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Can an Orange a Day Keep the Pediatrician Away?



Oranges, other citrus fruits, cherries, and even garlic can help keep your child healthy. They help through processes called synergy and bioavailability. In a nutshell, these foods help the body absorb iron, which is necessary for your child to have the energy to keep growing.

Iron helps us create healthy blood cells that carry oxygen to all of the systems in our bodies. We get it by eating foods like red meat, egg yolks, tomatoes, and potato skins. Iron is important for children and a lack of it can leave them feeling tired and irritable as their body basically struggles to get the nutrients and oxygen it needs to the cells that need them. Children, teens, and pregnant women are at special risk due to the high Iron needs at these stages.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Anemia?

Anemia due to insufficient red blood cell production can be caused by inherited defects. The most common causes of anemia are excessive blood loss, destruction of red blood cells, and low production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Many people become anemic because they don‘t have enough iron in their diet to create healthy blood cells, or their body is not properly absorbing Iron.

The first noticeable sign of anemia is pale skin. Also, watch for changes in the color of lips, eyelids, and nails. These events are very gradual thus; they can be difficult to notice. Some other signs of anemia are fatigue, irritability, dizziness, lightheadedness, and a faster heartbeat. In addition, dark urine, abnormal bleeding, or easy bruising are other signs of anemia.

What You Need to Know about Synergy and Bioavailability

Synergy is a term used to explain how combining foods can increase the body’s ability to absorb and use minerals and vitamins that might have a problem being absorbed by the intestines and used by the body.

Bioavailability has to do with the body being able to break down food enough to get the nutrients out in a usable manner. Over-processed foods and vitamins are the best examples. Oftentimes, the processing binds the vitamins and minerals into a compound that the body cannot break down fast enough for it to use.

The Role of Vitamin C with Iron

For the most part, it is the high levels of Vitamin C that has a synergic effect with Iron and allows for proper absorption. Vitamin C is strong and passes through the intestinal wall where it will get used by the body. Iron is weaker and has trouble. However, Vitamin C naturally binds to Iron and they can pass through together.

Getting the Right Amount

If you are worried your child is not getting enough Vitamin C,  the first thing you should do is try to increase foods high in Iron and Vitamin C at the same meal. A perfect example is scrambled eggs and orange juice. Supplementation is possible but foods were made to be broken down by the body and there has never been a perfect compounding created to help the body completely absorb the vitamins and minerals from fortification and supplements.

Iron is something that needs to be at just the right level in the body. Children can get too much iron. Ask your doctor before adding a supplement or too many iron-fortified foods and make sure to secure any iron supplements to avoid poisoning.