Whenever you visit a doctor suspecting signs and symptoms of anemia, the first thing that the doctor will revert saying with is that you need to either upgrade or completely change your diet and that is true. Diet and lifestyle play a very crucial role in the maintenance of proper blood production as well as circulation. If you thought “diet for anemia” is a laymen term just used for the sake of using, you were slightly mistaken.
While you might be here thinking what kind of anemia treatment foods you need to adhere to or what to eat and what necessarily one needs to avoid, right? Well, there are an ample spectrum of foods and nutrition when it comes to treating Anemia.
In this article, we are going to be discussing the common and easy ways of curing anemia with diet. Stick on to till the end of the article to know all the dos and don’ts when it comes to the kind of food that is best suited for an anemic patient.
How to Treat Anemia with Food?
If you are here brainstorming what it is that Anemia is all about, right? Well, in simple terms, Anemia is a condition in which the patient’s body lacks the necessary levels of red blood cells, thus making them weak and susceptible to more diseases.
Anemia is primarily caused because of either three reasons:
- Vehement blood loss
- Destruction of the red blood cells
- Inability of formation of red blood cells
Now, when it comes to curing anemia with diet, the very first thing to do is to opt for foods that actually propagate the purpose of producing more red blood cells in the body that is generally required by it.
Food plays a huge role in not just curing the disease but also acts as a common reason behind its induction in the first place. If you were unaware, anemia can be of various types, the iron deficiency anemia being the most common one in the lot. This itself must be enough for you to understand why this actually does play a very crucial and important role in curing and preventing anemia and that too, effectively.
Not just that, even the lack of folate as well as Vitamin B-12 can adversely affect the normal process of red blood cells production of the body. These are the reasons why the adequate amount of Vitamin B12, folate and most importantly, iron, have an amazing effect in providing with an amazing cure for anemia.
Anemia Diet Plan
Iron rich foods for anemia is a must which is why it is necessary that the person suffering should include more foods that are rich in this specific compound to help cure the problem. It is often hard to balance the diet plan but in this section, we’ll provide with easy meal plans that one can opt for as a part of their daily diet to get suitable nutrition for anemia.
- Get some cereal with milk
- Glass of fortified orange juice
- White bread with jam or butter
- Eggs (boiled or poaches)
- Yoghurt with some strawberries and some seeds sprinkled on top
- Green leafy salad with a perfect fillet of grilled salmon
- A side of fortified white rice
- Sandwich with fortified white bread and some meat or even beans
- A salad on the side if just the sandwich is not filling enough
- Cottage cheese with some roasted potatoes and a green leafy salad on the side
- Grilled lamb or pork chops with some mashed potatoes and blanched curly kale
- A hearty stew with beans, meat, veggies and a white bread toast on the side
- If you are vegetarian, skip out on the meat
What to Eat for Anemia?
Diet for iron deficiency anemia, or any type of anemia is heavily influenced by the kind of diet that one actually depends on. If you are not actually being careful with what kind of nutrition you are consuming, it sure does become a problem in the later date.
If you are looking for an effective and healthy diet for anemia, this is just the place that you need to look into. Make sure that you include these specific foods into the diet without fail if you have been consistently suffering from anemia.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
One of the most important kinds of meal plans and foods that works best for people suffering from anemia are the green leafy vegetables which are not just loaded with iron but other nutritious factors as well.
These kinds of leafy green vegetables, especially the darker green ones actually contain a good quantity of non-heme iron as well as folate both of whose deficiency ends up causing anemia.
With that out of the way, it has also been witnessed that a number of these leafy green vegetables which are rich in iron and folate also contain a good portion of folate which could possibly be fatal for kidneys and might even arrest the absorption of iron which is why it is necessary to ensure that you consume these in considerable amounts but not solely depend on it for all forms of nutrition.
Some of the popular green leafy veggies that treat anemia include:
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
Some of them like collard greens and Swiss chard are rich in Vitamin C content which is beneficial in the absorption of iron.
Chicken liver or even the liver of any other form of poultry or meat can be very beneficial as anemia treatment foods. Majority of people actually do believe in the fact that organ meats are an acquired taste and as much as I believe in that, it is also a fact that the liver is definitely an amazing source of iron.
If you have been shying away from organ meat like that of liver but you have been consistently suffering from the signs and symptoms relating to anemia, it is high time to actually get going with this idea. Liver meat is rich in not just iron but folate as well, two of the main compounds that contribute to the possible signs of anemia in a person.
Some of the other organ meat that has high levels of iron includes:
- Beef tongue
These are an amazing source of nutrition for people suffering from iron deficiency anemia.
3. Meat and Poultry
This is not for the vegetarian or the vegan readers reading this article but it is equally effective to treat anemia with food. Majority, rather, all the meat and the poultry are rich in heme iron and when you pair the same with some non-heme iron source like some leafy veggies, it tends to increase the level of iron absorption which is what helps cure the condition of anemia.
The meats and the various cuts of it contain more heme protein in comparison to the poultry meat. But both of them have more or less good effects in amping up the lacking levels of iron in the body which could be a primary reason behind the condition of anemia.
