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Iron Deficiency Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which your red blood cells have a low level of hemoglobin (RBCs). Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen to your tissues.

The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia, which happens when your body does not have enough iron. Iron is required for the production of hemoglobin in your body. When you don’t have enough iron in your blood, the remainder of your body can’t get the oxygen it requires.

Many people are unaware that they have iron deficiency anemia, despite the fact that it is a prevalent ailment. It’s possible to have symptoms for years without ever knowing what’s causing them. 

Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

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Some common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are general fatigue, weakness, pale skin, headaches and dizziness whereas the possible causes of iron deficiency anemia  might be less iron intake, menstruation or pregnancy-related blood loss, internal bleeding and endometriosis.

Pairing veggies containing iron with a high protein iron source will aid in the absorption of the iron. The addition of vitamin C also increases non-heme iron absorption. Consuming vitamin C-rich meals with any meal that includes iron-rich plant foods is among the advised techniques. Commonly consumed combinations, such as beans with tomato sauce or spinach and strawberries, result in high iron absorption. So, let’s see how to recover from iron-deficiency anemia.

Limit your exercise

Regular exercise raises the body’s need for iron in numerous ways, making athletes vulnerable to the iron shortage. Hard training, for example, encourages red blood cell development (which necessitates iron), while the iron is lost through sweat.

Diet for iron deficiency anemia

There is no need to stick to a certain schedule or eat a certain number of meals on the anemia diet. It’s also crucial to think about when you eat various foods because particular combinations can affect iron absorption—for better or for worse.

One study, for example, looked at individual meals to see how much iron was absorbed when different foods were combined. When a meal includes heme-containing meat, the body may absorb 2.5 times more non-heme iron, according to the study.

Cooking tips for people with iron deficiency anemia
Salad with Steak

Because there is a possibility of affecting iron absorption when certain foods are combined, you must be cautious when planning and preparing meals. Consider ingredient substitutions if non-compliant food is used in a dish.

Pairings should also be reconsidered. Try topping a salad with sliced steak to improve iron absorption, which may help your body fully absorb the iron present in spinach. If you’re having iron-fortified cereal for breakfast, don’t drink your coffee or tea at the same time.

Foods To Avoid If You Have Iron Deficiency Anemia:

Stay Away From Tannins

Tannins are naturally occurring plant-based compounds. Tannins can also be found in tea and coffee. Fruit juices, berries, pomegranates, nuts, legumes, certain herbs, and spices all contain them.

The duodenum and upper jejunum of the small intestine are the primary sites of iron absorption. These chemicals bind to iron molecules and prevent the body from absorbing them. Iron is not entirely absorbed by your body as a result of this interference.

Say No To Gluten

Gluten-containing foods should be avoided because they can aggravate anemia. Gluten can harm the intestinal wall and inhibit the absorption of iron and folic acid, both of which are necessary for the production of red blood cells.

Avoid Phytates

Legumes, whole grains, nuts, and brown rice all contain phytates, commonly known as phytic acid. The phytic acid binds to the iron in the digestive tract and prevents it from being absorbed. Anemic individuals should avoid foods that contain phytates.

What Foods Are Good For Your Diet When You Have Anemia?

Spinach
Fresh green leaves spinach on a wooden cutting board

Spinach and other iron-rich foods for anemia may not offer you superhuman strength to battle off villains like Popeye’s nemesis Bluto, but they can help you combat a different type of invader: iron deficiency anemia.

Legumes

Legumes are nutrient-dense foods. Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans are some of the most prevalent legumes. They’re especially good for vegetarians because they’re high in iron. Beans such as black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans are all good sources of iron. 

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and convenient snack. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds are high in vitamin K, zinc, and manganese. They’re also one of the best suppliers of magnesium, and they aid in a variety of ways in the treatment of anemia.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a pseudocereal and a popular grain. Cooked quinoa has 2.8 milligrams of iron per cup (185 grams). Quinoa is also gluten-free, making it a suitable option for people who have celiac disease or other forms of gluten intolerance.

Quinoa also has a higher protein content than many other grains and is high in folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a variety of other minerals.

How To Increase Iron Levels Quickly?

Load up on fruits that would help you with anemia: 

Pomegranate

One of the greatest iron-rich fruits to increase your blood count is pomegranate. It’s high in iron, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. The ascorbic acid in this fruit helps to regulate blood count by increasing iron levels in the body. As you incorporate pomegranates into your daily diet, you will notice an increase in hemoglobin levels.

Banana
Close up of a banana placed on an old wooden board

Bananas are an unexpectedly fantastic choice for iron-rich fruits. It increases hemoglobin production in the blood. Along with iron, it’s a good source of folic acid, a B-complex vitamin necessary for the formation of red blood cells.

Apple

It’s no surprise that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ as it contains numerous health-promoting characteristics. Apples are high in iron and include a variety of other health-promoting nutrients that are necessary to increase hemoglobin levels. Every day, eat at least one apple with the skin on it.

Prunes

Prunes are nothing more than dried plums that require your attention. These modest fruits are thought to be a tiny package with a lot of value. Prunes are high in vitamin C and iron, which help to increase hemoglobin levels. 

Outlook

Self-diagnosing and self- treating iron deficiency anemia might pose negative health consequences. Instead, consult your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency anemia.