Infant Articles

The Importance Of Iron

By Dr. Nanci Pittman


Iron is considered a trace mineral because you only need it in small amounts, but it's effects are large. Humans need iron to produce hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier in red blood cells. If you don't get enough, your blood can't carry oxygen to the rest of your body. Iron is also needed to produce myoglobin, the oxygen reservoir in the muscle cells. And, during the growth and development of the brain, iron is needed to incorporate into the myelin sheath that covers the sensitive brain cells. During periods of growth like infancy, childhood, adolescents and pregnancy, your blood volume increases in order to feed the new tissue. More blood and more tissue means more iron is needed to carry the extra oxygen around. Not meeting the demand can have lifelong consequences. Even without laboratory measures indicating anemia, iron deficient infants have signs of mental impairment. Studies suggest that anemia at 9 months of age is associated with impairment of infants and toddlers on tests of cognitive function, poorer performance on intelligence tests at ages 3 and 5, and lower learning achievement and less concentrating ability in the second grade. Iron deficiency is also associated with poor growth, a greater susceptibility to infectious illnesses, and reduced physical performance.


A baby less than one year needs 11 milligrams of iron every day to prevent deficiencies and to stay healthy. The best way to get this iron is through a combination of breast milk or formula supplemented with an iron-fortified cereal.


By the age of 4 to 6 months a baby is ready to take his first tastes of solid foods. By then, he's developed the ability to 'chew', even though he may not have teeth, and to move the foods around in his mouth appropriately to propel it to the back for swallowing. Earth's Best iron fortified instant cereal, whose consistency you can alter to meet baby's growing need for more and more texture is a perfect way to start solids. Mixed with breast milk it provides a perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. The fact that it is fortified with 45% of baby's need for iron in one serving, means you will be making a critical nutritional contribution to baby's diet.


Earth's Best's infant cereals are made with 100% organic whole grains. Whole grains possess more of their natural nutrition than grains that have been stripped and processed. Plus, whole grains have a fuller, richer, flavor, helping baby to develop a preference for whole grains ... a preference which will serve him well now and throughout life. These early years are instrumental in developing food preferences and tastes. Now is the time to offer only wholesome, natural foods that are free of fillers, preservatives, or processed additives or ingredients. More and more studies are revealing that a diet rich in natural fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the key to growing optimally and preventing disease. Many diseases of adulthood have their seeds in childhood, diseases like diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The good news is, those diseases are largely preventable when an all-natural diet forms the basis of a persons nutritional intakes.


What better way to start a baby on the road to lifelong good health, and a lifelong preference for those foods that are naturally good for him than by serving him Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain cereals.