How many times have you foregone the signs and symptoms of fatigue thinking it as a reason behind the stress in your workplace? Quite a number of times, isn’t it? Majority of the patients suffering from anemia tend to experience signs of fatigue and excessive tiredness which is often misconceptualised for something else.
The condition of anemia is rather serious, if left untreated. So, if you are experiencing signs and symptoms of consistent fatigue all throughout the day even after a well rested night, it is definitely necessary to consult a doctor to get the symptoms checked out.
In this article, we are going to walk ourselves through the disease of anemia and everything that one needs to know about it – from the causes to its remedies.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a medical condition that is characterized by the lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells, which are the primary vector that supplies the entirety of the body with healthy levels of oxygen, need to be insufficient percentage throughout the body to ensure proper functioning of it.
If you didn’t know any better, the majority of the signs and symptoms that are witnessed because of anemia is all because of the lack of oxygen delivery to the vital organs of the body.
The detection and diagnosis of anemia is all dependant on the levels of haemoglobin that a person has in their body. Reduced levels of haemoglobin results in reduced levels of oxygen in the body as well. Statistics suggest that over 3.4 million of people in the United States of America itself suffer from Anemia.
Many people often think that Anemia can end up being the reason behind their death. That is not always the case though. But, there are chances that you might experience worse conditions and outcomes if you leave the situation left untreated.
Home Remedies for Anemia
Anemia is a condition that obviously does need a proper medical attention for its treatment but there are a number of lifestyle changes and dietary changes that can effectively pose as an effective cure for the disease.
Some of these natural remedies for Anemia include:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar for Anemia
Apple Cider Vinegar helps regulate the stomach acid levels in the body, thereby ensuring proper breakdown of the ingested food. There are not many studies or scientific evidences which could help clear the fact on how the consumption of ACV could possibly be beneficial for anemia treatment.
What To Do?
- Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the glass of water
- You can add some honey to better the taste but that’s completely optional and personal preference
- Drink this an hour or so before a meal
2. Consume Iron Rich Foods for Anemia
One of the pivotal reasons behind anemia is the lack of proper levels of haemoglobin in the blood. Iron is one of those minerals that contribute to the healthy production of haemoglobin in the body. Iron supplementation in anemic patients is a must, be it with medicinal supplements or with the consumption of food rich in iron. The proper levels of iron contribute to improved levels of haemoglobin (R) which, in turn, enhances the levels of red blood cells in the body.
What To Do?
- If you are increasing the intake of iron with diet, the consumption of iron rich foods can effectively help in combating the problem effectively.
- For supplements, consult a physician to get the prescription.
3. Manage Stress Levels for Anemia Treatment
Stress is one of the primary factors that could contribute to worsened condition of anemia. Study shows (R) that the exposure to stress relatively decreases the iron absorption in the body which contributes to lowered levels of haemoglobin as well. Not just that, the physiological stress also hampers the process of erythropoiesis (red blood cell production), thereby causing anemia.
Even the raised levels of oxidative stress (R) in the body tend to negatively affect the body’s cells as well. The heightened levels of oxidative stress are also a factor that negatively impacts the body and induces anemia.
What To Do?
De-stressing is an important step to enhancing one’s quality of life as well as improving the levels of red blood cells in the body to cure the signs and symptoms relating to anemia.
4. Avoid Excess Beverages for Anemia Treatment
If you are a hefty beverage junkie, I have some bad news for you. While the beverages loaded with micronutrients (R) sure to help combat the iron deficiency, the common types of drinks that we rely on tend to have completely opposite effects on our body, especially for the people who suffer from anemia.
Certain beverages like coffee, red wine and even the excessive consumption of green tea (R) can hinder with the iron absorption in the body which is what further contributes to the condition of anemia.
What To Do?
Switch up your beverage consumption with something healthier like carrot juice, orange juice or even white wine instead of red.
5. Essential Oils for Anemia
Much like other approaches to treatment for anemia, the same can be achieved with essential oils too. There are a number of herbs and plants which are rich in iron and promote the better production of haemoglobin in the body. Even though there are not many studies that have been done to exclaim its actual effect, it is believed that the results are promising.
