Anemia is the most common blood disorder. Women are about twice as likely to be anemic as men. Especially if you are pregnant or premenopausal. But, there are foods high in iron for anemia and supplements that can help rid you of the issue.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an important part of red blood cells and binds oxygen and transports it to every cell and tissue in the body.
If you don't have enough red blood cells, or they are abnormal… Or you don't have enough hemoglobin, the cells in your body will not get adequate oxygen which can cause various symptoms.
Symptoms of Anemia
Anemia can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Similarly, it can also make other conditions worse. If your anemia is mild, then it may not cause noticeable symptoms.
Mild Symptoms Include:
- Decreased energy
- Shortness of breath
- Looking pale
- Change in stool color
- Muscle pain
- Skin yellowing
- Spleen enlargement
Severe Symptoms Include:
- Chest pain, angina, or heart attack
- Fainting or passing out
- Rapid heart rate
Causes of Anemia
Anemia occurs when your blood doesn't have enough red blood cells.
This may occur if:
- Your body doesn't make enough red blood cells
- Bleeding causes you to lose red blood cells at a greater rate than they can be made
- Your body harms red blood cells
There are different types of Anemia:
Iron deficiency anemia – This is the most common type of anemia. It's caused by a lack of iron in your body. Your bone marrow requires iron to make hemoglobin.
Vitamin deficiency anemia – Your body also needs folate and vitamin B-12 to create healthy red blood cells. In this form of anemia, either you're not getting enough of these vitamins, or your body can't use the vitamins properly.
Aplastic anemia – This is dangerous anemia that occurs when your body doesn't make enough red blood cells. Aplastic anemia can be caused by infections, medications, autoimmune diseases, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
There are other forms of anemia, but they are too numerous to go into in this short article.
The Effects of Anemia
Early symptoms of anemia are fatigue and reduced ability to work. However, anemia is also associated with an increased risk of mortality and cognitive impairment.
Maternal anemia is associated with 20% of maternal deaths. Anemic mothers are at greater risk of delivering premature and low-birth-weight babies.
Children younger than two years of age with severe anemia are at increased risk of mortality. Children with anemia are also at risk of suffering from cognitive deficits.
Treatments For Anemia
Anemia treatment varies, depending on its cause.
Iron deficiency anemia
Treatment for this form of anemia usually involves making changes to your diet as well as taking an iron supplement.
Vitamin deficiency anemia
Treatment for this form of anemia also involves dietary supplements and increasing the nutrients in your diet.
Treatment for this form of the illness may include blood transfusions to raise levels of red blood cells. You may require a bone marrow transplant if your bone marrow is diseased.
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Foods High In Iron
The iron in food comes from two sources, animals and plants.
Iron from animal sources is called heme iron.
Iron that comes from plants is called nonheme iron.
Heme iron is better absorbed by the body than nonheme iron.
Good Sources of Heme Iron
Clams & Mussels
Leg of lamb
*Best from organically raised sources
Good Sources of Non-Heme Iron
Dark leafy greens
Beets and beet greens
Beans (kidney, pinto best)
Black strap Molasses
Whole wheat bread
Sesame & Pumpkin seeds
Also, eat foods high in vitamin C to enhance iron absorption.
Avoid beer, sugar, dairy products, ice cream, coffee, tea and soft drinks because they interfere with iron absorption.
Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
Do not take calcium, vitamin E, zinc or antacids at the same time as iron supplements. These can interfere with iron absorption.
Vegetarians and Iron Intake
People give up eating meat and animal products for various reasons. If you eliminate meat, then you may get an iron deficiency. If you give up all animal products, then you may get anemia that is caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency.
No matter if you are a vegetarian or not, it may be difficult to get the nutrients you need from your diet alone. Foods high in iron for anemia are important to include in your diet, but they may not be enough for you by themselves, so it may be necessary to supplement.
If you find you need to supplement to get the nutrients you need… I've had great success and recommend MegaFood Blood Builder. Even if you don't have anemia, Megafood can help you with iron deficiencies or provide the boost necessary for you to feel good and healthy. It's easy to digest and doesn't cause constipation. I've linked to them below for your convenience.
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