Iron-fortified rice prevents iron deficiency anemia among school children — FNRI-DOST

By Aerol B. Patena

MANILA, March 24 (PNA) — Iron fortified rice can effectively treat iron deficiency anemia among school children, according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).

The FNRI-DOST said that rice may be used as a source of iron as it is widely consumed by school kids.

Around ninety four percent of school children ages six to twelve years old eat an average of 235 grams or one-and -a-half cups of rice daily, revealed a national nutrition survey conducted by the agency.

On the other hand, the study showed that two out of ten children suffer from iron deficiency anemia which is classified as “of moderate public health significance” by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) occurs when children do not eat enough food that contain iron and when the body is not able to absorb sufficient amount of iron needed. Children suffering from IDA may show poor physical, mental, and overall school performance,” the FNRI explained in a statement.

To address IDA, the FNRI Food Research and Development has developed a technology on iron fortified rice through a blend of premixed iron-fortified rice grains with ordinary rice.

FNRI said the mixture is passed through the hot extruder to form a rice-shaped kernel. The iron rice premix is added to ordinary rice at one is to two hundred (1:200) ratio or 10 grams iron-fortified pre-mix to two kilos of ordinary rice. The iron fortified rice can be cooked like ordinary rice.

Consumption of iron fortified rice is expected to build healthy red blood cells, improve physical and mental performance, prevents anemia and strengthen the body against infection, it said.

IDA may also be prevented by eating foods that are rich in iron like liver, granular organs, red meats, poultry, and fish, the FNRI said.

Other sources of iron include nuts and beans like squash seeds, chickpeas, cowpeas, white beans, red beans, lentils, and soybeans.

Iron can also be derived from green leafy vegetables such as malunggay leaves, kulitis, talilum, gabi, saluyot, kinchay and kamote.

“It is best to eat iron-rich food together with foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits to help the body absorb iron from plant sources,” the FNRI further stated. (PNA)