Some of the common essential oils for Anemia include:
- Nettle leaves essential oil
- Dong Quai essential oil
- Gentian essential oil
- Dandelion essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
What To Do?
As there are not much journal evidences to back up the claims and effectiveness of the oils, it is always best to consult a doctor before you jump head first into consuming them in your day to day life.
6. Citrus Fruits for Anemia
Apart from the lack of iron in the body, even the deficiency of folate (R) contributes to anemia and the deteriorating symptoms that accompany it. Citrus fruits, apart from being loaded with Vitamin C, are also loaded with good concentration of folate which definitely contributes to the cure for anemia.
What To Do?
Increase the intake of citrus fruits like that or oranges, lemons, sweet lime and other kinds belonging to the same family. You can either drink the freshly pressed juice or even snack on the fruit as a whole to enjoy the benefits of it.
Diet for Anemia Treatment
The approach to the treatment for anemia starts off with definitive changes and impacts in one’s diet before they are administered with medicines. The first step to culminating a healthy diet for an anemic patient is to opt for foods that are rich in iron and folate and other form of nutritious vitamins that would contribute to the production of haemoglobin and healthy red blood cells.
The diet primarily contains of food that promotes better absorption of the iron from the ingested food. The two primary sub-categories of iron that our body relies on include the heme and the non-heme iron. The prior is found and sourced from meat, seafood, and even poultry and is the form that is easily absorbed. The latter is sourced from the plant and fortified foods and is comparatively a bit harder to absorb.
Anemia treatment approaches will always be individualized and vary from person to person depending on the type of anemia and the severity behind it. That being said, a standard amount of 150 mg to 200 mg is a must when it comes to the daily iron requirement of the body.
If you are opting for supplements, always consult a doctor and get a proper prescription as per your body requirement and needs.
Foods to Eat
Now that we have arrived to this section, let us divert our focus to the kind of foods that an anemic patients needs to consume on a day to day basis to keep themselves healthy and fit. Let us walk ourselves through the cure for anemia that one can achieve with a wide variety of food.
Foods High in Iron for Anemia Treatment
Iron deficiency plays a very crucial role in Anemia and that is not something that needs a separate introduction, now, does it? While there could be several underlying reasons behind the lack of iron absorption in the body, it is necessary to ensure that one keeps its levels in check so as to avoid conditions of anemia.
Some of the best sources of iron in food include:
- Lean and grass fed beef
- Beans, pulses and lentils
- Cashew nuts
- Leafy vegetables
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Whole grain breads
- Baked Potatoes
- Edible Seeds
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an amazing magic compound which helps in improved absorption of the iron in the body. If you are someone who thoroughly suffers from problems encircling lower levels of iron and even folate in the body due to lack of absorption, switch up your diet with some healthy doses of Vitamin C which can actually impact not just the overall absorption but even combat other health issues.
Some of the foods rich in Vitamin C include:
- Sweet Lime
- Different types of berries
Individual Focus on Few Food Variants for Anemia
After covering an overview of the common diet plan for Anemia along with the necessary two categories of food supplements that healthily affect the levels of iron and other essential minerals related to Anemia, let us focus on the individual food items that contribute to the treatment for Anemia in a very effective way.
1. Beetroot for Anemia
Beetroot is rich in iron which is what helps act as an amazing supplement for people suffering from Anemia. The considerable concentration of iron in this vegetable is what makes up for the requirement of iron that one needs to combat the signs and symptoms relating to Anemia. It also boosts the production of haemoglobin, thereby further contributing to treating Anemia.
What To Do?
- Add some beetroots with some other vegetables to have an amazing salad that’s not just nutritious but good for anemia as well.
- You can even opt for freshly pressed beetroot juice to gain similar benefits treating anemia.
2. Blackstrap Molasses for Anemia
If you didn’t know, Anemia has several types and categories depending on the kind of deficiency that’s causing it. People suffering from Pernicious Anemia tend to get affected because of lack of proper levels of Vitamin B12 in the body. Blackstrap molasses is loaded with an essential quantity of Vitamin B, iron and a fair share of other minerals.
