What is Anaemia?
Our blood is made up of different components, one of which is red blood cells. They carry oxygen to the tissues. Red blood cells are made up of, among other things, iron, proteins and vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B12. Of these raw materials of red blood cells, iron and proteins are extensively needed for making haemoglobin (which also gives the red color to our blood). Once made, the red blood cells die in about 120 days or 4 months. About 100 million new blood cells are formed every day in our bone marrows. An average person should have a blood count of about 5 million red blood cells per millimeter. Haemoglobin should be present in the blood in sufficient amounts (average is 15 gm to 100 cc of blood). When there is a drop in the haemoglobin in blood, it results into anaemia.
Symptoms of Anaemia
Symptoms of anaemia are very common conditions, and therefore, overlooked sometimes leading to chronic anemic state due to lack of proper treatment and diet.
- Weakness and lack of energy
- Premature wrinkles
- Pale skin
- Dull and tired eyes
- Poor memory
- Shortness of breath even while doing light work.
- Delayed healing of wounds
- Mental stress and depression
Causes of Anaemia
- Heavy loss of blood which can be due to any reason- injury, bleeding piles, or excessive bleeding during menstruation in women
- Digestive complications leading to indigestion of iron and proteins. Lack of digestive acid (hydrochloric acid) which is required for digestion of iron and proteins.
- Emotional or mental strain or anxiety. This can hamper proper formation of blood components.
- Intestinal worms or parasites like hookworms, pinworms, roundworms and tapeworms that feed on blood.
- Genetic blood diseases such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia etc.
- Failure of body to absorb vitamin B12 from foods which is known as pernicious anaemia.
Diet for Anaemia
Here is a comprehensive list of food items that are particularly beneficial in treating anaemia.
- Vegetables rich in iron- spinach, beets, green spring onions, carrots, squash, radishes, celery, tomatoes, yams, potatoes.
- Fruits rich in iron- bananas, apples, dark grapes, plums, raisins, apricots, strawberries.
- Iron rich foods- whole-wheat, brown rice, beans, sunflower seeds, honey, crude blackstrap molasses.
- High protein foods- milk, cottage cheese (preferably home made), eggs, soyabeans.
- Foods rich in Vitamin B 12- Organic meats like kidney andliver, dairy products, milk, eggs, cheese, and peanuts. Wheat germ and soyabean also have some B12 in them.
Bananas and Beets for Anemia Treatment
Why banana and beats are specially mentioned as a good remedy for anemia? Because they are extremely important for curing anaemia due to their contents. Bananas have easily assimilable nutrients namely iron, folic acid and B12.
Foods to be Avoided by Aneamia Patients
There are certain foods that should be avoided by a person suffering from anemia. These include
- White flour
- Refined and processed foods
- Tea and coffee
- Soft drinks
- Fried foods
- Condiments and pickles
Apart from paying attention to diet, one should also adopt some other remedies to cure anaemia completely
- Drink enough water during the day. At least 8-10 glasses of water should be had by people having anemia.
- Exercising is also essential. It can be simple exercise like brisk walk, breathing exercises and yoga asanas like Trikonasana, Sarvangasana, Surya Namaskara, Yoga-mudra, Shavasana
- Adequate sleep and rest