos and Don’ts

Roast beef
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* Keep your red meat consumption to 18 ounces per week or less. A handy yardstick: A typical 3-ounce serving of red meat is about the size of a computer mouse.

* Choose leaner cuts of meat, such as top sirloin beef, and trim excess fat.

* Serve meat as a side dish instead of an entree.

* Replace red meat with other protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans or nuts.

* Use lower-temperature cooking methods such as stewing.

* If you grill, keep meat away from the coals or use a gas grill and don’t overcook.

* Women in reproductive years who eat little meat should take a multivitamin with iron to reduce the risk of iron deficiency.

Sources: Los Angles Times

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That Tired Feeling

Tired? Uninterested in life? No energy to set about your daily activities? Feel a strange uncontrollable urge to eat bizarre non-food items like chalk, clay, bricks, dirt or even ice? You just may be part of the 220 million Indians who are anaemic.

…………………………………..

Anaemia is defined as a haemoglobin (Hb) level less than 12 grams/decilitre (gms/dl) in women and 14gms/dl in men. Close to 70 per cent of the population in India has a Hb value around 10-11gms/dl. Although anaemia can be due to many causes, genetic or acquired, most often it is due to a deficiency of iron.

Our body needs energy to function. This is obtained by metabolising nutrients, a process requiring oxygen. Haemoglobin in the red blood cells binds oxygen and then supplies it all over the body. Iron is one of the main components of haemoglobin. If it is not available in sufficient quantities, the level of haemoglobin drops. This slows cell metabolism and functions. The person develops lethargy, sleepiness, tiredness, disinterest, inefficiency and ineffectiveness. This is eventually reflected in academic performance and earning capacity.

Iron for haemoglobin production is obtained from the diet. Absorption of iron is not very efficient even in ideal circumstances. A normal diet contains between 15 (vegetarian) and 75 (non-vegetarian) milligrams (mg) of iron. Only about 6 per cent is absorbed and the rest is excreted. Chemicals like tannates found in tea precipitate iron.

Seventy per cent of Indians are vegetarians. Vegetables contain phytates which interfere with efficient iron absorption. Non-vegetarian haem iron from meat and fish is best absorbed. Many non-vegetarians eat them only a few times in a week. Most Indian diets, therefore, barely meet the minimum daily requirement of iron of 15mg a day. This means that if there is decreased availability of iron, loss of blood or additional requirements, the person becomes anaemic.

The absorption of iron may be decreased by diseases of the stomach and intestines. Medicines which reduce stomach acidity (antacids, omeprazole, ranitidine, rabeprazole) also decrease the absorption of available iron.

Women are more prone to anaemia. They lose around 0.5mg of iron a day during menstruation — a loss that occurs every month from menarche to menopause. This is aggravated if the periods are prolonged or there is heavy bleeding. If the woman becomes pregnant, the baby requires 0.5-0.8mg of iron a day. The same amount is required during lactation. These extra losses from the body are often not replenished. This leads to a gradual fall in iron stores and anaemia.

Iron stores may become inadequate during periods of rapid growth like infancy. Infants triple their birth weight in the first year. They can become anaemic because they are not born with enough iron stores to cope with the requirements during this rapid growth. During the second growth spurt in adolescence, food faddism often makes the diet unsatisfactory from the caloric and nutrition point of view. This can eventually result in anaemia.

About 50 per cent of the population is infected with intestinal worms. There are several varieties which lay between 3,000 and 30,000 eggs a day. Each worm causes blood loss of 0.03ml a day. The anaemia can become severe, with the haemoglobin dropping to 3 gm/dl or less.

Unnoticed undiagnosed blood loss — from the stomach if there is a bleeding peptic ulcer, the intestines if there are polyps, the rectum if there are bleeding piles — can result in anaemia. If men or postmenopausal women on an adequate diet become anaemic, secondary unrecognised blood loss should be diligently searched for.

Anaemia produces a pale skin, a smooth tongue and fissuring at the angles of the mouth. The nails may become brittle. The person may complain of lethargy and difficulty in swallowing. This is because webs may form in the oesophagus. There may be a dull aching or pricking pain in the legs, relieved only by moving them rapidly, the “restless leg”.

Untreated anaemia can result in premature births. In children it may lead to growth retardation. It can eventually cause heart failure and even death.

Iron deficiency cannot be rectified by diet alone. It is necessary to take iron supplements. Iron is poorly absorbed but this can be helped by taking the tablet with an acidic drink like lemon or orange juice. If other metals, like zinc, are administered simultaneously, they compete for the same absorption sites in the intestines, decreasing availability.

So remember, if you are taking iron, zinc and calcium supplements, they need to be taken individually 12 hours apart to be effective, and not all together as a single capsule as unscientifically advertised in the media.

Sources: The Telegraph (kolkata, india)

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Anemia

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Looking pale? Feeling weak and tired? There’s a quick blood test available to assess
whether anemia is to blame — and if so, whether it’s caused by iron-poor blood or something else. Your doctor is the best person to ask about whether certain supplements might be right for you.

