Anaemia is a condition wherein either the level of red blood cells or the level of haemoglobin tends to be far lower than normal thus depriving the body of adequate oxygen supply. It can occur due to a variety of reasons including certain conditions, medications and diseases. Although Anaemia is not particularly classified as a disease, it can leave you with symptoms ranging from tiredness, irritability, faintness and shortness of breath.
Iron deficiency is known to be the most common cause of anaemia. There are various other factors such as deficiency of certain vitamins like folic acid and vitamin B12 which can also result in anaemia. However, predominantly, anaemia is caused owing to blood loss, the destruction of red blood cells, or even due to your body’s inability to create enough red blood cells.
Furthermore, processed foods such as sugar, white bread, and desserts can deplete the body of iron unless you make a conscious effort to incorporate iron-rich foods in your diet. It is recommended to take iron in its natural form, as consuming or ingesting inorganic iron can have far-reaching effects and lead to consequential damage to your body including liver damage, miscarriage and premature birth.
Causes of Anaemia
Anaemia can result from any of the following factors:
- Heredity conditions including as thalassemia or sickle cell disease.
- Heavy bleeding in women due to intense menstrual periods.
- Chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis which disable red blood cell production.
- Infections such as malaria and septicaemia, which can disrupt the lifespan of red blood cells.
- Blood loss following a surgical procedure.
- Lack of consumption of iron-rich food sources.
As the iron deficiency tends to worsen, a variety of symptoms can arise including:
- Feeling fatigued
- Difficulties in concentration
- Weakness and Loss of appetite
- Cold hands and feet
- Strange cravings for ice or dirt called pica
- Pale, lifeless skin
- Dizziness, Shortness of breath and recurring headaches
- Brittle nails
- Tingling or a crawling feeling in the legs
- Faster heartbeat along with palpitations
If the anaemia is caused by dietary deficiencies, going on a proper diet can remedy the situation. An individual might be prone to relapses every now and then, so subtle changes to diet along with regular supplements can help resolve the issue. However, if the cause of the anaemia may be permanent, it may mandate the need for lifelong treatment. Nevertheless, it is imperative that individual visits a doctor regularly to monitor blood and to further ensure that the red blood cell and haemoglobin levels are sufficient.
A diet for anaemia can help in making up for this iron deficiency and should primarily be alkaline in nature. Besides being rich in iron, care must be taken to ensure the diet is also a balanced and a nutritious one. The diet should stress more on the intake of raw fruits and vegetables which are iron-rich helping supply the body, with essential vitamins and minerals as well. Furthermore, intake of fresh fruits and vegetables also helps ensure a supply of ample dietary fibre which is also of paramount importance in order to maintain good health.
Other vitamins and minerals which aid in the optimum absorption of iron and also prove useful in treating anaemia include folic acid, copper, and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can be obtained in a diet rich in animal proteins and in meats such as liver and kidney.
Diet Chart for Anaemic Patient
An individual adopting a diet to cure Anaemia should take heed that the first five days of the diet are crucial and should be devoted exclusively to the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetable. Additionally, during this period, an individual should make sure that all three primary meals should include a regular intake of fresh fruits taken at five-hourly intervals.
Thereafter, a diet of fresh fruits along with milk should be followed over a period of fifteen days. The only subtle difference to the diet during this period is the addition of milk to each meal comprising of fruit. One should start with two pints of milk every day and gradually increase the intake to four or five pints every day in ½ pint increments. Once this regime is followed, a well-balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts can be followed for best results. Other important factors that should also be taken into consideration include:
- Getting adequate rest and sleep
- Drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day
- Exercise or light yoga asanas which can help in regaining fitness
Fruits That Should Form Part of an Anaemia Diet
Foods that an individual should include in an anaemia diet should comprise of fresh fruits, & vegetables, seeds, herbs, nuts and meat which are rich in iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C. These include:
- Dark grapes
- Green onions
- Whole wheat
- Wheat germ
- Dairy products
- Brown rice
- Sunflower seeds