Living among lead can be a frightening proposal, but mercifully, dietary measures can reduce the amount of lead that accumulates in the body. I’ve spent many hours reading about what foods can benefit those with lead poisoning or exposed to lead. Here’s what I found:
The body will intake more lead when deprived of food than when well nourished.
Eat lots of Iron
Lead is a master of disguise. In the body, it mimics iron, the mineral that makes our red blood cells red. Iron is essential for the transport of oxygen from our lungs to our toes, nose and everywhere in between. Lead poisoning can reduce the amount of iron in the blood cells causing anemia. (1.) Anemia results in poor oxygenation for the rest of the body.
Sources of Iron: (2.)
- Dried beans, especially lima beans, lentils, soybeans, and kidney beans
- Egg yolks
- Red meat
- Dark meat in poultry
- Salmon and tuna
- Green leafy vegetables, especially broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus
- Dried fruit
- Whole grains
Drink your Calcium
Lead also masquerades as calcium, and thus is absorbed into the bones. The lead lingers there until the body begins releasing calcium, commonly during pregnancy, lactation, menopause or aging (3). It can then leak into the womb or breastmilk, affecting a developing child.
The good news is that by consuming more calcium people can inhibit the body’s uptake of lead and more quickly remove lead from their bodies. We eat lots of calcium every day.
Sources of Calcium
- Dairy products
- Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and spinach
- Beans and peas
- Salmon and sardines
- Molasses and brown sugar
The body cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D. The skin produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, but it cannot make enough. Other sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna fish, milk and dairy products, egg yolk and liver (4).
By incorporating iron and calcium in your diet, you can reduce your body’s risk of lead poisoning. I plan to discuss antioxidants and why they are necessary to help ease lead poisoning later.