What is Anemia?
Anemia is when your blood does not have enough hemoglobin or red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If you have too few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen.
How Many People are Anemic?
Do you know that anemia is a problem that affects up to 25% of the world’s population and it is primarily caused by low iron intake from diet and or low iron absorption.
Iron is used for making red blood cells (hemoglobin synthesis) so it is a required element for a healthy body. Many of our foods are fortified with Iron and therefore supplementation is not needed. Additionally, it is recommended that you get your iron levels tested to ensure you are getting enough iron before supplementing with iron-rich foods or other supplements.
Foods that enhance iron absorption include vitamin-C-rich foods, and the addition of high-quality proteins in the meal. Foods that lower iron absorption include tannins (found in tea and coffee), calcium, milk and dairy products, phytates, and eggs.
If you wish to increase iron absorption for correct an anemia problem there are some simple dietary changes you can add:
- Add vitamin C to your meal : Orange juice, berries, red/orange peppers, tomatoes, etc.
- Eat high-quality protein in your meals such as fish, poultry, or soy
- Limit milk and other dairy products, and eggs.
- Limit high-calcium foods at meal time.
- Add plant-based sources of iron : leafy greens (spinach, kale, and broccoli), legumes (kidney beans, chick peas, lentils), whole grains, nuts, (walnuts, almonds), peanut butter, and raisins.
- Check your folic acid and B12 levels to rule out any deficiencies.
Take control of your health! Special blood tests for anemia include : Complete Blood Count (CBC), Iron/TIBC, Ferritin, Vitamin B12/Folate.