If you are diabetic, it is best to avoid this because the same may hinder your blood glucose levels.
What To Do?
- Mix one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to a glass of water
- Mix it all together and drink this daily once
3. Spinach for Anemia
Spinach is rich in iron but come with a bit of downsides to it as well. This is one of those leafy vegetables that also have a high concentration of oxalates in it which not just contributes to kidney stones but also tends to prevent the proper absorption of the non-heme iron.
If you are solely depending on just spinach as one of the remedies to cure anemia, it is not really going to work. Consume spinach in permissible quantities (R) along with other iron supplements or iron rich foods that could help with the process of healing.
What To Do?
- Increase the intake of spinach, either in smoothies or even in salads or curries.
- Keep the consumption in check and don’t overdo the same.
4. Pomegranate for Anemia
Pomegranate is one of those fruits which is not just rich in iron content but also contains good quantity of Vitamin C which combined have amazing benefits in the treatment for Anemia. It boosts the production of red blood cells (R) in the body which is what primarily contributes to help prevent anemia.
What To Do?
- Drink pomegranate juice every day.
- If juice is something that’s not feasible for you, try the pomegranate seeds as it is and that is more than enough. You can even sprinkle them over your salad for an added tang and crunch to your salad.
5. Tomatoes for Anemia
Tomatoes are considered as one of the best natural remedies for anemia (R), primarily because of their capability of boosting the overall levels of haemoglobin in the body. Not just that, it even has promising levels of Vitamin C which also contributes to the absorption of iron that in turn promotes the production of haemoglobin in the blood.
What To Do?
- Include tomatoes in your regular diet, either raw in salads or even in the other dishes.
- It is best suggested to eat sun-dried tomatoes for anemia because the concentration of the same elevates in such condition rather than in the raw form where around a cup of raw tomatoes contain about 0.5 mg of iron.
6. Parsley tea for Anemia
Parsley Tea is considered as one of the best remedies to cure anemia, primarily because of the fact it has every possible requirement that one would need to boost their health and relieve the signs and symptoms relating to anemia.
It is rich in antioxidants (R) which help flush out the unwanted toxins out of the body. Not just that, it is loaded with Vitamin C which improves the absorption of iron in the body, thereby contributing to enhances levels of haemoglobin in the body. It is also high in folate and Vitamin B12 concentration along with beta carotene which all contribute to providing with a quick prevention and cure from the signs and symptoms of Anemia.
What To Do?
- Steep a tea bag of Parsley tea in a cup of hot water
- Let it steep for 5 minutes or more if you want it to be more concentrated
- Drink this twice or thrice daily for the much needed benefits
7. Sesame Seeds for Anemia
If you want to further boost your iron concentration (R) in the body, the consumption of sesame seeds can effectively help with the same. It has a good percentage of iron content which helps combat the deficiency of iron in the body.
The black sesame seeds have a heightened concentration in comparison to the white sesame seeds.
What To Do?
- Soak 2-3 tablespoons in water and leave it for a few hours
- Blend it into a smooth paste and consume it with a teaspoon of honey
- Do this once every day or every other day
8. Drumsticks for Anemia
Drumsticks for anemia treatment might even come off as a surprise to a lot of people but let me actually clarify that it does work its wonders in mitigating the deficiency of iron in the body. It is also believed that the leaves of the drumsticks (R) can help increase the levels of haemoglobin in the body as well.
What To Do?
- Add some drumsticks to a stew or even add it to a steaming pot of Sambaar and you are good to do.
- If you are not a cook and don’t want to propagate further expenditure of energy on cooking, just extract the juice of this vegetable and gulp it down by pinching your nose.
- Alternatively, extract the juice of the drumstick leaves and consume it once every other day for effective rise in haemoglobin levels.
9. Bananas for Anemia
Banana is also an effective cure for Anemia. The results might not be that pronounced but it sure does help with the process of healing. Bananas are rich in copper content which is yet another compound which helps in the process of iron absorption (R). Pair these with a drizzle of honey for added remedies to cure anemia.
