Page 12 - Alaska Parent Winter 2020 Digital
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health & wellness
Boost Your Kids’ Iron
By Sarah Toles Yale
Making sure children get enough iron every day, throughout the day, will help them to concentrate on their schoolwork so they will learn more. Low-iron levels lead to memory loss, shortened attention span, tiredness, apathy and reduced performance. Long before iron deficiency shows up in a blood test, people have symptoms of low iron. Serve iron rich foods to your children daily to avoid low iron levels, which can lead to anemia.
Iron Helps the Immune System. Iron is necessary for the immune system to function properly to fend off colds, flu and other illnesses. The body needs iron to make hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout the body via red blood cells to reach body tissues.
Sports. Athletic kids need more iron due to their increased levels of physical activity. Sore, achy muscles need iron to recover properly after sports and workouts. Low-iron levels can result in decreased athletic performance, weakness, shortness of breath and lightheadedness.
Heme and Non-Heme Iron. Poultry, fish and meat contain heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed 2-3 times faster than non-heme iron which is found in plant-based foods.
Tip. An easy way to increase absorption of iron from plant- based foods, is to eat them along with foods that are high in vitamin C, or to drink orange juice with iron rich foods. Avoid drinking tea or coffee while consuming iron rich foods. Tea or coffee decreases iron absorption.
Choosing Iron Fortified Cereal. Iron percentage in cereal
is calculated based on the nutritional needs of women of child bearing age. The U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for women of child bearing age is 18 mg, which is too much iron for children and adolescents. Serving sizes vary with cereal brands and products. Be sure to read the serving size on the nutrition facts panel. You can give your child a smaller serving, or choose cereal that indicates on the nutrition facts panel, that it has 50-75 percent of the daily value of iron. Remember that cereal contains non- heme iron which is not absorbed fully by the body, so the amount absorbed will probably be less than the percentage indicated on the box.
Getting Enough Iron Daily Is Easy. Choose iron rich foods from the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) lists to add up to the iron RDA for your child’s age group. You will help your children do better in academics, on the playground, in the arts and in sports.
For more info, visit ods. od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron- consumer.
      Preparing for the Next Big One
Although Alaska’s last major earthquake (7.1) is now nearly two years behind us, it is crucial that we be prepared for the next big one. According to the Alaska Earthquake Center and the United States Geological Survey, Alaska is the most seismically active state in the country, and three of the seven largest earthquakes in the 20th century have taken place here. The Red Cross offers some tips to ensure you and your family are prepared when the ground shakes beneath us again:
• Talk about earthquakes with your family so that everyone knows what to do long before an earthquake strikes. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children.
• Check your workplace and your children’s schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency plans.
• Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture like
a large table, or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
• Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON in each safe place.
• Make sure you have access to local weather radio broadcasts and download the free Red Cross Emergency App from your
mobile phone app store.
• Prepare your family’s emergency kit and store it in an easy-to-carry container. Include items like a gallon of water per
person, per day; non-perishable food; a flashlight and hand-crank or battery-powered radio; extra batteries; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of important documents; extra cash and any medical or baby supplies family members may need.
For more info and tips, visit redcross.org/Alaska.
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