Pregnant and lactating mothers are most affected by nutritional disorders including anemia. There is limited evidence of the level of absorption inhibitors and enhancers of iron in the diets of pregnant mothers. Therfore we aimed to quantify the level of dietary factors with potential inhibiting effect on the bioavailability of iron in common staple and ready to eat diets of pregnant mothers in rural Ethiopia.
We collected representative food samples of ready to eat foods from twenty four rural villages of randomly selected kebels (smallest administrative unit) in four rural districts of Arsi Zone, Oromia region, Ethiopia. Phayttic acid and tannin contents were determined using spectrophotometer keeping all standard and quality control measures while the contents of Ca, Zn and Fe in foods were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometer in standard laboratories. SPSS version 20 was the software used to analyze results
The highest (14.7mg/100gm) and lowest (0.7mg/100g) amount of iron was observed in fermented enjera made of red teff grains and stews made from kale, respectively. The zinc content of almost all of the food staffs is < 2mg/100g except for coffee and Stew from bean/pea with tofu. On the other hand, many of these common food staffs: fermented 'sergegna Teff enjera', tea, coffee and red and white teff fermented enejera contained calcium > 50mg/100g. The iron : phytate molar ratio of the foods varied from as low as 0.28 for fermented barely black enjera and as high as 8.69 for Stew made from bean or pea.
The mineral content of foods analyzed is comparable to previous findings ; nevertheless, the phytate values of the foods analyzed here were lower than those reported earlier. Therefore, we recommended attention to iron bioavailability and further in vivo studies.