Anemia occurs when your blood lacks healthy red blood cells. This may be caused by a loss of blood, decreased production of red blood cells, or the destruction of red blood cells. Anemia usually results from an iron deficiency, though there are many types. If you are anemic, you may want to consider adopting an anemia diet as there are a variety of foods you can eat to help out your situation.
In this guide, we’ll look at what foods are good for anemia and those you should avoid, as well as fruits that are high iron. Anemia can cause you to be tired, weak, pale, and suffer from a rapid heartbeat. Approximately 3.5 million Americans are anemic, and the condition is not a lot of fun. Keep reading to discover how you can improve your quality of life.
Foods to Eat If you Have Anemia
With any newly diagnosed medical condition, it’s common to begin looking at the best ways to improve your situation. Diet usually comes up as one of those factors that can be altered fairly easily in order to help your condition. In the case of anemia, there’s a wide list of iron-rich foods you should think about adding to your diet.
1. Red meat
This is one of the few times you will ever see a diet suggest more red meat. Red meat tends to contain more iron, which is exactly what you want as an anemic. In terms of red meats, you get the most bang for your buck with liver.
Incredibly high in iron, soybeans are also very versatile as they can be added to many dishes, or just eaten on their own. They are also low in fat and high in protein.
A leafy green that contains a healthy amount of calcium, vitamins A, E, and C, spinach also has a great supply of iron. One cup of boiled spinach can cover approximately 20% of your body’s daily iron needs.
That vegetable you may have once pawned off to the dog is filled with a good amount of iron.
5. Whole grain bread
Whole grain bread tends to have a fair amount of iron, but make sure you buy the kind that is low phytic acids, as they can prevent the iron from being absorbed.
6. Peanut butter
A terrific source of iron on its own, peanut butter can also easily be combined with other foods on this list like whole grain bread to help fill up more of your day’s daily iron requirements.
Eggs not only contain a decent amount of iron, but they are also filled with antioxidants and vitamins that are helpful to your body.
Nuts are a terrific add-on to the diet anemic because they are a good source of iron and a very portable snack. It’s very easy to nibble nuts on the go and get that iron boost throughout the day.
For every 100 grams of honey, you get approximately 0.42 mg of iron. Now where honey can be especially useful is as a natural sweetener. This means you can add a dose of iron to things like your morning tea.
But for all of the foods that you should be eating for your anemia diet, there are more than a few foods that you may want to avoid.
Foods to Avoid if You Have Anemia
As you can see by the above list of iron-rich foods, there are many food options that can help you with your anemia. Unfortunately, there are also a number of foods that qualify as “anemia foods to avoid.”
1. Phytate-Rich Foods
Foods that are rich in phytic acids should be avoided as phytates can reduce iron absorption into the bloodstream. Legumes and certain whole grains are good examples.
Much like phytate-rich foods, foods that contain tannins can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron. Foods that contain tannin include coffee, green tea, black tea, grapes, and wine.
Some sufferers of anemia may also have issues with gluten. If you have a gluten intolerance of any sort, gluten can cause problems but with your digestive system and also prevent the intestines from absorbing iron and folic acid properly. Pasta, barley, wheat, grains, and oats should be avoided if this is the case.
4. Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium can also interrupt the absorption of iron by the body. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese should be avoided for this reason.
The consumption of alcohol should be curbed, if not outright stopped, as it interferes with the absorption of folate for those with folate-deficiency anemia.
For the most part, these foods can be easily avoided by watching your diet. But if you need a little more in the way of healthy food options, don’t worry. There are plenty of fruits to add to your anemia diet plan.
Fruits High in Iron
When it comes to fruits for anemia, your best bet is to look for fruits that are high in iron. Luckily, you don’t have to look far as there are many fruits that fit the bill for a healthy anemia diet.
Watermelon is high in iron, but it’s also high in vitamin C. The vitamin C is a great bonus as it can help the body absorb the iron better.
Prunes contain a good amount of iron; in fact, one cup of prunes can contain 4.5 mg of iron. Prune juice is also a good option as 8 ounces of prune juice contains much more iron than the equivalent amount of beef.
Despite the fact that grapes should be avoided, their dried brother, the raisin, is good for an anemic diet. One cup of seedless raisins gives you about 3 mg of iron.
A cup of currants will net you 2 mg of iron, but if you dry those currants out, that number goes up to 5 mg, according to Livestrong.
You may have noticed something interesting with this list. Most of the fruits are dried or appear to have more iron per cup when dried. That’s a little bit of a trick as when dried, more pieces of the fruit can fit into the cup. That being said, many of these dried fruits can be added to others for a bit of an iron boost. Baked goods like muffins or breakfast items like cereal or oatmeal can easily have dried fruit added to them. Many of these dried fruits also make a great healthy snack that also happens to be very portable.
Try an Anemia Diet for Relief
Anemia can be rough on both the physical being and the psyche. It can leave you weak, tired, and generally looking poorly, especially if you aren’t trying to take care of it. If you spend time working on your anemia diet— being mindful to include plenty of foods that contain iron or ease iron absorption—anemia can be managed, and you can go back to almost being normal.
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