Calcium and iron rich foods in postpartum practices in China.

Dr. SM Chan and colleagues studies the ‘ginger vinegar soup’ and other special dietary practices in China that have been traditionally recommended for postpartum women in Hong Kong. ‘Ginger vinegar soup’ samples were collected at the 2 week home visits. Calcium and iron content were measured by the combination of dry ashing method and atomic absorption spectrophotometry.


The results were compared with other types of soup and food sources. The authors used a food frequency questionnaire was completed at the 6 week interview to assess the special dietary practices during this period. At the department of paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shatin they gathered the results from 51 subjects. 22 ginger vinegar soup samples and 6 other soup samples were collected.


Consumption of special food items such as chicken, ginger, egg, and pig’s trotters, varied greatly among subjects. More poultry and similar amounts of egg were consumed by the 51 women studied as compared with the Hong Kong general population as such. Chicken soup and ginger vinegar soup were commonly consumed. Median iron and calcium contents of the ginger vinegar soup were 0.84 mg/dl and 4.65 mg/dl, respectively. This calcium content was higher than that of the other 6 soup samples, but was low as compared with other calcium-rich foods. Iron content of ginger vinegar soup was higher than that of the other 6 samples and was comparable to some iron rich foods. The scientists concluded that Hong Kong Chinese postpartum women followed traditional dietary practices to different degrees. These practices were characterized by increased poultry consumption. Iron content of ginger vinegar soup was comparable to some iron rich foods.