Feeling sluggish and struggling to breathe? Anemia may be the culprit. Each year, approximately 2.8 million people are diagnosed with anemia, a condition that occurs when the body doesn’t produce or maintain enough red blood cells.
Left untreated, anemia may result in pregnancy complications, heart issues or even death. That’s why it’s important to treat the symptoms of anemia right away, even if your symptoms are mild, as sufferers may eventually experience serious issues such as heart disease, pregnancy complications or even death. Including more citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, protein and fortified foods in the diet can help naturally treat anemia. Those diagnosed with anemia may want to try these easy-to-incorporate dietary suggestions, see the details, below.
Eat More Citrus Fruits
Some types of anemia are linked with a vitamin C deficiency, which may make people feel even worse. The body needs vitamin C to boost its immune system and fend off common ailments. We can increase our vitamin C intake by adding citrus fruits to our diets. Try adding lemons to rice and salmon, putting oranges in yogurt or squeezing limes over tacos.
Grapefruit is a good choice for vitamin C, but be careful: it may interact with some prescription medications. Psych meds, blood pressure drugs and cholesterol medications are a few examples of prescriptions that don’t always pair well with grapefruit. But regardless, get that vitamin C up to boost iron absorption and make sure levels are optimal.
Leafy greens are often packed with iron. Sip a kale smoothie, or add some lean chicken breast or turkey to a spinach salad.
Don’t rely on veggies to alleviate all of the symptoms of anemia, though. Some leafy greens also have high oxalate levels, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb nonheme iron properly.
We can help improve iron absorption by eating foods with vitamin C like the ones listed above, plus red peppers and strawberries. Broccoli is a good source of iron and also packs a powerful punch of vitamin C, making it a great option.
Rev-Up Protein Intake
Many protein-rich foods, such as meats, nuts and beans, are also high in iron. While it’s true that red meat often gets a bad rap, enjoying it in moderation can increase iron intake. Seafood, liver, chicken and turkey are other options. If possible, prepare these meats or their sides in a cast-iron skillet, which helps naturally infuse foods with iron.
Vegetarians and vegans may prefer to get their iron from beans and nuts. Check out the levels in chickpeas.
Add Fortified Foods and Grains
Fortified foods contain extra nutrients, such as iron. Fortified breakfast cereals, breads and pasta can be an ideal option for those looking to meet the daily iron requirements.
Oats are one of the best sources of iron. Even unfortified oats contain 3.5 mg of iron per cup. Oatmeal with strawberries can be the perfect breakfast for someone suffering from anemia.
Eating a healthy diet may not cure anemia, but it can help to manage or minimize symptoms and can complement medical treatment. Of course, treatment is important and should definitely be sought for this condition. But in the meantime, it may help to start taking steps toward controlling the effects. Try these to start that journey.