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Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. It is related to various factors such as blood loss, the destruction of red blood cells, or the inability of the body to produce enough red blood cells. Although, it is true that there are many types of anemia; the most common is due to iron deficiency and for obvious reasons adequate nutrition is a fundamental part of the treatment. Therefore, a diet rich in iron, in addition to B vitamins and vitamin C, is essential in a dietary regimen to treat anemia. The consumption of foods that enhance the absorption of iron is also recommended. Although most anemia treatment plans are personalized, most people with anemia require 150 to 200 mg of elemental iron per day. Adding these 5 foods is a primary part of the strategy.
Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is full of iron. Without enough iron, the body cannot make the hemoglobin it needs to create enough red blood cells to carry oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.. Lack of folic acid and vitamin B-12 can also affect your body’s ability to make red blood cells. Dietary guidelines for treating anemia include changes in diet. Therefore it is important to ensure the consumption of foods rich in iron and other essential vitamins that play a key role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. In addition, it is vital to include foods that help the body absorb iron better.
It is important to mention that there are two types of iron in food: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in meat, poultry, and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and iron-fortified foods. Although the body can absorb both types, it is well known that heme iron is more easily absorbed. The recommended daily allowance for iron is 10 milligrams (mg) for men and 12 mg for women.
1. Green leafy vegetables
Not surprisingly, spinach was Popeye’s star food, the reality is that the same thing happens with the family of green leafy vegetables with anemia. These vegetables are characterized by being especially dark, they are very low in calories, rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are among the best sources of non-heme iron and the most famous are: spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, lettuce, and cabbage. Some green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard are a great alternative as they also contain folic acid. The rule to consume them and really get all their benefits is to consume them in combination with vitamin C; This helps the stomach absorb iron better. Bet on integrating citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes and oranges, red peppers, kiwi, pineapple, mango, guava and strawberries into recipes.
2. Meat and poultry
It is well known that red meat is one of the best foods to integrate into the anemic and iron-deficient diet. In general, meat and poultry contain heme iron, which is the most beneficial. Red meat, lamb, and venison are known to be the best sources. Poultry and chicken have lower amounts. Therefore, consume a portion of a rich steak, accompanied by a spinach salad with citrus; It is the perfect menu to fight anemia.
3. Soy and derivatives
Soybeans and foods derived from soybeans are packed with iron. It is also a complete protein, which means that it contains the nine essential amino acids for the body. And that makes it a practically essential food for vegetarians and vegans. Soy contains around 8.8 mg of iron per cup, which is equivalent to 49% of the recommended daily intake, a serving of natto (a fermented soy product) offers 15 mg, or 83% of the recommended iron intake. Not bad! For its part, 6 ounces (168 grams) of tofu or tempeh each offer 3 to 3.6 mg of iron. Another of the great benefits of products derived from soybeans is that they provide between 10 and 19 grams of protein per serving and they are also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Seafood is another of the best sources of iron in the diet, best of all, they are delicious, versatile, light and rich in omega-3s. They shine for their heme iron content, as well as other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The consumption of oysters, clams, crabs, shrimp and fish is recommended. Among the variants highest in iron are: canned or fresh tuna, mackerel, Mahi mahi, pompano, fresh perch, fresh canned golden salmon. Canned sardines are good sources of iron and are also high in calcium, it is well known that calcium can bind iron and reduce its absorption. Foods rich in calcium should not be eaten at the same time as foods rich in iron. In addition, fatty fish are known for their cardioprotective properties.
5. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are two important iron-rich plant products that help increase your total daily iron intake. It is no news to say that seeds are a staple food group in the vegetarian diet and one of the main reasons is their high iron content. The variants that attract the most attention are pumpkin, sesame, hemp and flax seeds, they contain around 1.2 to 4.2 mg of iron per two tablespoons. The seeds also contain good amounts of plant protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. Another great fact about their composition is that they are a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For their part, almonds, cashews, pine nuts and macadamia nuts contain between 1 and 1.6 mg of iron per ounce. They are an extraordinary source of energy, benefit weight loss, physical and mental performance, and are the perfect snack.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.