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Lead Poisoning: Nutrition and Food Preparation


Topic Overview

Good nutrition may help prevent lead poisoning. Children absorb more lead than adults do, but both children and adults are likely to absorb more lead if they are fasting or do not get enough iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, or vitamin C in their diets. People who eat high-fat diets also absorb more lead. However, if the environment is highly contaminated with lead, nutrition alone will not prevent lead poisoning.

  • Make sure that your children eat breakfast soon after getting up and that they have regular snacks and meals.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating.
  • Never store food in opened metal cans, especially if the can is not manufactured in the United States. If there is lead in the metal or the solder, it can be released into the food once air gets into the can.
  • Don't prepare, serve, or store food or drinks in ceramic pottery or crystal glasses unless you are sure they are lead-free.
  • Make sure children get enough iron in their diet. Red meat, eggs, fortified cereals, cooked beans, and raisins have lots of iron.
  • Children need adequate calcium in their diet. Milk, yogurt, cheese, and some green vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, contain calcium.
  • Make sure children get phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin C in their diet. If necessary, use vitamin supplements or enriched foods like calcium- and phosphorus-enriched orange juice or fortified cereals.
  • If you reuse plastic bags to store food, make sure the printing is on the outside.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Last RevisedJune 21, 2010

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