An iron fish is giving Cambodian families more strength and better health.

Six million Cambodians, about half the population, are currently iron deficient. But the Lucky Iron Fish — a simple lump of metal dropped into cooking pots — is beating anemia, improving strength, boosting energy and improving overall health for families who use it.

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The idea was dreamed up by Canadian scientist Christopher Charles, who’s been running trials with his invention in Cambodia. The fish — a symbol of luck in that culture — is made by local craftsmen from recycled iron.

Families drop the Lucky Iron Fish into boiling soup or water for 10 minutes. Iron leaches out of the fish to enrich the broth for cooking. Used properly, Charles says it can provide 75% of the daily requirement of iron.

The people who’ve taken part in the trials were cured of anemia in just 12 months. Charles now wants to get his Lucky Fish into the hands of one million Cambodian families in the next five years.

(WATCH the Lucky Iron Fish at work in the video below)

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