Seafood is yet another amazing source of heme iron which makes up for the deficiency of the iron that is primarily dependent for the induction of anemia in the body. Majority of the fishes along with oysters, clams and shrimps are loaded with essential iron which can help boost the overall haemoglobin production in the body.
Some of the amazing varieties of fishes that are loaded with iron as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Canned sardines
If you are opting for salmon to gain those extra levels of iron in the body, ensure that you go for the fresh variant because the canned salmon tend to have higher levels of calcium in them which tends to obstruct the seamless absorption of the iron. This is why it is necessary to mix calcium rich foods with the iron rich ones because the former tends to block the proper absorption of the latter.
Now that we have touched majority of the options for the non-veg eaters, it is time to aid the vegetarian as well as the vegan readers. If you have been trying to treat anemia with food, beans make up for an amazing option, primarily because of the fact that beans have a high iron content in them which is effective for people suffering from iron deficiency anemia.
Not only are they very inexpensive and light on the budget, but they also have a very versatile approach when it comes to cooking them.
Some of the iron-rich options in terms of beans and legumes include:
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Black eyed peas
- Lima beans
Canned or just the dried version which you can cook as you like, beans can actually provide with the sufficient amount of iron that you are looking for in your day to day diet to curb the condition of anemia.
6. Fortified Foods
Fortified foods are the ones which have extra nutrients added to them. Some of these include a varied amount of vitamins like that of Vitamin A, B and D. Apart from that; there are additional compounds like folic acid, iron and even iodine. All of these compounds have beneficial impacts in improving the overall nutritional quotient of food that one is consuming.
Some of the varieties of fortified foods that you can consume in the diet plan for anemia include:
- White bread
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified pasta
- Fortified white rice
- Fortified corn flour or corn meal
Make sure that you limit the amount of how much fortified foods you are consuming because the ruthless and sole dependence on this might adversely affect one’s well being which is definitely not something you want.
7. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are undoubtedly some of the amazing sources of iron which is why it is necessary to ensure that you consume them, on their own or even sprinkled on top of a salad for an even better dosage of iron for your overall well being.
Some of the good sources of iron in nuts and seeds include:
- Cashew nuts
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
If you are here wondering why almonds are not mentioned in the list above, it is primarily because of the fact that they are not just rich in iron content but also calcium which tends to abruptly arrest the absorption of the iron, thereby degrading the condition even further.
What to Not Eat for Anemia?
Anemia is a condition that’s characterized by the battered red blood cells in the body, but have you ever sat and wondered that your lack of proper nutrition and diet could be the primary reason behind the same? Probably not, right? Well, it is one of them.
Now that we have discussed about the diet for anemia and what one needs to eat, let us focus a bit on the foods that one need to avoid if they are anemic.
Don’t get so astounded. As much as spinach is an amazing source of iron, possibly one of the best, it is also rich in oxalic acids which end up being a curse for people who suffer from kidney problems. The excess of oxalate in the body causes kidney stones which is definitely painful and taxing. So, if you are suffering from kidney diseases, it is best to opt for other foods to fight anemia and not stick to spinach.
2. Coffee and Tea
Tea and coffee are two of those compounds which are actually loaded with tannins, one of the compounds that have negative impacts on the absorption of iron in the body. If you are actively suffering from iron deficiency anemia, it is always suggested to steer clear off of the foods that are rich in tannins and tannic acid.
3. Red Wine
Much like tea and coffee, even red wine is loaded with tannins which hinders with the smooth and seamless absorption of the iron that you could possibly get from the other food sources. The most common thing that many people do that they shouldn’t is pairing wine with meals. It vehemently affects the iron absorption and pulls down the nutritional levels that you could have gotten from other food sources.
4. Soy Proteins
Much like the argument with the spinach being rich in iron, even the soy products are loaded with essential iron compounds which sure do contribute to the requirement of iron for the treatment of anemia, but the same is loaded with phytic acid as well which is yet another compound that restricts the absorption of iron. So, even if the iron content is considerably good in it, it becomes futile because of the fact that it simultaneously obstructs the iron absorption as well.
5. Hold Down the Gluten
Often times, people suffering from celiac disease end up disrupting their intestinal walls with the excess consumption of gluten in their diet. This ends up causing lesions and disruption of the intestinal walls, which ends up preventing the proper absorption of the folate and iron from the food that you are consuming. If you are suffering from celiac disease, look out for the amount of gluten that you are consuming and try and cut it down to nothing, if possible.
6. Cut Down the Alcohol
Prolonged consumption of alcohol adversely affects by inhibiting the folate absorption from the food. Not just that, it also tends to affect the proper functioning of the iron which is why it is always best to ensure that you end up getting rid of the alcohol to prevent the chances of developing anemia or making it worse if you are already suffering from it.
7. Calcium Rich Foods
Calcium rich foods like milk, cheese, curd etc. often have the tendency to hamper the seamless absorption of the iron in the food. If you have been consistently suffering from lower levels of iron and haemoglobin in the body, it is high time that you actually opt for ways that will help you gain the required iron and not prohibit its absorption.
Anemia is a very common disease that affects women more than it does men. If you are one of those who is currently suffering from this condition, trying to cope from the persistent exhaustion and tiredness, it is time that you opt for this mentioned diet plan for anemia to lead a healthy life.