प्राण, Food & Nutrients
Ever since we adopted western hygiene hypothesis and germ phobia, we started losing many simple but profound cooking practices. On top of it, our plates only receive food grown using chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers). We forgot to take help of naturally available soil bacteria(s) who can convert raw प्राण from सूर्य to complex life-sustaining प्राण (nutrients).Same iron rich food, same quantity, nearly gives 30% less iron compare to food in 1940s. 30% is severe deficit. Soil degradation due to soil exploitation is primary cause of reducing nutritional value of the food.
Deficiencies. Disorder. Many disorders and deficiencies go unnoticed but Iron deficiency is easy to observe. As per article (Iron: A biological element?), by studying iron extracted from cores drilled in rocks similar to these in Karijini National Park, Western Australia, UW–Madison researchers determined that half of the iron atoms had originated in shallow oceans after being processed by microbes 2.5 billion years ago.
For the Iron that we see around, we must thank microbes or मरुतs or प्राण combinations. And this is true for all elements as this physical world is manifestation of प्राण at work.
Everything is prana driven. From elements to microbes to human processes. Prana is everywhere. Its manifestation is real भगवद् लीला!
Heath hint : Just like how microbes produced Iron. They love to eat it too. Which iron? The one made by natural process (from plants or animals) and not the factory made iron supplements.
Iron Deficiency and Modern Supplements
The prevalence of any type of anemia is very high (more than 95 percent) among children, adolescents, and pregnant women in the country. Nearly 30% of adolescent girls are severely anemic.
Ferrous Fumarate or Ferrous Sulphate are commone iron salt used in modern iron supplements. These are highly inefficient supplements. Very little amount of iron is absorbed by body against the digestion toll (Any raw chemical intake is difficult to digest for body). 90% of more iron is pushed out in stool. Costly and ineffective solution.
Govt fortifies wheat flour with iron. This is also costly and ineffective solution
No. Modern Iron supplements are not the perfect solution! Body rejects artificial chemicals more swiftly than natural forms available in food, produced by cooking. Absorption of iron is less. It is also not easy to digest and humans with low digestive fire often gets prolonged side effects not limited to stomach upset and pain, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.  
Trusted solution : लौह भस्म
Simple solution like cooking in cast iron pots can solve iron deficiency issue.
At home, whenever we cook in cast iron pots, taste of food is amazingly delicious. As far as I know, we also had detailed norms about what to cook in which type of pots. Unfortunately, we replaced variety of pots by nonstick. Some household still use aluminum which is suicidal as aluminium poison for body.
Using cast iron pots will not only help generating local business, but also take care of your iron needs. Although, it was common sense for us to use iron utensils, it is also supported by some modern experiments. For example : Iron Fish 
“Dr Charles had a novel idea. Inspired by previous research which showed that cooking in cast iron pots increased the iron content of food, he decided to put a lump of iron into the cooking pot, made from melted-down metal.”
His invention, shaped like a fish, which is a symbol of luck in Cambodian culture, was designed to release iron at the right concentration to provide the nutrients that so many women and children in the country were lacking.
The recipe is simple, Dr Charles says.
“Boil up water or soup with the iron fish for at least 10 minutes.
“That enhances the iron which leaches from it.
“You can then take it out. Now add a little lemon juice which is important for the absorption of the iron.”
If the iron fish is used every day in the correct way, Dr Charles says it should provide 75% of an adult’s daily recommended intake of iron – and even more of a child’s.
Is it the right way? No, this is also guess work.
Right Way : आयुर्वेद
Basically, correct way is to intake Incineration followed iron. Incineration. लौह भस्म. Iron ash as per prescribed method.
Process? Refer Rasa section of any Ayurvedic book. For example: रसरत्नसमुच्चय
आयुष्प्रदाता बलवीर्यकर्ता रोगप्रहर्ता मदनस्य कर्ता ।
अयःसमानं न हि किंचिद् अन्यद्रसायनं श्रेष्ठतमं हि जन्तोः ।। रसरत्नसमुच्चय-५.१४९ ।।
• The reduced/compounded iron is useful in oedema, colic, piles, worm infection, anaemia and wasting. Stabilises the life.
• Useful in eye diseases relieves all sorts of fat deposition (all reasons/factors for fat deposition).
• Acts as vata-nashak, promotes life span, improves resistance power and vigour.
• There is no other best rejuvenator equivalent to the iron which is beneficial to human beings.
How लोह भष्म is different from Ferrous Fumarate available in the market?
Process of heating differs. Modern method lacks panch-mitra (मित्र-पञ्चक ) i.e. Honey, Ghee, borax,lac and jaggery in incineration process (Most of them are present in Indian cooking).
Since we trying to explore correct way to handle Iron for body’s maintenance, I would like quote few more references from ancient Indian chemistry.
Iron is sweet, astrigent and bitter in taste; cold, laxative, heavy, coarse, preventer of senile-decay; improverr of eye sight; reducer of fat; increaser of a little vayu in the system. It pacifies excess of kapha and pitta; cures toxins, colic, swelling of the body, piles, spleen, anemia, obesity, Spermatorrhoea and worms.
Iron increases strength and longevity. It cures diseases and is an aphrodisiac. It is one of the best remedies for senility.
What if you intake impure Iron (As of modern supplements who does not follow correct method of purification as discussed earlier.)
Iron, not properly purified and incinerated, gives rise to the following: impotency, leprosy, death, heart disease, colic, stones, hiccough, and even augmentation of many of the diseases the patient has already been suffering from!!
Now, try to correlate it with modern increasing number of similar sicknesses in educated society 🙂
गौ प्रसाद & Iron Transport
And even if you find a way to get iron intake right way, it is not sufficient if you don’t have lactoferrin intake! Lactoferrin (LF), also known as lactotransferrin (LTF), is a multifunctional protein of the transferrin family.
It is most important super critical protein. Lactoferrin belongs to the innate immune system. Apart from its main biological function, namely binding and transport of iron ions, lactoferrin also has antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, catalytic, anti-cancer, anti-allergic and radioprotecting functions and properties.
Only two natural sources. Human mother’s milk and Bos Indicus (Indian originated Desi Gau) Raw Cow milk.
Any wonder why Ayurveda uses Cow milk as medicine in many diseases?
Any wonder why Breastfeeding is critical for your child?
Any wonder why you must give first milk to newborn without fail?
Any wonder why we revere Cow (Gau) as mother?
Any wonder why doctors in India (and now elsewhere) prescribe Gau milk if mother cannot lactate or mother dies after giving birth? And this is going on for ages.
Any wonder why Shri Krishna’s portrait is never without gau?
If Gau-prasad is not part of diet, there is still a missing link of efficient iron transport. Read more here.
Simple solution for deficiencies is : Go back to your roots. Follow way of living followed by your grand parents.
Objectively, we can strive for:
- Organically grown iron rich food
- Use of iron pot/kadai in cooking
- Use of Gau prasad in diet (Milk, Ghee, Curd, Butter milk)
 Prevalence of Iron-Deficiency Anaemia in India: Results from a Large Nationwide Survey https://goo.gl/nLprPZ
 Why an iron fish can make you stronger : http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32749629
* Ocean of Indian Chemistry, Medicine and Alchemy by Dr. Bhudeb Mookerji (1929)