How Can Diets Treat Anemia?
Kara Lo, HK BioTek Nutritionist Intern
Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your cells. Anemia can be so mild that you do not notice it at first, but symptoms will worsen as it develops. You might experience fatigue, weakness, pale or yellowish skin, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, cold hands and feet, or headaches if you have it.
What are the causes of anemia?
Your body does not make enough red blood cells,
You lose too much blood by bleeding before they can be replaced
Your body destroys too many red blood cells
What do red blood cells do?
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin that carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body and removes carbon dioxide.
Causes of anemia
There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. The two most common anemias are iron deficiency anemia and anemia of chronic disease.
Iron deficiency anemia (the most common type): it is due to a lack of iron. We need irons to make hemoglobin for red blood cells. Without adequate iron, your body cannot produce enough red blood cells, especially in pregnant women.
Anemia of chronic disease: autoimmune diseases (diseases in which immune system over-react and attacks our own cells) or other chronic illnesses lower the levels of red blood cells. Chronic diseases are those that last longer than 3 months.
How can we prevent anemia by diets and their sources?
Not all types of anemias can be prevented through diets, but you can avoid iron deficiency anemia and vitamin deficiency anemias by eating a balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals.
Iron. Beef, meats, beans, lentils, iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and dried fruit.
Folate and folic acid. Fruit, dark green leafy vegetables, green peas, kidney beans, peanuts, and enriched grain products.
Vitamin B-12. Meat, dairy products, and fortified cereal and soy products.
Vitamin C. It helps to increase iron absorption. Citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, melons, and strawberries.