Diet For Anemia: Best Foods for Boosting Iron

Diet For Anemia

Anemia is one of the most common issues faced by people today. To be precise, it affects around 24.8% of the total population, the number is close to 1.6 billion people. It is a blood disorder which occurs either when the count of red blood cells is low or when the red blood cells are not functioning properly.

Children are more affected by Anemia while adult men are least affected. The people who suffer from anemia experience symptoms like weakness, dizziness, headache, pain in the chest, shortness of breath and so on. It is very important to follow a proper diet for anemia.

Diet For Anemia

The best diet for anemia is iron-rich diet plan. So if you have anemia, you need to make a special diet plan for anemia :

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables
  2. Meat
  3. Nuts and Seeds
  4. Organic Soya Beans
  5. Many More

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Green Leafy Vegetables benefits
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Which vegetables fall in the category of green leafy vegetables? They are spinach, kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, swiss chard.

Why Eat?

It’s a well-known fact that green leafy vegetables are one of the best sources of iron. Apart from being rich in iron some leafy greens also contain folate, which prevents folate deficiency anemia.

How to Eat?

You cannot depend solely on green leafy vegetables to cure anemia. Instead, you should include them as a part of the diet for anemia.

This is so because some green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in oxalates, which prevents the absorption of nonheme iron. The best anemic diet plan should include green leafy vegetables with food like orange, strawberries, red pepper, which are rich in vitamin C. This is so because vitamin C helps iron absorption.

How Much to Eat?

Green leafy vegetables come from plants so they are a source of non-heme iron. Now the fact is only 30% non-heme iron can be absorbed by the body. So you need to include a generous amount of green leafy vegetables in anemic diet plans.

[Also Read: Amazing Natural Remedies for Anemia]

2. Meat

Why Eat?

Meat comes from animals and thus is a source of heme iron. Red meat, lamb and venison are rich in iron, while poultry and chicken have comparatively low amount. The liver is rich in iron and so are other animal organs like heart, kidney and beef tongue(1).

How to Eat?

Meat should be taken along with vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. This would ensure good iron absorption. You can also take meat with food rich in vitamin C like tomatoes, broccoli. This too helps in iron absorption. Organ meat should also be consumed as they are rich in iron.

How Much to Eat?

4 ounces of beef contains 3 milligrams iron. So even a lean piece of beef is enough when included in a diet for anemia.

3. Nuts and Seeds

nuts and seeds for better health
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Nuts and seeds are perfect to be included in an iron-rich diet plan. They have multiple health benefits. The nuts and seeds best for anemic diet plans are pistachios, pumpkin seeds, cashews, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Why Eat?

Nuts though small in size are quite powerful when it comes to health benefits. They have a lot of nutrients and

How to Eat?

Various nuts and seeds are enjoyed as snacks. In fact, dieticians are stressing on the habit of healthy snacking, and nuts form an integral part of these new healthy snacking trend.

Apart from this nuts and seeds are used to garnish a lot of dishes. They enhance the taste of salads and even desserts. So it is up to you, whether you want it as a snack or wish to combine it with something else, as long as you include it in your daily diet.

How Much to Eat?

You could keep pumpkin seeds and pistachios in a bowl on your table to be enjoyed as a snack by you and your family. When 3 ounces of pumpkin seeds have an iron content of 8 milligrams your family too can enjoy it.

Some nuts like almonds though very healthy and rich in iron, will not be able to up your iron intake. This is so because it contains calcium too which might interfere with the iron absorption.

4. Organic Soya Beans

Why Eat?

Most beans have high nutrient content. Soybeans are a rich source of non-heme iron. Along with this, they contain high protein. So it covers a good part of your balanced iron-rich diet plan.

How to Eat?

Organic soybeans can be an ingredient in your snack or main course. It is quite versatile when it comes to how can you include it in your iron-rich diet plan.

How Much to Eat?

Soybeans form a part of a daily diet of many people around the world especially in countries where iron deficiency is prevalent. It is considered an important vegetable source of protein and iron. You should include a good amount of soybeans in your anemic diet. 1 single cup of cooked soybeans contains 5 milligrams of iron.

5. Shellfish

Shellfish benefits
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Why Eat?

Shellfish like oysters, clams, and shrimp are rich in iron. They are tasty, healthy and full of nutrition. It is even believed to increase the level of the heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. So it’s a good choice for your iron-rich diet plans. As it is heme iron so it is absorbed quickly by your body.

How to Eat?

The fish with shells or shellfish as they are called are an excellent part of a diet for anemia. All seafood lovers will agree that there is nothing better if your favorite seafood is healthy too. You can enjoy it the way you want. If you take it with citrus food or add a dash of lemon to it then its taste will enhance also increase iron absorption.