What To Do?
- Slice some bananas and add it to your daily breakfast bowl of cereals
- Add a drizzle of honey over it
- Eat it every morning for effective boost to your body’s iron levels
[Check Interested Health Benefits of Banana Peels]
10. Fenugreek Seeds for Anemia
Fenugreek seeds have a natural high concentration of iron in it which contributes to aiding in propagating the lowered levels of iron (R) in the body. Not just that, it also promotes the production of healthy red blood cells which further contributes to recovering the problem associated with anemia.
A little note of precaution is to be very careful with its consumption if you suffer from diabetes because it tends to lower the blood sugar levels in the body.
What To Do?
- Increase the addition of fenugreek seeds in your diet, be it in curries or even in soups.
- Alternatively, you can even soak a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water and leave it overnight. Drink this the next morning and do this every day.
11. Dates and Raisings for Anemia
Dates and raisins are considered as two of the most effective remedies for treating anemia. Both of these dry fruits not just contribute to bettered levels of haemoglobin (R) in the body but they also help in effective absorption of iron in the body which is definitely an added bonus in the anemia treatment.
What To Do?
Eat two dates and a few raisins every day as a snack and that should do the trick.
12. Mangoes for Anemia
Mango is rich in both iron and Vitamin C. While you are getting direct iron sourced to your body with the consumption of mangoes, you are also gaining the Vitamin C in the body which helps in further absorption of iron from the ingested food.
What To Do?
Add mangoes to your daily consumption diet. Make it into a smoothie, eat it just as it is or even just add it into a salad and consume it for that daily dose of iron.
Foods Not to Eat for Anemia
Now that we are well versed with the common remedies for anemia, let us walk ourselves through the common don’ts that come when one talks about the diet regarding anemia. The regular diet plays a vivid role in the treatment for anemia, so you need to ensure that you are consuming the right things so as to ensure that you don’t end up aggravating the condition.
Some of the food varieties that you should away from if you are anemic include:
1. Caffeine is a Big NO
Tannins that are present in a variety of teas and coffee have negative impacts on the condition of anemia. They tend to interfere heavily with the non-heme iron absorption which causes a significant lowering of the iron levels in the body.
2. Avoid Gluten Like Plague
Gluten allergies that are often caused because of celiac disease end up disrupting the inside of the intestinal walls which can inflict several negative impacts on one’s intestinal activity. The lack of proper functioning of the intestinal walls ends up causing the lack in the absorption of the folate and iron from the ingested food. If such symptoms are witnessed, try and treat it as soon as possible to relieve the problem before it gets worse.
3. Phytic Acid Rich Foods Need To Go Away
While beans and legumes are good for your anemia, it can have adverse effects on one’s body as well. The phytic acid in these ingredients tends to worsen the absorption of the iron into the body by staying bound to the iron. Try and limit the consumption of foods like legumes and even brown rice if you are faced with situations like these.
4. A Few Minerals and Dietary Components Are Bad For You
The excess presence of calcium can hinder the absorption of the iron that you are consuming. Since these dietary interactions don’t really sit well, try and ensure that you are not overdoing the consumption of calcium and iron together because chances are that the iron won’t even be absorbed into the body.
5. Avoid Oxalic Acid Rich Foods
Oxalic acid rich foods including peanuts and chocolate can influence the absorption of iron in your body which is why it is always best to stay wary of them or eat them in considerable quantities to ensure that their levels don’t surpass normal levels. Try and limit their consumption as much as you can to help with the condition of anemia.
Anemia During Pregnancy
Mild Anemia during pregnancy is a common side effect that majority of pregnant ladies face. During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces more amounts of red blood cells to sustain the other life growing inside of them which is why it is necessary to consume and have a diet that includes a good percentage of iron and folate and essential Vitamins in it.
