What is Anemia:
Anemia is simply the ‘deficiency of blood’. Anemia is a disease in which blood becomes deficient in red blood cells and consequently, body is deprived of enough oxygen. Anemia is caused by heavy blood loss, the inability of body to make enough red blood cells or destruction of red blood cells.
Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin. It has iron in it which binds the oxygen and transports it to each and every cell of the body. If the body does not have enough iron in it then red blood cells will not be able to circulate oxygen and causes anemia.
Causes of Anemia:
Anemia is caused by the deficiency of iron and folate. Iron is responsible to carry oxygen (Remember it’s in hemoglobin) and folate increases the production of red blood cells. It is necessary to have almost 15-20 mg of iron per day through diet or supplements. The anemia caused due to deficiency of iron is called Iron Deficiency Anemia and is the most common anemia.
Your diet Plan To Cure Anemia:
Diet rich in iron, folate, calcium and vitamin B-12 can certainly cure anemia! (Along with the prescribed supplements of course)
There are two types of iron i.e. heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed more quickly as compared to non-heme iron. It is obvious that one should follow the diet plan which contains both heme and non-heme iron. Follow this diet plan daily and see how it improves iron levels in your body!
Leafy green vegetables:
Add lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet. These vegetables contain non-heme iron in them. These reserves of iron can be taken as salads or boiled to have their complete benefit. Don’t overcook these vegetables as the heat will take away the nutrients from them. Some of the green vegetables (collard greens and Swiss chard) also have folates in them thus they can be added in the diet for folate deficiency anemia as well.
Some vegetables like kale, spinach etc. also have oxalates in them. Oxalates hinder the absorption of iron in the body. But here’s what we can do to get maximum benefit out of these green vegetables. We can add in diet fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C along with them. Vitamin C enhances the iron absorption.
Some leafy green vegetables that you can add in your diet are:
- Swiss chard
- Dandelion greens
- Collard greens
Meat, Poultry and See Food:
Meat, poultry and seafood are the sources of heme iron which absorbs quickly in the body. Red meat has the maximum amount of iron in it. Sea Food is also rich in heme iron. Canned salmon and other canned seafood are rich in calcium also. Calcium prevents the absorption of iron in the body. So, go for fresh seafood instead of canned. One should take maximum amounts of these foods along with vegetables to cure anemia. Some sources of red meat and seafood are:
- Lamb, beef, mutton
- Fresh salmon, tuna, perch
People often dislike having organ meat but undoubtedly they are packed with iron! Among organs liver, kidney, heart and beef’s tongue are a great source of iron.
Fortified food is the one incorporated with micronutrients (vitamins, iron and other minerals). Fortified food is also a good source of iron. Some suggestions of fortified food are:
- Fortified white rice
- Fortified pasta
- Fortified cereals
Beans contain heme iron in them. They can be used in salads along with other vegetables and chicken to have an iron-packed meal! Some beans that are a great source of iron are:
- Red beans
- Black beans
Nuts and seeds are rich in iron. They can be eaten as it is or sprinkled on salads, desserts etc. Always choose the raw range of nuts, not the packaged ones. Some nuts and seeds rich in iron are:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts
Foods rich in Vitamin C and Beta-carotene:
Beta-carotene and vitamin C enhances the iron absorption. So, it is very much beneficial to have foods rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene along with iron-containing foods. Some of the foods rich in Vitamin C and beta carotene are:
Foods rich in Folate and Vitamin B-12:
Folate and vitamin B-12 are responsible for the production of red blood cells. Some of the foods containing folate and vitamin B-12 are:
- Citrus fruits
- Organ meats
Take away note:
So, to treat anemia it is very necessary to be mindful while making your diet plan. To get maximum advantage of your diet plan to compensate the iron levels you must:
- Take green leafy vegetables, red meat, poultry, sea food and all other iron-containing food in large quantities throughout the day.
- DO NOT take calcium-containing foods along with iron-containing foods! As calcium will hinder the absorption of iron. Always wait for good 2, 3 hours before having any calcium.
- Take folate and vitamin B-12 containing Foods along with iron-rich food as they enhance the iron absorption.
- Use cast-iron skillet for cooking purpose. As iron from it is absorbed in the food. Acidic food absorbs the most iron.