Lead exposure can cause serious problems although the percentage of exposure has decreased within the last 20 years and consuming a healthy diet can further reduce its absorption by the body. It is common in:
- Adults living in older homes
- Children having access to toys made from lead-based paints
- Houses where lead can seep through main water pipes and into the household water supply
Side Effects of Lead Consumption
Lead can cause learning and behavioral problems and leads to life-long problems associated with growth and development. Infants and children are at a greater risk than adults as their bodies can absorb lead more quickly and they have the tendency to put non-food items that may contain lead into their mouth.
Prevent Lead Attacks
Lead-based paints are common and when these paints chip, crack or peel inside or outside the house, they are more likely to end up on kid’s toys or other surfaces that kids keep their hands upon. Lead present in tap water is more difficult to handle. Lead exposures can be restricted with these techniques:
- Ensure washing hands with uncontaminated water before and after eating.
- Never store or serve food on leaded crystal or imported pottery utensils.
- Use a certified filter on your faucet for using water for cooking and drinking purposes. Ensure to change the filter cartridge before the due date. Remember that boiling water alone is not going to eliminate the presence of lead.
- Be sure to clean all surfaces, toys and other things with liquid cleaners that control dust.
- Be sure to wipe or remove shoes before entering your house.
Consume Nutritious Foods
Eat a diet rich in all five food groups. Every food group has its own role to play for the health of our body as given in the website www.firsteatright.com. Healthy food and the presence of nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin C make lead absorption more difficult.
Calcium is a great nutrient to prevent lead from entering your body and is also good for bone strength. Include calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, kale, turnip, mustard, collard greens, calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice, soy milk and tofu, canned salmon and sardines in your everyday diet.
Iron also gives an equally tough fight to prevent lead from entering the body. Incorporate more of lean red meats, iron-fortified cereal, bread, pasta, dried fruits such as raisins and prunes, beans and lentils to stack up your iron content.
Eat foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, kiwi, strawberries, melon and citrus fruits rich in vitamin C for better iron absorption and lead removal by the body.
For an idea, we have designed a sample menu incorporating these nutrients in your daily diet. Feel free to make additions or deletions as per your wish.
Breakfast: Iron-fortified cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk, topped with raisins
Snack: Orange slices
Lunch: Lean hamburger or 1 roti with lentil/bean sabji and a cup of vegetable dhal.
Snack: Low-fat or fat-free yogurt topped with fruits of your choice.
Dinner: Chicken with brown rice, spinach salad and a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk
Snack: Peanut butter on whole-grain crackers/ A portion of fruit