08 July, 2011
Cream of Wheat and Iron
Cream of Wheat is a popular hot breakfast cereal that has been produced and sold since 1893. B&G Foods, the makers of Cream of Wheat, conducted a survey of women about their iron consumption and their perceptions of it. The company reports that 55 percent of adult women responded that they believed they met the recommended daily value of 18 mg of iron. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 10 percent of women actually consume that much iron. Cream of Wheat and other fortified breakfast cereals an help you meet your daily iron requirements.
Cream of Wheat is made from wheat farina and partially defatted wheat germ. ALthough these ingredients do not contain a significant amount of iron, the cereal is fortified with ferric phosphate as a source of iron. A single serving of cooked Cream of Wheat cereal provides 45 percent of the recommended daily amount of iron for women.
Adult men need 8 mg of iron daily. Women need significantly more -- they should consume 18 mg each day. During pregnancy, this jumps to 27 mg of iron daily. Children and teens are among the groups at risk of iron deficiency because rapid growth may deplete the body's iron stores. Children ages 1 to 3 need 7 mg of iron daily. This increases to 10 mg between ages 4 and 8, then decreases to 8 mg between ages 9 and 13. Adolescent males need 11 mg daily, while females should receive 15 mg. Children under 18 should meet their iron needs from the foods they eat. Do not give iron supplements to children unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Iron from animal sources is absorbed efficiently by your body. Plant-based foods, including fortified cereals such as Cream of Wheat, may provide plenty of iron, but your body does not absorb it as well. Vitamin C increases the bioavailability of the iron you consume. Try to eat iron-rich foods, such as Cream of Wheat, along with a source of vitamin C. A glass of orange juice, half a grapefruit, or a serving of melon are all good choices.
Try adding various toppings to your Cream of Wheat for variety, flavor and added nutritional value. Sprinkle a 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries or blueberries on top of your favorite Cream of Wheat for a breakfast that provides 20% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Or stir in 1/4 cup of almonds to get 6 g of your recommended daily amount of protein. Molasses, honey or brown sugar can add just a touch of sweetness to a bowl of original Cream of Wheat.
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