Anemia is a condition in which the quantity of one’s healthy red blood cell is less than normal. Red blood cells have hemoglobin, an iron-based protein, that carries oxygen to various tissues of the body.
Various types of anemia include;
- Anemia due to iron deficiency
- Anemia due to B12 deficiency
- Sickle cell anemia
- Anemia of chronic disease
- Hemolytic anemia
- Idiopathic aplastic anemia
- Anemia due to folate deficiency
- Megaloblastic anemia
- Pernicious anemia
When a person is anemic, it’s difficult for the body to properly supply oxygen to various organs and tissues.
Numerous parts of the body help in the production of red blood cells. However, most of the work is done in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft tissue found in the center of bones and it aids in the production of all blood cells. Most red blood cells have a life cycle of 90 to 120 days.
Certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12, are crucial for the formation of red blood cells. However, for some reasons, such as poor diet, surgery, poor assimilation of nutrients by the intestinal linings, could make these nutrients unavailable for the body leading to red blood cell insufficiency, thus, anemia.
Other causes of anemia include; abnormal or early destruction of red blood cells, pregnancy, chronic diseases, a slow loss of blood (especially during heavy menstrual periods), a sudden heavy loss of blood, issues with the bone marrow such as leukemia or lymphoma), and hereditary (such as in sickle cell anemia or thalassemia).
Symptoms of anemia include; fatigue or feeling tired often, cold hands and feet, hair loss, problems with thinking or concentrating, headaches. In severe cases, symptoms could include; brittle nails, white part of eye changes blue, skin color becomes pale, urge to eat ice or other non-food items (pica syndrome), sore tongue, and giddiness especially when standing up.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with anemia;
- Eat foods that are rich in iron, folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin B12.
- Strive to take cold baths twice a day inorder to improve circulation of blood.
- You could cook your foods in iron pots to get increased iron content in your foods.
- Try to expose your body to early morning sunlight for a couple of minutes a day.
- You could have a bath soak with Epsom salt a couple of times in a week.
- Include exercise, especially strength training, in your weekly schedule to help overcome body weakness.
- Avoid taking tea at the same time you take iron-rich foods or supplements as tea inhibits the proper absorption of iron.
- Avoid eating calcium-rich foods such as yogurt or milk at the same time you are taking iron supplements as calcium inhibits the proper absorption of iron.
- Do not worry if iron darkens your stools. However, consult your doctor if you notice an increased sense of constipation.
- Ensure you drink an adequate amount of water and get plenty of rest.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for anemia;
1. Drumsticks (Moringa Oleifera)
This herb is commonly used in south Indian cuisines. It’s rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin A, and essential amino acids which all help to curb iron deficiencies. The leaves will not only satiate your taste buds but also prevent anemia in pregnant women. You can either extract the juice or cook it or simply take its supplements. Ensure you consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.
Bananas contain high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and iron which aids in the production of hemoglobin in the blood. To stimulate hemoglobin synthesis, you should eat one ripe banana every day. You can also mash a banana and mix with Indian gooseberry (Amla). Consume the juice up to 3 times a day.
3. Increase Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that aids in the absorption of heme-iron. Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells. To ensure your body gets enough vitamin C, you should consume dark-green leafy vegetables, collard greens, kales, spinach, citrus fruits, and mustard greens. When you take these foods, you create an acidic environment in your stomach which facilitates the absorption of iron. You can also get the benefits of this essential nutrient by taking vitamin C supplements. The rule of thumb is to include 25mg of vitamin C in your foods if you’re consuming iron from plant-based foods.
4. Animal Protein (Red Meat)
Red meat contains heme iron which is absorbed faster in the body than other forms of iron. In this regard, one serving of animal liver includes more than 60% of your daily iron requirement. Since iron aids in the production of hemoglobin, you should incorporate red meat in your daily diet. While dark leafy greens contain significant amounts of iron, they are hard to digest compared to animal protein.
Beetroot is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, fiber, iron, copper, niacin, and vitamin C. The iron component helps in the formation of hemoglobin which carries oxygen to different parts of the body. Furthermore, beetroot helps to cleanse the body. To increase more iron in your body, blend one beetroot and a medium-sized potato and drink the juice three times a day. You can also include beetroot in your salads and vegetables.
Pomegranate is commonly referred to as a super fruit because it contains high amounts of protein, fats, sugars, vitamin C, and carbohydrates. Furthermore, pomegranate supplies iron to the blood thus reducing the symptoms associated with anemia like dizziness, exhaustion, and general body weakness. To prepare pomegranate juice, mix one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a half cup of pomegranate juice with two teaspoons of honey. Alternatively, you can eat pomegranate fruit every morning on an empty stomach.
7. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses contains folic acid, B vitamins, and manganese. It’s also an excellent source of iron which helps to increase the production of red blood cells. Moreover, preliminary studies have confirmed that one spoonful of blackstrap molasses supplies your body with up to 15% of your daily iron requirement. To prepare the concoction, add half a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a cup of water/milk and drink 1-2 times daily.
To increase your iron intake, you can substitute white sugar with molasses. Likewise, you can mix apple cider vinegar and blackstrap molasses in a cup of water and drink once every day. This drink is quite beneficial to pregnant and lactating mothers.
8. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are rich in minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and electrolytes. They are also packed with iron which aids in the formation of red blood cells. In fact, a quarter cup of the seeds will give about 30% of your daily iron needs.
To prepare sesame seed remedy, soak one spoonful of sesame seed for 2-3 hours, grind them and then add some honey. Take the mixture 2-3 times a day. Another method is to soak the seeds in warm water for 30-45 minutes, grind them and then add a cup of warm milk. Drink the mixture 1-2 times a day. If you don’t like the taste, add some jaggery or honey.
9. Raw Dark Honey
Honey contains manganese, iron, and copper which play an important role in hemoglobin synthesis. Furthermore, honey works as an energy booster. To make a honey concoction, mix one tablespoon, each, of honey, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. You can use it to substitute your peanut butter, or even add it to your smoothies. Only use raw, unprocessed honey.
10. Dandelion Root
Dandelion is widely known as the miracle plant thanks to its medicinal value. It’s a good source of iron and vitamin B which are essential for the formation of red blood cells. Ideally, this herb aids in the production of hydrochloric acid which promotes better absorption of vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron. To prepare this dandelion remedy, simmer dandelion root for 30-45 minutes and drink the solution 1-2 times a day.
11. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Since ancient times, Indians have been using Amla to cure anemia. This fruit possesses high amounts of vitamin C which stimulates the production of blood in the bone marrow and boosts the body’s overall immunity. It’s also a credible source of iron which forms part of hemoglobin. To treat anemia, mix 60ml of Amla juice with honey and drink once a day. Amla is also very beneficial to the circulatory system.
Spinach contains large amounts of vitamin B12, folic acid, fiber, and iron which helps the body to recover from anemia. Besides that, these nutrients are beneficial in increasing blood flow and maintaining a healthy immune system. Furthermore, a cup of boiled spinach accounts for 20% of the daily iron requirement. Just boil half a cup of spinach in water and then add a few garlic cloves to make some spinach tea. Add 2-3 tablespoons of honey and drink up to 3 times a day.
Tomatoes are packed with vitamin E and beta-carotene which aids in the absorption of iron. These minerals also work as a natural conditioner for hair and skin. To combat anemia, you should include raw tomatoes in your diet. You can also add tomatoes to your salads and smoothies.
14. Avoid Taking Antacids
If you’re taking iron supplements, you should avoid taking antacids immediately since they can interfere with iron absorption. If you have to take the antacids, only do so after 2 hours.
15. Cold Bath
Taking a cold bath twice a day will keep anemia at bay. Cold showers increase blood circulation, thus, increasing the supply rate of red blood cells to various tissues. When cold baths are done for a few days, your blood flow would be heightened and more stable.
When you massage the skin, fascia, ligaments, and tendons, you soothe the muscles and increase blood circulation. That’s why when someone faints, people tend to massage the hands and legs to supply oxygen to the different parts of the body. A body massage is also beneficial to patients with anemia to increase their count of red blood cells (RBCs). Furthermore, massage reduces inflammation and alleviates pain. Massage is also very effective for alleviating pain in sickle cell anemia.
Apple is one of the few fruits that helps your body in the absorption of non-heme iron. Apples contain high amounts of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Since most women suffer from iron deficiency, they are advised to take at least 1-2 apples a day. Alternatively, you can mix fresh apple juice with honey and some beetroot juice. Green apples give the best results, especially when consumed with their skin.
18. Dried Blackcurrants
Dried black currants have low-fat and contain large amounts of protein. Besides that, they are rich in dietary fiber, manganese, copper, and potassium which play an important role in the treatment of anemia. There is also scientific evidence that the blackcurrant contains a large amount of vitamin C which aids in the absorption of iron. Just soak a handful of black currants in water overnight, remove them in the morning and eat before breakfast. You could also consume the seeds once a day for a few weeks.
19. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds contain powerful ingredients that aid in the production of red blood cells. One tablespoon of fenugreek seeds contains 3.7mg of iron which is beneficial to the body. When consumed on a regular basis, fenugreek seeds can help to restore your iron reserves if you suffer from anemia. For this remedy, mix two teaspoonfuls of fenugreek seeds with one cup of rice and eat 2-3 times a day. You can also add fenugreek leaves in your soups and salads.
20. Avoid Cigarette Smoking
When you smoke, numerous toxic chemicals assimilate into the bloodstream and are transported to the other parts of the body. Also, too much smoking may inhibit the absorption of iron into the body which can lead to anemia. If you are a regular smoker, your production of hemoglobin is likely to be compromised. To prevent anemia, you should stop smoking tobacco.
21. Take More B-Vitamins
Lack of vitamin B-12 and B-9 (folic acid) can cause anemia. Ideally, these vitamins help the body to produce enough red blood cells. Examples of foods rich in vitamin B-9 include dark leafy vegetables, oranges, avocados, and legumes. You can also correct deficiency of B-vitamins with the help of supplements. Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
22. Date Fruits
Apart from their delicious taste, dates are rich in fiber, natural sugars, and vitamins which aid in the production of red blood cells. Since anemia will leave you feeling exhausted, the dates will give some energy boost. Dates also contain selenium and manganese which promotes proper blood flow. To prevent anemia, eat a few dates in the morning. You may also consider taking them as an afternoon snack.
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