Do you know the best foods recommended for anemia? Anemia is a condition where a small amount of red blood cells appears to transport oxygen to body tissues. As a result, symptoms such as prolonged fatigue, dizziness, cognitive difficulties, among others, are triggered.
In the presence of these, it is most convenient to consult the doctor to receive a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In addition, it is convenient to improve the diet, increasing the intake of specific foods that support the recovery process. Let’s discuss the foods for anemia.
Foods suitable for Anemia
The treatment of anemia is varied and may include the administration of medications. However, as a compliment, dietary changes are advised to favor their control. In general, foods rich in iron and vitamins are beneficial, since they regulate the production of hemoglobin and eye cells.
Despite this, it is convenient to design the diet by the hand of a nutritionist, since nutritional needs may vary in each person. Considering the latter, we invite you to discover the best foods for anemia.
Foods rich in Vitamin C
As research published in Food and Function highlights, vitamin C helps increase iron absorption in iron deficiency anemia. This same publication suggests that it may have a double action, as it may also have a protective effect against liver damage during iron supplementation therapy.
Foods rich in vitamin C include varieties of fruits and vegetables such as:
Foods rich in Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause of megaloblastic anemia. According to the information published in the American Family Physician medical journal, oral administration of high doses of vitamin B12 (between 1 and 2 mg daily) is effective in combating anemia and neurological symptoms.
This same research also suggests that patients over 50 and vegans and vegetarians should consume foods fortified with vitamin B12 or take vitamin B12 supplements to ensure absorption. Some foods with vitamin B12 are:
- Animal viscera
- Bluefish, such as tuna or sardines
Vitamin B12 is found, to a lesser extent, in other foods such as:
- Fortified Cereals
Foods rich in Iron
Iron deficiency is one of the most frequent causes of anemia worldwide. The daily amount of iron varies depending on age, sex and health status. However, in general, its low levels are the result of low absorption, a diet poor in this mineral or factors such as blood loss and pregnancy.
Considering the above, the inevitable foods in a diet for anemia are those that contribute to this mineral. In fact, as this a study published in Nutrition Reviews points out, obtaining iron through fortified foods can be a good strategy for the sustained reduction of the risk of deficiency, as it provides more balance between risks and benefits. Foods that provide iron include:
Spinach leaves are well known for having a high content of: iron, calcium, vitamins A, B9, C and E, beta-carotene, and also, fiber. All these nutrients, together, make spinach one of the best allies to fight anemia.
They have about 4.1 mg of iron per 100 g. It is recommended to consume a portion of 200 grams of spinach per day, to obtain approximately 20% of iron nutrients. Likewise, other green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and watercress are also recommended.
2. Proteins of animal origin
Foods of animal origin represent a great source of iron because they also contain “heme” iron that is absorbed by up to 30% more than foods of plant origin. Therefore, when it comes to combating anemia, it is recommended to increase the regular consumption of red meat, liver, pate, shellfish, bluefish, among other related ones.
3. Beef liver
Often, the treatment of patients with anemia includes a diet with dishes prepared with beef liver. This type of meat is a huge source of easily absorbed iron. Therefore it is one of the best nutritional supplements to control this condition. Eat beef liver at least 2 times a week.
Oatmeal, along with barley, rice and wheat is a cereal rich in iron. In the supermarket, you can find ‘fortified’ oatmeal that has an extra content of B vitamins that is very beneficial in case of anemia.
It is recommended to drink a cup of oatmeal a day to increase iron levels in the body. And, this is a very powerful cereal since with just two tablespoons of oatmeal a day you can get up to 4.5 milligrams of iron.
Peanut is a dried fruit that can also help fight anemia. Ideally, the patient tries to eat a handful of peanuts a day. And although the butter prepared from this dried fruit should not be taken as the first option, it can also be used; although it should be clarified that the benefits will not be equal to those provided by the consumption of food, natural.
Actually, the peanut is more a legume than a dried fruit. It provides about 2.1 mg of iron per 100 g. Also, among other things, it provides a lot of fiber and B vitamins.
Just as the consumption of meat and the foods mentioned above to treat anemia should be increased, egg intake should also be increased, since this is a food rich in minerals such as iron and folic acid, antioxidants,amino acids and vitamins of group B and also A, D, E.
A single egg can provide a generous supply of nutrients to the diet with a small amount of calories. Therefore, regular consumption is recommended for patients with anemia.
7. Whole grain bread
According to research, a slice of whole-grain bread can meet up to 6% of the body’s daily iron needs. Other whole-grain products such as pasta, cereals, and rice are also recommended.
All foods rich in vitamin C, such as pomegranate, help improve iron absorption. Therefore, it is recommended to consume this type of food regularly when fighting anemia.
Pomegranate is a fruit that has a high content of antioxidants, vitamin C, as well as minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, essential nutrients for the treatment of anemia. Patients are advised to drink a glass of tomato juice every day, instead of coffee, tea and other beverages that may affect the assimilation of iron.
Legumes are one of the greatest natural sources of iron, so they are key in the diet aimed at preventing or treating anemia. Beans, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, among others, provide up to 5 milligrams of iron per cup.
The lentils are enriched with protein and are low in fat, so they are highly recommended to treat anemia. It should be clarified that they must be prepared correctly in order to take advantage of all their benefits.
We recommend eating the foods mentioned above together with a glass of orange juice or lemonade because the citrus aid the assimilation of iron in the body. Just as it is important to consume these foods and take care of hydration, it is also key to limit the consumption of salt, added sugars, refined grains and solid fats.
Every meal plan must be prescribed and controlled by a doctor or a nutritionist. Although it is well known that the foods mentioned are good to fight anemia, you have to take care of the way they are cooked, the amounts and other factors, in order to take advantage of the benefits provided by their nutrients.