Anemia is a condition of the blood involving a red blood cell count and hemoglobin levels which are lower than normal. This can cause fatigue, memory loss, weakness and depression, among other symptoms. However, dietary management with foods that are rich in nutrients like iron, B12 and folic acid can improve this condition. Below are seven of the foods that are helpful for anemia treatment.
Soybean has a high iron content, with just a one cup serving providing around half of the daily recommended intake. It also is high in protein, another important nutrient to help treat anemia. However, it is best to soak the beans in warm water overnight before cooking them, otherwise the phytic acid present in the beans will make it more difficult for your body to absorb the iron.
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grains have a high iron content but also contain the phytic acid which blocks the body’s absorption of that iron; however, because whole grain bread is made with fermented grain, the amount of phytic acid is greatly reduced. These kinds of breads are an excellent source of what is called non-heme iron.
Regular oatmeal has been fortified with iron and is another good way to help treat an anemic condition. Oatmeal has iron naturally, but as a whole grain it contains phytic acid so fortification is necessary in order for this to be a good iron source. Also, though regular (also called “old fashioned”) oatmeal is iron-fortified, generally instant oatmeal is not.
Red meats contain heme iron, a form of iron which is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron. Of the red meats, liver is the best option for boosting the production of red blood cells, since a single serving of it can provide a whopping 600% of the daily recommended intake for both iron and Vitamin B-12.
Eggs are not only high in iron but they are rich in antioxidants, a extremely effective combination when it comes to treating anemia. If consumed for breakfast with a glass of orange juice, the Vitamin C in the juice will help the body to absorb the iron more easily.
Peanut butter is another excellent source of iron and is a great choice for those who maintain a plant-based diet. A single serving will provide 0.6mg of iron and if eating with a food which is high in Vitamin C (on a peanut butter and marmalade sandwich, for instance), it will be even more effective.
Spinach is also a wonderful, plant-based treatment for anemia. Spinach is particularly useful as it is rich in both iron and the Vitamin C which makes that iron easier to assimilate. It also has the added general health benefits of being rich in Vitamins A, B, C and E, minerals like calcium and antioxidants like beta-carotene. Other leafy green vegetables like kale, watercress, collard greens and fenugreek have these same benefits.
Anemia is a difficult condition to live with, but fortunately there are many things you can do right at home to help treat it. One effective way is dietary therapy with some of the foods mentioned above, which can help the body restore its red blood cell and hemoglobin levels back to normal.
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