The protein hemoglobin in red blood cells transmits oxygen throughout the body. The drooping hemoglobin count can be a cause of concern and is expressed through mental fogginess, fatigue and enhanced vulnerability to infections. Food rich in iron, folate, Vitamins B6 and B12 will boost the hemoglobin count.
The Hemoglobin level in the blood should be safely maintained at around 12.5 g/dl. Hemoglobin levels commonly encounter a drop when you subsist on low iron diet, frequently donate blood or blood loss owing to the menstrual cycle. Diabetes, arthritis, abdomen ulcers, kidney infections, medications, colon cancer and other ailments affecting the digestive tract can also bring down the hemoglobin level.
Some of the foods that positively impact the hemoglobin count and restore the body to its original vigor are:-
- Heme iron i.e. iron derived from animal sources are most suited for efficient body absorption. The richest source is liver. 11 mg of iron is supplied by three ounces of pan fried chicken, whereas beef or goat liver of same quantity will provide 5.2 mg iron. Chicken and turkey meat comes next.
- Vegetarians must take to iron fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, tofu, raisins, legumes and blackstrap molasses to supplement the body with non-heme iron. Iron from plant sources is not effectively absorbed by the body.
- The absorption rate can be enhanced by eating food rich in Vitamin C like oranges, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes.
- Whole wheat, brown rice, green leafy vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, fenugreek, broccoli, spinach; cherries, beet, figs, dates, and tomatoes also provide an abundant amount of iron.
- Iron can also be sourced from dates, apricots, soy, figs, cashew nuts and sesame seeds.
- Severe iron deficiency needs to be addressed through consumption of iron supplements like Ferrous sulfate. A glass of orange juice will hasten the release and absorption of iron from supplements. The dependence on supplements should be reduced gradually to improving hemoglobin levels.
- Vitamin B6 can be obtained from foods such as fish, beef, fortified cereals, liver, non-citrus fruits, whole cereals, vegetables and potatoes.
- Folate deficiency can be addressed by consuming lots of green leafy vegetables, rice, peanuts, fortified cereals, liver, wheat germ, and broccoli. Shun alcohol consumption as this leads to depletion of folic acid in blood.
- Vitamin B12 can be richly sourced from foods like milk, eggs, shellfish, chicken, liver and meats.
- Proteins should be taken through animal products like egg, organ meat, and egg prominently. Alternately, soy and milk are also good sources.
- Beetroot accelerates hemoglobin production rate, regenerates red blood cells, and fights the sign of anemia. Beetroot juice and apple juice are excellent.
- Wheat flakes, wheat germs, oat bran, malt bread, and whole grain bread should be liberally used in food.
- Potato peels converted into snacks through frying or toasting can boost hemoglobin count.
- Ripe bananas along with honey taken twice a day will raise hemoglobin count
- Pregnant ladies should be given one serving of red meat daily to rapidly raise the count. The Liver should be avoided as it contains very high amounts of Vitamin A which may trigger birth defects.
- Amaranth greens and dandelion roots are the best herbal sources of iron
The consumption of certain foods will run counter to your body’s capability to efficiently absorb nutrients. Foods which commonly impede the iron and folic acid absorption are
- Tea (with or without caffeine), coffee, dairy products, dietary fiber rich food, beer, wine, cigarettes, colas and calcium supplements
It is desirable that most of the aforementioned food be consumed raw as cooking leads to destruction of iron content by as much as half. Cast iron pots should be used for cooking as the food gets fortified with 50-80% more iron during cooking.