Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Food is confusing. Sigh

So after ranting about my blood condition, and almost fainting from the lack of iron in my diet one day, I've decided to do a bit of research regarding which high-in-iron foods and are more easily absorbed by the body. (I already have a pretty good idea what foods are high-in-iron).

There are two types of food-iron: heme and non-heme. Basically, heme iron comes from animal sources. Non-heme iron is the non-animal sources (ie, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc). The body can absorb heme iron much better than non-heme iron. So, for instance, my body can absorb iron from a steak much more readily than iron from a spinach salad.

To help with the iron absorption, especially when eating non-heme sources, they recommend taking Vitamin C with your meal. So after I've pretty much stopped drinking juice because it has sugar in it (even though it's natural, hey, I don't want to gain more weight), I'm forced to start drinking more orange juice and other juices that have loads of Vitamin C. I can take Vitamin C supplements, but I don't always have them with me, so I must resort to juice or fruit.

Things like dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), coffee and black teas can inhibit the absorption of iron. Well, I don't drink coffee, and tea I never drink except in Chinese restaurants, and even then, it's rare.

However, I like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. While I'm not allergic to these things, this now means that I have to time when I eat this stuff, either an hour before I eat my regular meal, or two hours afterwards. It's really sucky when the dairy item comes as part of your meal. Bah.

To further complicate things, my stomach doesn't do well with greasy foods, eg baked cheese, cream sauces. This further reduces my food choices.

To sum my dilemma: I must eat high iron foods regularly, and avoid eating these food items with other food items, but it's okay to eat other food items with these food items.

Did any of this make sense?

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