Lucky Iron Fish available
White Mountain Community Health Center has a powerful new tool to fight iron deficiency: Lucky Iron Fish. These palm-sized lumps of iron in the shape of a smiling fish can be used in cooking to add iron to a diet, much as cooking in a cast iron pan does.
Lucky Iron Fish are available to purchase at the health center for $20. A limited number are also available at no cost to financially-qualifying patients, thanks to a grant from the Pequawket Foundation and Lucky Iron Fish's Fish Tank program. Revenue from selling fish to patients and community members will be used to sustain the program.
The program was conceived to fight persistent anemia in the health center's pediatric patients. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Shawn Rogers often sees young patients who are anemic. Children are especially susceptible to the condition, caused by insufficient iron, because growth spurts increase the iron their bodies need to stay healthy. In the last year, 19% of the children seen at the health center for their regular checkup were anemic.
There's no one perfect solution for these children. Shawn suggests dietary changes and supplements for kids with low iron, and follows up to make sure these changes are working. In the past, she's also recommended cooking in cast iron pans.
But these changes can be difficult for families. Supplements must be purchased repeatedly, which can be hard for families on tight budgets, and the strongest ones can have uncomfortable side effects. Children are notoriously picky eaters, and cast iron pans can be hard to adapt to. On follow-up visits, many children still show low iron levels.
Shawn said, "It's still very important for children to eat differently if they're not getting enough iron, and supplements are necessary in many cases as well. But the Lucky Iron Fish is an additional tool that I think will really work well for some families."
Lucky Iron Fish were designed to address exactly these problems worldwide. The founders of the company initially focused on Cambodia, where almost half the population suffers from anemia. The fish is in the shape of a species many Cambodians consider to be good luck.
The fish is used by boiling it in a pot of water with a little lemon juice for ten minutes, and then either using the water for drinking or as the base for soup or rice. It can also be slipped into a soup or stew while it cooks. Each serving provides up to 75 percent of daily recommended iron intake for adults, and almost 100 percent for children. The fish is reusable for many years.
Lucky Iron Fish can be purchased at the health center front desk during business hours, Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm. White Mountain Community Health Center is located at 298 White Mountain Highway in Conway Village. Patients with iron deficiency may arrange for a fish by making an appointment with their provider. For more information, call Julie Everett Hill at (603) 447-8900 x326.