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From green vegetables to seafood, an overview of iron-rich foods to fight anemia

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Anemia is a medical condition in which a person is unable to produce healthy red blood cells which, in turn, hinders the process of transporting adequate oxygen to the tissues of the body. According to the Indian National Family Health Survey, 68.4% of children and 66.4% of women surveyed suffered from anemia in 2019.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein rich in iron. Patients with anemia cannot make the hemoglobin that their body needs to make enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Anemia can be caused by a deficiency of folate and vitamin B-12 which affects the body’s ability to make red blood cells.

Therefore, for people with anemia, a diet rich in iron, B vitamins and vitamin C is recommended. Consultation with a specialist doctor is also recommended for any additional medication that may be essential for the patient.

Green vegetables

To overcome the lack of iron in the body, patients with anemia are recommended to consume green vegetables, especially those with a dark green tint which are the best sources of rich non-heme iron.

However, it is also suggested not to depend on green leafy vegetables alone, as some vegetables such as spinach and kale are also high in oxalates. Oxalates can bind to iron, preventing absorption of non-heme iron into the blood.

Foods rich in folate

Citrus fruits like oranges, beans, and whole grains are high in folate. Consuming fruits rich in vitamin C along with green vegetables such as kale, bitter gourd will aid the absorption of iron.

Beans and legumes like kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, black beans are a good alternative for vegetarians who want to increase their iron intake.

Seafood

For those who live along coastal areas, consuming fresh seafood will be one of the healthiest ways to incorporate heme iron into your diet. Include a variety of fish, oysters, clams, scallops, crabs, and shrimp in your diet to increase the level of heme iron in your diet.

Nuts and cereals

For a healthy breakfast, people with anemia can consume dried fruits and nuts like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios with a bowl of cereal.

Meat and liver

For non-vegetarians, red meat is considered the best source of iron. The organs of the liver are known to be rich in sources of iron and folate. Other organs in animals that can overcome your iron and folate deficiency are the heart and kidneys.

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