How Much to Eat?

All shellfish contain high iron but clams, oysters and shrimps are considered the best source of iron. 3 ounces of shellfish is ample for you.

5. Quinoa

Why Eat?

Quinoa is a storehouse of nutrients. It is rich in iron, protein, folate, manganese, copper, magnesium and so on. It has more antioxidant property. On top of all this, it is gluten-free too. It is beneficial and not too expensive too.

How to Eat?

Quinoa is referred to as a grain but it is actually a pseudocereal. It can be taken just like you use rice in any recipe you want.

The only thing to be remembered is although its bitter upper layer is already removed you still should rinse it to ensure that the bitterness has totally gone. It can also be used in breakfast or baking due to its slightly nutty taste. You could even use it in cold salads, side dishes or whichever way you want.

How Much to Eat?

One cup of cooked quinoa contains 2.8 milligrams of iron. You could use quinoa according to the recipe you have chosen, depending on whether its just a salad or a meal.

6. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap Molasses for anemia
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Why take?

Blackstrap molasses is an underrated superfood. It has very high iron content. It also contains various minerals and vitamins like calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium. And yes it tastes great too.

How to take?

What exactly are blackstrap molasses? Blackstrap molasses are produced during the process of sugar production. It is nothing but the thick liquid left behind after the extraction of sugar from sugarcane. It has a bittersweet flavor and contains vitamins and minerals. You could add it as a topping or take it with toast. It tastes great with gingerbread.

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How much to take?

No matter how beneficial blackstrap molasses is, you need not overdo it. You could use a spoonful with toast or as a topping but not more as its flavor is quite strong and the taste sweet.

[Also Read: Supplements in Treating Anemia]

7. Legumes

Why Eat?

Legumes are a rich source of iron. Legumes also contain folate, magnesium, potassium, protein and are a rich source of fiber. Legumes also benefit people by helping in weight loss, reducing heart disease risk and reducing inflammation in diabetes patients.

How to Eat?

Legumes have high iron content. It is best if you consume legumes with food rich in vitamin C to increase iron absorption. You could eat legumes with tomatoes, green leafy vegetables as it enhances the taste too.

How Much to Eat?

Half a cup of legumes contains 3.3 milligrams of iron. It is indeed a good option for a vegetarian diet for anemia. But you should also keep in mind that it is rich in soluble fiber which makes you feel full and satisfies your hunger quickly. So you should remember to take a balanced amount as a part of your anemia diet plans.

8. Organic Eggs

healthy Organic Eggs
Image:ShutterStock

Why Eat?

By now you already know that organic eggs are rich in iron. But they also contain vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, and zinc.

They even contain omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart. Organic eggs benefit skin, eyes, brain, liver and also helps in weight loss. Again it is cheap, conveniently available and easy to cook.

How to Eat?

Eggs are a part of our favorite breakfast due to the nutritional value, taste, and ease in preparing. You could take it in lunch with quinoa or sautéed spinach.

You could also opt for it in the breakfast with whole-grain toast. Eggs can be cooked easily and quickly in a number of ways like an omelet, scrambled eggs, poached eggs or simply boiled eggs.

How Much to Eat?

A famous commercial says Sunday or Monday, take eggs every day. So you could eat organic eggs every day without worrying about your weight or digestion. But too much of anything is not good. It is best to consume around 2-4 eggs each day, according to your age and physical activity.

Iron is needed to increase the hemoglobin level in blood. Your body is unable to produce iron on its own so you need to have an iron-rich diet plan for anemia. This is the best possible way to deal with this. Now, this does not mean that you should become your own doctor.

Go to a physician first and get to the root of the problem. You should follow your physician advice and discuss with him your anemic diet plans. It is important that before deciding a diet plan for anemia you should know your body first.


FAQs

1. What are the causes of anemia?

The type anemia most common is iron-deficiency anemia. This type of anemia is due to a low level of iron in the blood. The people at risk are women, aged people, people suffering from kidney failure or taking blood thinner medicines. Apart from iron deficiency, there are other causes of anemia too like vitamin deficiency, pregnancy, etc.

2. What is anemia?

When your blood has inadequate red blood cells or hemoglobin, then this condition is known as Anemia. Hemoglobin is very important as it is the main component of blood and carries oxygen. This means that if your blood has less hemoglobin then the requirement of oxygen by the cells of your body will not be met.

3. How can you treat iron-deficiency anemia?

You need to consult a doctor for this, who would conduct a few tests. Depending on this diagnosis the real cause will be established. Based on the doctor’s advice you should follow iron-rich food for anemia. This will help you to tackle the situation and lead a healthy life.

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