Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gluten-Free Tip: IRON

One of the most common symptoms of Celiac Disease is low iron or even anemia (dangerously low iron deficiency). This is caused by the mal-absorption of nutrients in the lower digestive tract of those with CD. And even once you are diagnosed and healthy again, you still may not be getting adequate levels of iron. This is partially due to the fact that the general public often receives daily doses of iron through wheat-based prepared foods (cereals, breads, pastas) that are enhanced with vitamins and minerals. Most gluten-free products are not enriched with vitamins and minerals.

So make sure your iron levels are tested, especially women who are even more susceptible to low iron. If you do have borderline low iron, you may choose to take iron supplements (if anemic you almost certainly have to take manufactured iron). But if you find iron capsules rough on your system (as many people do) bulk up on iron-rich foods:

"Iron is not automatically absorbed by the body and its availability depends on whether the iron is found in the form of HEME or NON-HEME iron. HEME iron is found only in meat, fish and poultry and is absorbed much more easily than NON-HEME iron, which is found mostly in fruits, vegetables, dried beans, nuts and grain products.

HEME FOODS include: Liver, Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, Cod, Flounder, Pork, Salmon, Tuna, and Turkey

NON-HEME FOODS include: Almonds, apricots, baked beans, broccoli, dates, kidney beans, lima beans, chick peas, seaweed, peas, prune juice, raisins, rice, and cooked spinach

Increase iron absorption from non-heme foods:
1. Eat a good source of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries with a Non-Heme food.
2. Eat a Heme Food with a Non-Heme food.
3. Cook Non-Heme foods in iron pots, such as a cast iron skillet. "

(Source: “Anemic? Increase Your Intake of Iron-Rich Foods” by Paula Upton, May 31, 2007)


Erin Swing said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Very informative. I'm all about getting my iron from using cast iron skillet and dark leafy greens, in times that I don't have enough money to buy some nice beef.

Please check out my new blog:

elizabeth atkinson said...

thanks for the nice words! my book GLEE! will be filled with lots of basic GF survival info. let me know if there's anything you need to know about living GF. (ea)

Erin Swing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin Swing said...

Definitely! If you need to know to know any food chemistry, I am an Organic Chemist who is currently Culinary student with focus on GF and mostly milk free food and recipe development. And I have seven years pharmaceutical experience, too in addition to professional food and beverage product development for a flavor company.