Iron is an essential mineral needed for optimal bodily function as it is required to make haemoglobin, a part of red blood cells.
Iron deficiency is also detrimental to the brain and central nervous system, as haemoglobin transports oxygen to the brain and around the body. As such, affecting learning, memory and attention span.
Toddlers require sufficient iron in their diet (7mg/day) as their body is developing rapidly, and this mineral plays a role in your child’s growth. If your toddler has been breastfed or is still breastfeeding, it is still essential to complement his diet with iron-rich food. If your toddler is drinking cow’s milk rather than iron-fortified formula, do look into complementing his diet too.
Should there be iron-deficiency in your toddler , he may experience symptoms such as dizziness, lack of energy, shortness of breath, irritability, headaches and may have a pale skin colour and brittle nails. These signs point to a possibility of anemia, which should be arrested to avoid putting your toddler’s development at risk.
Offering your child iron-rich foods is not difficult. There are two forms of iron in food: Heme and non-heme. Heme iron comes from meat and non-heme iron comes from vegetables, where heme iron is known to be better absorbed by the body. Here’s a handy guide for parents to prepare iron-rich foods to help raise healthy and happy toddlers!