The top three types of anemia that are prevalent during pregnancy include:
- Iron deficient anemia
- Folate deficient anemia
- Vitamin B12 deficient anemia
Some of the common symptoms relating to anemia during pregnancy include:
- Paleness of the skin, especially around the lips and nails
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Persistent weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble in keeping the concentration to a single topic
Some of the causes behind anemia during pregnancy include:
- Consistent morning sickness making one throw up
- If you conceive more than one child
- Have a close difference between two pregnancies
- Lack of iron and folate in the diet
- Is anemic in general, even before being pregnant
Some of the risks associated with anemia during pregnancy include:
- A premature birth of the fetus
- Possible need for a blood transfusion if the levels of red blood cells and haemoglobin are considerably low
- Baby affected with anemia
- Postpartum depression
- Delayed development in the baby
- Vitamin B12 deficient anemia often inflicts neural tube defects in the baby
The prevention and treatment for anemia during pregnancy account for the same kind of approach that one would opt for if they were not pregnant. Just, make sure that you consult your doctor before consuming anything because the same can inflict negative side effects you might not even be aware of.
What Causes Anemia?
Anemia has various sub-types based on what the main reason is behind the lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. These salient categories are what explain the causes behind the disease. If you have a deficiency of iron, then you are most likely going to be affected with the iron-deficient anemia and so on.
In order to understand it better, let us focus on the few causes of anemia that are also classified as its types.
1. Iron Deficient Anemia
This is the form of anemia that is primarily caused because of deficiency of iron in the body. It can from various reasons, be it the lack of consumption of iron from the daily diet or other associated reasons that are prohibiting the successful absorption of the iron from the ingested food.
2. Folate Deficient Anemia
This is the category of anemia that is induced by the lack of proper levels of folate or folic acid in the body. Even this has similar symptoms to like that of the other types of anemia and primarily arise due to lack of consumption or the salient absorption of the folate in the body.
3. Vitamin B12 Deficient Anemia
Also known as Megaloblastic Anemia, it is primarily caused by the reduced production of the red blood cells as well as the haemoglobin because of the lack of substantial amount of Vitamins, especially Vitamin B12 in the bloodstream. It also happens when the affected person is consuming the necessary vitamins but the body is not able to process it accordingly. It is also known as pernicious anemia.
Some of other variants or sub-categories of anemia include:
- Anemia of Chronic Disease
- Aplastic Anemia
- Anemia associated with Bone Marrow disease
- Hemolytic Anemia
- Sickle Cell Anemia
Apart from these categories and possible causes, some of the other types of common causes behind anemia include:
- Extensive bleeding
- Leaky Gut
- Lower levels of Stomach Acid
- A poor diet lacking the necessary nutrients and minerals
- Intestinal Disorders
- Infections in and around the GI tract
- Kidney and Liver Diseases
- Irregular functioning of the Thyroid Gland
- Autoimmune conditions
- Deficiency of sudden enzymes in the body
What are the Symptoms of Anemia?
Now that we have arrived at the penultimate topic of discussion, let us revert to the rundown of symptoms that one experience when they are diagnosed with Anemia.
Some of the common symptoms of Anemia include:
- Fatigue and persistent tiredness
- Weakness accompanied with a feeling of dizziness
- Paleness on the skin
- Fast paced heartbeat with irregularities in the rhythm
- Ragged breathing and shortness of breath
- Chest ache and headache
- Problems with the cognitive functioning
- Cold hands and feet
- Easily getting bruised
- Subsequent weight loss
- Hair Loss
- Irregular periods
When to See a Doctor for Anemia?
Anemia is a condition that is often times diagnosed at a later stage because people tend to forego it as something as trivial as being tired. The lowered red blood cell count in the body can inflict several negative impacts on one’s body which is why it is necessary to see a doctor the moment one starts witnessing the signs and symptoms relating to anemia.
If you are in a constant daze of fatigue and tiredness, it might be because of a number of underlying reasons and anemia could possibly be the primary one behind it. If you want to prevent anemia, it is necessary for you to ensure that you seek for medical help before the situation gets worse.
Anemia is one of those most common diseases that affect around 24% of the global population. While some people take the necessary measures right off the bat, some tend to drag it out thinking that the symptoms are not as serious. We hope all this information relating to anemia was more than helpful to help you guide in the correct direction.