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8 Types Of Food That Can Help You Fight Anaemia!

By Faraz khan +2 more

Anaemia happens when the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells. As a result, the blood becomes incapable of carrying an adequate amount of oxygen. Anaemia can be temporary or long term and can range from mild to severe.

foods good for anemia

Do you Feel Fatigued All the Time?

Fatigue is one of the most defining symptoms of anaemia. If anaemia is caused due to a chronic disease, it can mask the signs of anaemia making it challenging to detect. Depending on the cause of anaemia, there might or might not be symptoms. If there are, they will be:

  • Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches

A diet plan with iron-rich foods can help control if not cure anaemia completely. Without enough iron, our body cannot make enough haemoglobin. That becomes a big problem because haemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the heart to the body tissues. About 50% of pregnant women, 20% of women, and 3% of men lack enough iron in their bodies.

Also Read: 14 Causes of Fatigue

Do You Know 

Foods for Anaemia

Most anaemic patients are advised to take 150 to 200 milligrams of iron every day. Make sure to have these foods to fight anaemia:

1) Fruits and Vegetables

  • Curly kale and other varieties
  • Collard greens
  • Pomegranates
  • Swiss chard
  • Red and yellow peppers
  • Watercress
  • Spinach
  • Dandelion greens
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Lemon
  • Key lime
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beet greens

Dark leafy greens like spinach are a great source of non-heme iron. Vitamin C from citrus fruits helps the stomach to absorb iron. Swiss chard and Collard greens are good sources of both Vitamin C and iron.

2) Nuts and Seeds

  • Cashews
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnut

Nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient-dense foods. One ounce of pistachios can provide 6.1% of the required daily value of iron in a person.

3) Meat and Fish

  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Perch
  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Shellfish
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Haddock
  • Chicken

Meat and fish have heme iron. Lean cut white meat like chicken is a great source of heme protein. Three ounces of grilled chicken with sides of broccoli, sauteed spinach, and tomatoes can make for a great iron-rich meal for people suffering from anaemia.

4) Eggs

Eggs are known for their proteins, but they also pack a high level of iron. Eggs can be had paired with whole-grain toast, lightly roasted tomatoes, and quinoa for breakfast that will provide a great start to the day.

5) Beans and Pulses

  • Chickpeas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Black beans
  • Lima beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Soybeans

Lentils are supposed to be a superfood for anaemic patients. Half a cup of lentils has about 3.3 milligrams of iron, which is around 20% of what your body needs throughout the day. Beans and pulses work for both vegetarians and meat-eaters and provide a good amount of iron.

6) Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses are loaded with iron. They are a total nutritional powerhouse because of calcium, Vitamin B6, selenium, and magnesium. They are perfect for anaemic patients because apart from providing the iron they desperately need, blackstrap molasses also keep them healthy due to the presence of other integral nutrients.

7) Grains

Iron-fortified pasta, cereals, and grains are good options for getting the much-needed iron. However, there are natural options too. They are all rich in iron and can help in shooting up the haemoglobin level in blood.

  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Whole wheat
  • Kamut
  • Teff

8) Fortified Food

There are different types of food that are fortified with iron. You can add these to your diet if you are a vegetarian or cannot keep down other sources of iron.

  • Fortified, ready-to-eat cereals
  • Fortified pasta
  • Fortified white rice
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Foods made from fortified white flour, like bread
  • Foods made from fortified cornmeal

In my opinion, if you’re looking to boost your iron intake, wheat germ might be a great addition to your diet. Just 100g of wheat germ contains approximately 8.34g of iron. Including wheat germ in your meals may help provide the essential quantity of iron your body needs, especially for individuals who are anaemic or have low iron levels.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Purple Tomatoes: Uncovering the Science-Based Health Benefits

Foods to Avoid if You Are Anaemic

Some types of food interfere with the absorption of iron. As a result, having all that iron-rich food sometimes might prove to be redundant if had with these foods:

  • Yoghurt
  • Raw milk
  • Cheese
  • Sardines
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Tea and coffee
  • Food containing tannins like corn, grapes, sorghum

Let me give you a tip. To enhance your body’s absorption of iron, it might be beneficial to consume foods high in vitamin C along with iron-rich foods. Vitamin C may be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, kiwi fruit, melons, green leafy vegetables, and capsicum. By combining vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich foods, you might maximise the absorption of iron and support your body’s nutritional needs.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Must Read: 5 Foods to Avoid with Anaemia 

How Can You Get More Iron From Your Diet?

  • Have food rich in iron
  • Include food in your diet that will help you absorb the iron
  • Cook food in a cast-iron skillet
  • Cook food for shorter periods
  • Refrain from drinking tea or coffee with meals
  • Consult with your doctor and choose supplements containing ferrous salts

From my point of view, if you’re looking to increase your iron intake, enjoying a moderate amount of dark chocolate might be a delicious and satisfying way to do so. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, such as 90%, maybe a great source of iron. It contains approximately 10.9 mg of iron per 100 grams. Just remember to opt for dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content to maximise its iron content and enjoy its rich flavour.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

How Does Your Body use Iron From Iron-Rich Foods?

The iron from iron-rich foods is absorbed through the upper part of the small intestine. Dietary iron is of two types: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is derived from haemoglobin. Our body absorbs iron mostly from heme sources. Heme iron can be found in fish, red meats, and poultry. Non-heme iron is mainly found in plant sources. Meat, seafood, and chicken, however, contain a little bit of both.

Following dosage instructions is essential because an excess of iron can cause iron toxicity. Consult with your doctor, go to a dietician if required and get yourself a proper diet chart. No one food can cure anaemia, but the right diet can help a lot. Follow it well, and anaemia shouldn’t pose to be a problem anymore.

When to Seek Help

While these anaemia treatment foods are a great way to support your iron intake, relying solely on food can prove dangerous if you have serious issues. Here are a few situations that you need to watch for. These require immediate medical attention at the earliest:

  • Feeling breathless, having a fast heart rate, accompanied by pale skin, tiredness, difficulty breathing
  • Experiencing symptoms of anaemia when you have a poor diet
  • High blood flow during regular periods
  • Ulcer symptoms, blood in stools, gastritis may also accompany anaemia 

Additionally, you should be especially careful in case you have a family history of anaemia or if you have the following risk factors:

  • Age – older adults have a higher risk 
  • Intestine issues – problems with the intestines may lead to poor absorption of nutrients
  • Menstruation – loss of red blood cells during periods may increase the risk of anaemia
  • Pregnancy – not maintaining a balanced diet rich in iron and folic acid can deplete your internal sources leading to anaemia
  • Chronic disorders – long term, chronic issues like kidney disease, cancer or similar can lead to anaemia and iron deficiency 
  • Genetics – as mentioned above, a family history increases your risk 

Also Read: Home Remedies for Anaemia

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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