By Alexandros Yiatzides, M.D.
Iron deficiency anaemia is usually caused by consuming foods low in iron as well as by losing a small quantity of blood on a regular basis, for example during menstruation. Also, it may occur during pregnancy due to increased blood supply demands and in childhood owing to rapid growth. Other rare causes include blood loss due to a stomach ulcer or other blood diseases. Our body stores iron so as to compensate for any lack of iron for a certain time period. However, soon iron supplies run out, hence the anaemia.
Our nutrition plays a vital role both in the prevention and the treatment of anaemia.What we basically need to know is that there are foods with iron directly absorbable, while in other foods iron is not easily absorbed; in that case, a supplement of vitamin C is required. What is more, calcium competes with iron. As a result, when an iron source is combined with a calcium one, it is the latter that is mainly absorbed.
Its value has been acknowledged since ancient times. Approximately 5,000 years ago, honey was mentioned as a therapeutic means in Egyptian papyrus. In the ‘Book of Life’ of ancient Indians, it was mentioned that life is prolonged when honey and milk are part of a daily diet.
Honey is a natural, organic product that defies any processing whatsoever, whereas sugar consists exclusively of sucrose.
Honey contains 180 different substances that are interconnected organically in such a way that so far no one has managed to replicate artificially despite its established composition.
Honey consists of inorganic elements, known as trace elements, which play an important role in the metabolism and nourishment, are parts of bones and cells, participate in various enzymatic systems and finally regulate stomach acidity. The vitamin concentration found in honey is not sufficient for our daily needs, yet it helps absorb sugars.
Consuming honey contributes to a speedier recovery in case of anaemia because of the iron content. A tablespoon of honey contains 0,1mg iron.
Combining pollen with pure fir tree honey and royal jelly is one of the best supplements of iron, effective for treating the side effects of constipation that all iron supplements available on the market bring about. If combined with orange, lemon, beetroot, apple and blueberry juice, then the outcome is an unrivalled gush of iron, not to be found on any supermarket shelf.
Breakfast cereals with fruits, nuts and honey
Whole grain cereals, especially fortified ones, are a good source of iron. If combined with nuts, as stated above, they increase the iron intake. Adding a fruit enhances iron absorption due to vitamin C content of the fruit. Orange juice, tangerine or kiwi are good choices thanks to vitamin C content, while dried fruits should not be excluded, as they do contain a certain amount of iron.
A little dark chocolate can be added in breakfast as a source of iron, of course in moderation, as it is high in calories. A nice combination is nuts and honey, as the latter contains a small quantity of vitamin C and iron.
Sesame sweet candy
Sesame sweet candy combines sesame, a good source of iron, and honey, containing iron and vitamin C, as mentioned above. Be careful, though, as 100gr. sesame seed candy give 450 calories, whereas 30 gr. give an adequate quantity of iron.
Bread with tahini and honey combined with a fruit
Tahini is a good source of iron as table shows. It combines with whole grain bread to enhance a meal’s content of iron. Honey contains vitamin C and iron, while a fruit helps absorb iron thanks to vitamin C. Of course, besides honey, molasses can be used as long as you don’t mind its rich yet slightly bitter flavour. It contains more iron compared to honey, but lacks vitamin C.
Honey in children’s nutrition
If a child’s nutrition is deficient in iron, iron deficiency can occur to various degrees ranging from short iron supplies to anaemia. Iron deficiency in children that is nottreatedcan cause stunted physical and mental growth, such as defects in walking and speech.
Is honey fattening?
Honey gives almost 4kcal per gram., which is much fewer than other fatty sweets, such as chocolate, which gives 9 kcal per gram of fat contained. Therefore, it is recommended that we substitute a yoghurt with honey for fatty snacks (e.g. croissant, chocolate etc.). We get fewer calories along with essential nutrients and at the same time, we satisfy our appetite.