Study by dieticians at University of Pune reveals benefits like high haemoglobin count
Article published in DNA Newspaper on Jan 06, 2014
Worried about the rising deficiencies in children and need better ways to add iron instead of gulping supplements? Here may be a solution for you.
Doctors and professors from the department of dietetics at the University of Pune conducted research on 27 pre-school children. They were served iron rich snacks cooked in iron pots. The study showed that their haemoglobin count, serum iron and transferrin saturation were much better after the exercise, proving that cooking snacks in iron pots can enrich the iron content of the snacks.
The research was conducted by Dr Veena Ekbote, Dr Anuradha Kadilkar, Dr SA Kulkarni, Dr A Jayakumar, Dr A Sonawane and their colleagues, which was published recently in the Indian Journal of Pediatrics.
The researchers conducted a study on 30 toddlers for three months. Their anaemia levels were checked before they were served with iron-rich foods. After three months it was found that their anemia levels dropped by 15 per cent.
“The toddlers were served four iron-rich recipes cooked in iron pots for three months. Their anthropometry and dietary intake data were collected. Hemoglobin, serum iron, anemia levels and transferrin saturation levels were assessed both before and after the study. We found that the average anemia level dropped from 70 per cent to 55 per cent,” said Dr Veena Ekbote, research scientist, Jehangir Medical Research Centre.
Dietitians claim that cooking in iron pots is beneficial for improving haemoglobin levels. It enhances the iron content in the food and nutritionists advise regular use of iron utensils.
“Vegetarian foods are a poor source of iron and hence if cooked in iron pots can be beneficial for enhancing its nutritional value. While cooking the food, it must be kept in the iron pot for at least 15 minutes so that it can absorb the iron,” said Dr Vaishali Madkaikar, clinical nutritionist, KEM Hospital.
Meanwhile, Dr Geeta Dharmatti, president, Indian Dietetics Association, Pune, said that adding acidic medium while cooking in iron pots could help absorption of iron in the vegetables.
“We always suggest adding acidic ingredients while cooking in iron pots. One can simply add tomatoes in the vegetable or sprinkle some lime after the dish is prepared,” said Dr Dharmatti.
Dharmatti also claimed that using aluminium utensils for cooking is not advisable as it increases the chances of developing neuro-degenerative diseases in the long run.
“While iron enhances the iron content of food, using aluminium vessels may in the long run cause loss of function or even death of neurons (nerve cells),” said Dharmatti.