What Is Anemia?
When the red blood cells count is low in the body and the supply of oxygen to the organs is not as much as required, this condition is termed as anemia. A person affected with anemia may feel tired or cold than usual and their skin seems pale. This condition can vary from mild to severe. Anemia is a very common condition in countries that lack resources. Apart from these countries, even in the developed nations it is one of the common conditions related to blood. Globally, more than 2 billion people i.e., 30% of the population is affected with anemia and in the U.S., there are over 3 million people who suffer with this condition.
Other symptoms of anemia include dizziness or weakness, headache, sour tongue, unintended movement in the lower limb and fast heartbeat. Though these conditions require medical treatment, making some changes to your lifestyle and eating habits can help in quick recovery.
Foods Good For Anemia:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Meat and Fish
- Nuts and Seeds
- Beans and Pulses
- Fortified Foods
- Blackstrap Molasses
Things To Avoid If You Have Anemia:
- Avoid Gluten
- Say no to Tannins
- Do not consume foods that contain calcium
- Limit Alcohol Consumption
It is always recommended to have foods rich in iron since the root cause for anemia is deficiency of iron in the body. We have come up with foods for anemia that are rich in iron and are suitable for people who prefer vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian diet. Below is the detailed description of foods that are good for anemia and also explaining why these foods are good.
1. Leafy Vegetables Are High Iron Foods Helpful For Anemia
Green leafy vegetables have iron content in abundance which can help people suffering with anemia. Leafy vegetables, especially the dark ones are the best sources of nonheme iron. These include Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens and Swis Chard. While these vegetables are a rich source of iron, they are also high in oxalates. Oxalates can combine with iron and prevent the absorption of nonheme iron, causing deficiency of nonheme iron in the body. It is always a good idea to have greens but make sure you get iron through other sources as well.
2. Fruits That Contain Vitamin C Are Best For Anemia
Vitamin C helps in absorbing iron from the food that we eat, hence making fruits rich in vitamin c good for anemia patients. Fruits such as oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi and strawberries are among other fruits that have high vitamin c content in them. Having these fruits after meals (especially after having food rich in iron) helps in absorption of iron and supply to the organs for their proper functioning.
3. Meat And Fish Are The Best Source For Heme Iron
According to a Harvard Study, it is recommended that men aged between 19-50 years consume 8mg of iron and women of the same age group consume at least 27mg of iron per day. However, boys and girls aged 14-18 years should consume at least 11gm and 15gm of iron per day respectively. The study also states that, meat and poultry are the richest source of heme iron. Heme iron is better absorbed by the body when compared to non heme iron. Some of the sources of heme iron are beef, chicken liver, organ meat, lamb, fish and poultry.
4. Nuts And Seeds Are Iron Rich Foods
Nuts and seeds can be a great source of iron to the body. They do not add much calories to your diet and are easy on the stomach too. Nuts and seeds that can be trusted upon for your daily dose of iron are cashew, pistachio, almonds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds among others. It would be safe to say that 1 ounce serving of raw pumpkin seeds has 2.7gms of iron as per USDA. Also, 1 ounce of pistachio can provide 6.1% of the required daily value of iron in a person. Nuts and seeds can be consumed in multiple ways, either sprinkle them on your salad or just have them raw as your snack, they are equally nutritious and tasty.
5. Beans And Pulses Are To Vegetarians What Meat is to Non-Vegetarians
Beans and pulses provide a major portion of iron to the body. Vegetarians can always rely on beans and pulses for their dose of daily iron requirement. Lentils act as a superfood for people with anemia. Half a cup of cooked lentils provides approximately 20% of iron required by the body per day. Black beans, kidney beans, soy beans, chickpeas and pinto beans are some of the examples of beans and pulses that can be used. There are a lot of recipes available online to cooks these beans and pulses. As per USDA, one cup of black beans contains up to 3.61 mg of iron.
6. Fortified Foods Can Fulfil The Required Amount Of Iron
Foods that lack nutrients or have less amounts of nutrients in them are fortified and extra nutrients are added. These foods can meet the daily nutrient requirement of the body. Foods fortified with iron are recommended to people having anemia so that they can get the required amount of iron from these foods. There are a lot of options available in fortified foods, they are, fortified ready to eat cereals, fortified pasta, fortified white rice, fortified orange juice and foods made from fortified cornmeal.
7. Grains Help In Increasing Hemoglobin Level In The Blood
Though there are fortified options available to fulfill the iron requirement in the body, we suggest you to opt for natural sources of iron. There are quite a few natural options available that can improve the hemoglobin levels in the blood. Grains are one of those natural options. Quinoa, kamut, teff, whole wheat and oats are some of the options to try. These grains will certainly boost the levels of hemoglobin in your blood and help in recovery from anemia.
8. Blackstrap Molasses Can Be Used As A Supplement
It is a plant-based supplement which provides iron to the body. Black strap molasses is usually used as a supplement to treat anemia along side other sources of iron such as leafy vegetables. Research shows that 2-3.5 times more iron when compared to light and dark molasses. Also, the bioavailability of iron in black strap molasses is almost 85% which is considered as high , though the body cannot absorb the iron from black strap molasses as much as it can from meat.
9. Eggs Are A Great Source Of Iron
Eggs are a great source of iron and can be consumed on a daily basis. A normal adult can consume at least 2 large eggs with any one meal in a day. The nutrient value of eggs is very high. One large size egg contains approximately 1.89gms of iron which is considerably high. Having 2 eggs a day gives us around 3.78gms of iron. The absorption levels of iron from eggs are also high as compared to plant-based iron.
While there are a lot of reasons why anemia occurs, few of them include
- Loss of blood
- Lack of iron in your diet
- Inability of your body to absorb iron]
Apart from these main factors, frequent blood donation and pregnancy can also be a reason for anemia. While there are not many complications involved with mild anemia, if left untreated, it may cause problems related to heart, causing irregular heartbeats, problems in pregnancy such as premature births and low weight babies and growth problems in infants and children.
We request you to consult a doctor before making any lifestyle changes and dietary changes. These are our tips for prevention of the disease and should not be mistaken for treatment or cure.