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Healthy Diet Can Help Lower Lead Levels

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High in Iron and Protein:

Intake of iron rich foods helps to decrease the absorption of lead.

Good sources of iron include:

  • Lean red meats, chicken, fish or liver twice a day
  • Dried beans, peas (navy, pinto, kidney, lima, black-eyed, split)
  • Iron-fortified cold cereal, cream-of-wheat
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, and apricots)
  • Green, leafy vegetables
    • Iron absorption from all foods is improved when eaten with foods high in vitamin C. (Example: hamburger and coleslaw or liver and broccoli)
    • Iron-fortified cereal should be used until 18 months of age. This is the age of greatest risk for iron deficiency anemia.
    • Give iron supplements with orange juice to improve absorption.

High in Calcium:

Intake of calcium may decrease the absorption of lead.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • 3 servings per day (milk, cheese and yogurt)
  • Powdered milk may be added to beverages and foods if your child does not drink enough milk.

Fat holds Lead in the body:

  • Avoid fried foods such as french fries, fried chicken, potato chips.
  • Avoid pastry, cakes, pies, candy bars, nuts and other bakes goods.
  • Avoid butter, oils and lard, cream cheese, and gravies.
  • Avoid bologna, bacon, salami, hot dogs, and fat back.

Instead bake, broil, boil or steam meats. Remove skin from poultry. Serve lean roast beef, ham, chicken, and turkey. Use less butter, margarine, and salad dressing. Offer more fruit, vegetables and pasta.

Encourage your child to eat regularly. Lead is more easily absorbed when the stomach is empty then when it is delivered with other foods and nutrients.

Offer low fat snacks between meals:

Yogurt (low-fat or non-fat), string cheese (part-skim milk), crackers (whole grain, low-fat), fruit, raisins, dried apricots, pretzels, fig bars, tortilla with low-fat cheese or cinnamon and sugar, carrot and celery sticks along with low-fat yogurt dip, dry cereal (whole grain, low in sugar).

Please call your child’s doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 03/05

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