Iron rich foods for anemia

Anemia Causes, Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment and Prevention

Anemia is a condition in which either the number of red blood cells or amount of hemoglobin in the blood is reduced. This reduces oxygen supply to the cells resulting in suboptimal muscular activities and slowing down of cell building and repair activities.

Anemia also makes you feel dizzy and reduces brain sharpness due to lack of oxygen. If you have been diagnosed with anemia then take remedial action before it begins to cause further damage to your body. In most cases home remedies for anemia will do an excellent job and in other cases you will have to treat the underlying conditions.


What causes Anemia?


Anemia is not a disease. It is an indication of the presence of an underlying condition that is either causing deficiency in the formation of production of red blood cells or destroying the red blood cells quickly.

Following conditions can cause anemia

  • Arthritis
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Chronic inflammation in the body
  • Infections
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pregnancies in quick succession
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Bone marrow disease
  • Diverticular disease
  • Cancer
  • Surgery

The following dietary deficiency can also cause anemia

  • Iron
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12

Number of genetic disorders such as Sickle Cell disease and thalassemia can also cause anemia.

The most common type of anemia is caused by Iron deficiency. Iron has a very important function in the body to reduce hemoglobin do that transports oxygen to the same. This happens either because the person is not taking in an iron in the food or the iron is not getting episode by the body. It mainly affects women who suffer heavy menstrual bleeding due to hormonal imbalances, fibroid tumors or uterine cancer.


What are the symptoms of Anemia?

Initial symptoms of anemia can easily go unnoticed as these symptoms are very common for many other conditions. They include

  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Irritability
  • Constipation

Once anemia progresses and gets established, it produces distinctive signs and symptoms indicating anemia.
They are

  • General weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale and brittle nails
  • Pale lips and eyelids
  • Sour mouth

Anemia can induce cessation of menstruation in certain women. It also reduces sexual desires.


How is Anemia Diagnosed?

Once an anemia suspected blood tests will confirm it.

A complete blood count (CBC) in which both red blood cell (RBC) count and hemoglobin levels are measured, is conducted.

The normal RBC and hemoglobin levels of healthy individuals are as under

Normal RBC level

Male: 4.7 to 6.1 million cells per microliter (cells/mcL)
Female: 4.2 to 5.4 million cells/mcL.

Normal Hemoglobin Range

Male: 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter.
Female: 12.0 to 15.5 grams per deciliter

If you're eating sufficient iron then another test called erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is conducted to detect information if any in the body.

Treatment Options

What are the Treatment Options?

Iron deficiency anemia and Vitamin deficiency anemia are the most common types of anemia.

If the underlying cause of anemia is Iron deficiency then doctors will recommend iron supplements and change dietary habits.

If the underlying cause of iron deficiency is loss of blood for reasons other than menstruation then the doctor would like to investigate the cause of blood loss and treat that underlying condition.

Vitamin deficiency anemias are treated with Vitamin B12 supplements and dietary changes.

Other rare types of following anemia are treated according to the underlying conditions and their severities.

  • Anemia of chronic disease.
  • Anemias associated with bone marrow disease.
  • Aplastic anemia.
  • Hemolytic anemias
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Thalassemia

Details of treatment of these anemias is out of scope of this article. They are addressed in the individual articles on each type of anemia.

Home Remedies

Home Remedies for Anemia

anemia remedies infographics

For both iron deficiency anemia and Vitamin deficiency anemia, the home remedies include additions of foods which are rich in those elements as well as take supplements.

Following food items will help you to get rid of your anemia.

1. Iron Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Add the following fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

  • Apple
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy Greens
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Plums and prunes
  • Purple grapes
  • Raisins
  • Rice bran
  • Turnip greens
  • Whole grains
  • Yams

2. Vitamin C Rich Foods

Vitamin C enhances absorption of iron by the body. Therefore adding Vitamin C rich foods will help to remove anemia. Lemon, oranges, pineapple and papaya are some of the fruits that you can eat daily.

3. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of iron as well as vitamin B to attack your anemia to reduce both kinds of deficiencies. Eat one tablespoon blackstrap molasses everyday. For children you can add 1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses in a glass of water and drink it twice daily.

4 Eat Fish

Eating fish with iron rich vegetables increases absorption of it by the body many folds. Eat both fish and Vegetables at the same time for best results.

5. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are rich in iron. Consume at least 2 egg yolks daily in your preferred form.

6. Raw liver Extract

liver extract has red blood cell production. This is a supplement which can be injected under a doctor supervision. Ensure that liver extract is from organically raised meat .

If you are a strict vegetarian then you must take vitamin B supplements as most vegetarians are deficient in vitamin B12.


Prevention's and Precautions

  • Avoid eating food containing oxalic acid as it reduces iron absorption. Almonds, cashews, chocolates and cocoa should be avoided. Some foods such as kale, spinach and swiss chard contain both iron and oxalic acids. Reduce their consumption.
  • Avoid dairy products ice creams soft drinks candy bar and bear as they interfere in the absorption of iron
  • Do not eat iron rich food and fibre rich food together as the fiber will make iron go out through the stools easily.
    Calcium, zinc, antacids and Vitamin E also interfere with absorption of iron. So do not take them together with iron rich foods

Always eat a balanced healthy diet that includes iron and Vitamin B12, otherwise you will get anemia.