Symptoms
Weakness, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, or mental confusion.
Paleness, especially of the gums and eyelids or under the nails.
Palpitations; shortness of breath.
Sores in the mouth or tongue; unusual bruising or bleeding.
Numbness and tingling of the feet or legs.
Nausea and diarrhea
.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you have any symptoms of anemia — your doctor must find the underlying cause.
If you are pregnant (or are considering pregnancy) or menstruate heavily.
If you are following a treatment plan for anemia — regular checkups can determine if
supplements are working.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is
Anemia is a condition in which there is a shortage of red cells in the blood or a
deficiency of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying pigment) in these cells. When anemia occurs, the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, and weakness and fatigue result. Although symptoms may not appear — or may be very mild — for a long time, the condition can be life-threatening if it is left undiagnosed and untreated. Should you suspect you are anemic, it’s essential that you see your doctor promptly to ascertain the underlying cause. Treatment will vary, depending on the diagnosis.

What Causes It
Iron deficiency, the most common cause of anemia, usually results from a gradual, prolonged blood loss, which depletes the body’s iron stores. Without enough iron, hemoglobin levels fall. Menstruating women, particularly those with heavy periods, are prone to iron-deficiency anemia. However, men and women can develop iron deficiency from any condition that causes slow bleeding — including long-term hemorrhoids, rectal polyps, or ulcers; stomach or colon cancer; or prolonged use of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Because so many foods are fortified with iron, iron-deficiency anemia can rarely be attributed to a lack of this mineral in the diet.

Less common is anemia that results from a deficiency of vitamin B12 (in which case it’s called pernicious anemia) or folic acid. Both nutrients are essential to red blood cell production. Alcoholics, smokers, people with certain digestive disorders, vegetarians, those over age 50, and pregnant or lactating women are the most likely to be at risk, either because of poor nutrition or an inability to absorb these nutrients properly. Other forms of anemia can be traced to chronic illnesses (for example, cancer, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis); hereditary disorders such as sickle-cell anemia; or exposure to toxic drugs, chemicals, or radiation.

How Supplements Can Help
Before taking supplements, you need to determine the underlying cause of your anemia. It’s especially important to see a doctor about iron-deficiency anemia, which may be caused by internal bleeding. If you’re advised to take supplements, have blood work every month to see if they are worthwhile.
If iron-deficiency anemia is diagnosed, the mineral iron combined with vitamin C may be of
value. A study involving 28 strict vegetarians found that 500 mg of vitamin C, taken after
lunch and dinner for two months, raised hemoglobin levels by 8% and blood iron levels by
17%. Vitamin C increases the body’s ability to absorb iron.
Take iron only under your doctor’s supervision, because too much can be dangerous.
Most postmenopausal women and men of all ages get plenty of iron in their diet and should not take a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains it. A recent survey of elderly Americans found that more than 90% of them had too much iron in their diets –and that only 1% suffered from iron — deficiency anemia. Excess iron acts as an “oxidant,” generating harmful molecules called free radicals that can raise cholesterol and block arteries. Toomuch iron has been linked to heart disease.
Various herbs may also be useful. Yellow dock has modest amounts of iron, but it’s well
absorbed and can raise blood iron levels. Other iron-rich herbs include seaweed and dulse.
Taken as a tincture, juice, or tea, some herbs (dandelion, burdock, mint, and linden
flowers) may enhance the body’s ability to absorb iron from foods or supplements.

Vitamin C may be beneficial if you have anemia caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12 or
folic acid as well; it aids the body in absorbing these nutrients. Vitamin B12 and folic
acid should always be taken in tandem, and under a doctor’s supervision, because a high
intake of one can mask a deficiency of the other. Together they work to boost production of red blood cells. Once anemia is corrected and a problem with absorption has been ruled out as a cause, the amount of B12 and folic acid in your daily multivitamin may be sufficient to prevent a recurrence.

What Else You Can Do
Eat foods rich in iron (dried beans, liver, red meat, dried fruits, nuts, shellfish); in
folic acid (citrus fruits, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, liver, soybeans, wheat germ); and
in vitamin B12 (liver, shellfish, lamb, beef, cheese, fish, eggs).

Supplement Recommendations

Iron
Vitamin C
Vitamin B12/Folic Acid
Yellow Dock
Dandelion

Iron
Dosage: 30 mg 3 times a day with meals.
Comments: Your doctor may prescribe a higher dosage.

Vitamin C
Dosage: 500 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Take with meals to enhance iron absorption from foods.

Vitamin B12/Folic Acid
Dosage: 1,000 mcg B12 and 400 mcg folic acid in sublingual form twice a day for 1 month.
Comments: Always take B12 and folic acid together. If still anemic after oral B12
supplements, you may need B12 injections.

Yellow Dock
Dosage: 1,000 mg each morning.
Comments: Or take 1/2 tsp. tincture twice a day.

Dandelion
Dosage: 1 tsp. fresh juice or tincture with water twice a day.
Comments: Take with yellow dock to enhance iron absorption.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs

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