- Beetroot is a rich source of iron
- Eat spinach regularly to give a boost to your iron levels
- Iron deficiency can increase risk of anaemia
Like all mums, I was careful with my older two kids and worried what they ate when they were little. I didn't give them bottles as babies and breastfed each kid till almost 2 years. I couldn't cook as a young mum and only did a little baking. My life changed when my older son was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I had started baking for them. I did have an advantage and I understood food as I had a Masters from The Oberoi School of Hotel Management (OCLD). But my 'Aha!' moment came when we realised that Mannat has Celiac. I worked very hard to understand the disease along with understanding how I can use natural ingredients to improve overall health.
Iron deficiency: Know the risks involved
The biggest challenge isn't going gluten free but how to increase the immunity of the child's health. I honestly think all mums should do it for the whole family. Popping pills result in only short term gain.
This series is going to start with haemoglobin. Anybody diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance generally has low haemoglobin or iron deficiency. Most women need iron tablets during pregnancy and post pregnancy to keep the haemoglobin up. Patients like my mom and dad, who have had multiple heart surgeries, need haemoglobin to keep all parts functioning. Thus, it is important for all.
By definition, haemoglobin is a red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood of vertebrates. My two favourite food items to increase haemoglobin are beetroot and spinach.
Beetroot to increase haemoglobin levels
Beetroot is highly recommended to increase the body's red blood cell count as it is high in folic acid as well as iron, potassium and fibre. It is a great food source of iron for people with iron deficiency. The best way is to roast your beetroot in the oven. Remove the skin and puree the vegetable and store in the fridge.
Roasted Beetroot puree can be added to the following: Remember to describe it to the kids as "Pink/ Red Pasta or Red Roti. The excitement of the colour will give them smiles.
1. Chapati/puri: Simply add to the flour and use bare minimum water.
2. Risotto: Add it to risotto and then use the stock normally.
3. Pasta: Add it to the white sauce and create pink pasta
4. Beetroot Brownies: Add beetroot to your brownie recipes.
5. Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes: The colour won't show and it will give it just a glace.
6. Crackers: Roll into the flour.
Spinach to increase haemoglobin levels
Spinach increases your iron levels. It helps to create haemoglobin, which brings oxygen to your body tissues.
The best way is to grow spinach at home. It is very easy to grow in pots and can be grown all year around. If you are buying spinach please wash it extensively.
I like to boil my spinach and put it in the fridge. Spinach can be used in the following ways :
1. Chapati/puri: Add it to the flour
2. Pasta: Add to the white sauce and create a green sauce.
3. Palak Paneer/ Palak Chicken
4. Spinach and Banana Cake/ Cupcakes: Just use any banana cupcake recipe and add spinach to it.
These are my two favourite vegetables to keep the iron levels up. I will be writing my other favourites vegetable/ fruits stories soon.
I'll end with a quote from Becoming by Michelle Obama "Even when it's not pretty- or perfect. Even when it's more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own."
(Aarti Sarin Jain is founder of the 100% gluten free initiative, Baking From My Heart)
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