A balanced diet with a little of everything is required for a healthy and balanced diet. A few years ago, the consumption of red meat was considered to be one of the main causes of obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol. This led to Americans moving away from red meat and to vegetarian and even vegan food in search of the most healthy food.
Anemia Increasing Among Americans As Food Habits Change
Then came Covid -19 and the emphasis was on eating healthy food to boost the immune system. People began looking for more and more nutritious food packed with vitamins and essential salts.
And now, researchers from the biomedical division of Cedar Knolls in New Jersey have found that a change in farming practices coupled with a change in the food habits of Americans are causing a large number of them to be iron deficient and hence anemic. Dr. Ian Griffith and Dr. Marta Rogido, members of the Cedar Knolls research team, reported that iron deficiency remains a major health issue even in developed countries such as the United States.
The research team went on to explain that iron in the body helps build hemoglobin from the red blood cells. The Haemoglobin then carried oxygen from the lungs and converts it to energy for distribution all over the human body. The common symptoms of anemia are dizziness, fatigue, and pale skin. Anemia is serious and can lead to heart failure if not treated in time.
The research team used 3 databases of the government of the United States, the amount of iron in American food and food products, and deaths in the United States from iron deficiency between 1999 to 2018.
The study of the food and food products found that iron levels were low even in red meat such as pork. The researchers found lowered iron levels even in the traditional iron-rich food such as turkey, beans, fruits, and other vegetables. Tests on Americans revealed that iron intake had dropped by 6.6% in men and 9.5% in women.
A study of food habits found that Americans had been consuming chicken in bulk. The other reasons for lower iron in farm crops were the push for higher crops per acre, the use of synthetic fertilizers, and the low carb intake of cereals. All these so-called health measures led to a drop in iron levels in foods.
The Cedar Knolls findings were supported by other health care systems in the United States and experts, as well as dieticians and specialists, joined in with their recommendations to control the increased rates of anemia within the country.
The study also found anemia more in women and African Americans. Connie Weaver, Professor of nutrition science at Purdue University in the state of Indiana recommended change in agricultural practices by selecting seeds of higher mineral content. Jessica Shapiro, associate wellness and nutrition manager at the Montefiore Health System in New York City, says her treatments start from food. She recommends iron-rich food supplements also with diet changes. She recommends continuing these supplements until anemic patients begin to return to normal hemoglobin levels.
Jessica Shapiro says that the iron from red meat is best absorbed in the body as compared to iron-rich fruits, vegetables, and cereals. She, however, shared a technique of consuming fruits rich in vitamin C and added that this would increase the capacity of the body to absorb plant-based iron.
The nutrition manager pointed out that too little iron in the body can cause anemia while excess iron can become toxic.
The CDC (Centre for disease control and prevention) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) need to take urgent steps to prevent growth of cases on anemia in the United States.