Breakfast can be a challenging meal when you learn you have hemochromatosis. A reader once wrote, “I need breakfast ideas as most of the cereals I used to eat I found out were iron-fortified!” Breakfast foods are also often heavy in iron-rich meats and may be served with vitamin C–rich fruit or fruit juices, adding to the frustration.
Thankfully, many traditional breakfast foods can still be incorporated into a hemochromatosis diet. This recipe comes from my book, Cooking for Hemochromatosis, and is an example of the many breakfast ideas available when you have iron overload.
In the world of hemochromatosis, if you like or can eat eggs, they can quickly become one of your best friends. They can be an excellent source of dietary protein that doesn’t increase iron levels.
At first glance, eggs seem to be high in iron. One large chicken egg contains just shy of 1 mg of iron. But egg also contain something called phosvitin, the “egg factor” that blocks iron not only from the egg itself but also from the rest of the meal. The more eggs you eat at one sitting, the more iron that’s blocked from that meal! Studies have shown that adding three eggs to a meal may reduce iron absorption by nearly 80 percent.*
A nutrient-dense fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable!), avocado is full of good fats, naturally low in sugar and salt, and delicious. The good news for you is that it’s also naturally low in iron!
Curry powder is just one of many herbs and spices high in polyphenols, health-promoting antioxidant nutrients also prevent iron from being absorbed from a meal.
*Leif Hallberg and Lena Hulthén, “Prediction of Dietary Iron Absorption: An Algorithm for Calculating Absorption and Bioavailability of Dietary iron,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 71, no. 5 (May 2000): 1147–1160, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1147.
Dr. Kristina Lewis is a naturopathic physician in practice with her husband, Dr. Eric Lewis, in Asheville, North Carolina. When her husband discovered he had hereditary hemochromatosis, she became very involved in researching, writing, and teaching about this condition both as a health-care practitioner and as a concerned wife. As someone who naturally loves to cook and who finds inventing tasty and healthy recipes a fun challenge, Dr. Kristina decided to take on the challenge of creating a cookbook for hemochromatosis from a holistic perspective. She is the author of Cooking For Hemochromatosis, a comprehensive guidebook to lowering iron in the diet.