Monday February 10 2014

Is that clay good for you?

By Carol Nambowa

As early as nine, my cousin and I would go to the brick fence of the house and scratch out some soil to eat. It is a craving so common and addictive, except that this kind of addiction seems harmless. Gabriel Ocom the manager in charge of nutrition at Baylor Uganda, says the craving for soil or clay is sometimes a warning sign of iron deficiency in the body.

With insufficient iron, the body cannot produce enough haemoglobin a substance which enables red blood cells to carry oxygen to body tissues. As a result of this iron deficiency, one might feel weak, tired and irritated. Although these symptoms might give one more reason to eat clay as a source of iron, Ocom advises that it is not the best thing to do. “One would rather get iron supplements in form of tablets than eat clay,” he adds.

Consumption of clay or soil is not recommended because one does not know where it was extracted from and its purity is questionable. Instead of consuming clay that could result in worms, Ocom encourages people to turn to leafy green vegetables, millet, red meat and liver. Other foods rich in iron include: pumpkins, brown rice, cooked beans, peanuts, green pepper, cooked turkey and chicken.