Haemochromatosis is a condition that causes the body to absorb too much iron. Over time, this leads to an overload to the body’s store of iron and in turn produces a serious strain on the body.
Haemochromatosis is most often hereditary, where a gene has been passed on from both parents.
The initial symptoms of haemochromatosis can include feeling extremely fatigued, generalised weakness, joint pain and weight loss.
However, for many, the first indication they have haemochromatosis is normally at a routine blood test.
Further tests will be required and if haemochromatosis is confirmed, and iron stores are high, the doctor may suggest a venesection; this is a procedure whereby blood is removed, similar to that of blood donations.
This can be carried out at a doctor’s surgery or outpatient clinics.It is unclear exactly how much effect one’s diet can have on the management of their haemochromatosis.
However, some dietary changes may help to reduce iron levels in small amounts and are therefore recommended. Firstly, to support the body, it’s important to eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet, which includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
One’s intake of red meat and offal should be limited and, in their place, choose lean proteins that contain lower levels of iron, such as fish or chicken.
Raw fish and shellfish should be avoided for anyone with hereditary haemochromatosis as they are more susceptible to certain infections, particularly those caused by a bacteria found in raw fish and shellfish.
Supplements containing iron should naturally be avoided, but likewise cereals, breads or any foods fortified with iron should not be included in one’s diet.
Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, so vitamin C supplements should be avoided and try to avoid drinking vitamin C-rich juices at mealtimes.
It is also advised to limit or avoid alcohol due to the extra strain it can place on the liver. If you have been recently diagnosed with haemochromatosis, make sure you chat through your new diet plan with your doctor, nurse or dietician, as they may have some other recommendations for you.
Buttermilk chicken wrap
Calcium-rich foods can hinder the absorption of iron, so incorporating them into a main meal can be useful when trying to limit your iron intact. The chicken in this recipe is tender and delicious thanks to the flavoursome buttermilk marinade.
2 chicken fillets
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing:
100g natural yoghurt
1 tsp curry powder
2 tortilla wraps
Half head of lettuce, roughly chopped
¼ cucumber, seeds removed and sliced
1 To prepare the chicken, score each breast a few times, on each side, and place in a medium-sized bowl.
2 Add the buttermilk, garlic, turmeric, and curry powder. Season with a little salt and pepper.
3 Cover and place the marinaded chicken in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
4 When ready to cook, take the chicken from the marinade. Gently pat away some of the liquid with kitchen paper. Place a non-stick pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the chicken.
5 Pan fry the chicken on one side for about five minutes, before flipping over and frying on the other side for approximately 10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through. Take from the pan and rest for five minutes before slicing each fillet.
6 In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt with the curry powder.
7 To assemble, place a wrap on each plate, top with a good handful of lettuce and plenty of cucumber. Add the sliced chicken, and a good dollop of the yogurt. Enjoy straight away.
Warm Cinnamon Apples
Serves two to three
These warm cinnamon apples make for a tasty breakfast when served alongside your favourite yoghurt.
2 red eating apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan over a medium heat.
2 Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly and serve straightaway with a yoghurt of your choice.