How many times have we heard our mothers lecturing us on eating right, on not eating too much junk food? Countless, really. It’s actually told to boys and girls alike, but just a tad more important for girls. Why? Well, maybe it’s something to do with the periodical, red-eyed monster that comes a-visiting every month. Sucks but doesn’t stop it from being true. The fact is women have a higher requirement of iron in their body, quite more so than men and that requirement increases during pregnancy.
Rather than having your mother, mother-in-law or the collective sabha of random relatives forcing some experimental concoction down your throat, we thought we’d give you some natural alternatives. Alternatives that you can eat as you, please.
Pop-Eye had one thing right – spinach makes you strong! Not enough to give you instant muscles, but it does contain a great dosage of iron in itself. You could either eat it raw or cooked, but cooking it does help your body to absorb its nutrients better. Sautee it in olive oil with some salt, pepper and other veggies or go full on palak paneer. You’re free to chug it straight out of the can a la Pop-Eye, but, umm, might not be as fun.
Here you have a ready-made and legitimate excuse to gorge on chhole-kulche to your heart’s content. Apart from loading you with iron, chickpeas are a great source of proteins too. Eating them is as easy as grabbing some chana (yes it’s the same thing) wrapped in newspaper from a road-side vendor. If you want to make a non-Indian dish, incorporate boiled chickpeas in salads and pasta for a fresh and healthy meal. Also, hummus! A yummy chickpea paste – eat it with olive oil and pita bread.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron and magnesium. These tiny seeds are great for keeping in a little pouch or box in your bag, so snack on the go with a handful of various nuts thrown in. If you don’t feel like eating them as is, why not sprinkle a spoonful in your cake batter or cold salads. For those who like a little zing to their food, grocery stores these days also keep roasted, salted and spiced ones. Keep in mind, however, to not have too much quantity in one day. While high in the good stuff, pumpkin seeds, like nuts, are also high in cholesterol.
Soya beans are the ultimate all-rounders. Along with iron, they are a font of various nutrients like copper, proteins, manganese, amino acids as well as fiber. As a way of including it in your every meal, add some soya beans to every daal and sabzi you make. If you prefer getting your chapati flour ground on your own rather than buying the pre-packed version, put soya beans and chana (the snacky ones) into the mix before grinding. Not only do your chapatis become healthier, they also become much softer.
Rather than a food related one, this is more of a beautifying solution for iron deficiencies amongst women. The ‘Life Saving Dot’ or Jeevan Bindi is a wearable tech idea brought to the country by a Singapore-based initiative called Grey Group and Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center. It was created mainly for women in rural areas who don’t have easy access to supplements or lack iron-rich food. The simple idea was derived from the fact that Indian women wear a bindi on a daily basis, so why not make it a dual purpose item of health-filled beauty. The bindi is embedded with the daily, required dosage of iodine which is absorbed by the wearer’s skin. It’s a plain matter of stick it, and go!