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Anaemia mostly occurs due to lack of iron in the diet and heavy menstruation. Bleeding in the stomach and intestines can also cause iron deficiency anaemia. Pregnant women, people suffering from Crohn’s disease, women who experience heavy menstrual periods, and vegans are at a higher risk for developing iron deficiency anaemia.
People with iron deficiency anaemia need a significant boost of iron, and must consume foods such as meat and poultry, seafood, iron-rich vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans. It is also crucial to include foods that can improve the body’s absorption of iron.
Foods for Anaemia
Most anaemic patients are advised to take 150 to 200 milligrams of iron every day. You must eat the following foods on a daily basis:
Fruits and Vegetables
Foods advised to people that are at risk of anaemia include kale, pomegranate, red and yellow peppers, spinach, orange, strawberry, lemon, sweet potato and beet green. Dark leafy greens are a great source of non-heme iron. Vitamin C from citrus fruits can improve the absorption of iron.
Nuts and Seeds
A few healthy snacks to munch on include cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts. These are some of the most nutrient-dense foods. If a person consumes one ounce of pistachios, it will provide them 6.1% of daily required value of iron.
Meat and Fish
Lamb, liver, salmon, shrimp and chicken are also great sources of heme protein. You can have meat or fish with sides of broccoli, sauteed spinach, and tomatoes which make for a great iron-rich meal for people suffering from anaemia.
Rich in proteins, eggs also pack a high level of iron and can prevent anaemia. Eggs can be eaten with whole-grain toast, lightly roasted tomatoes, and quinoa for breakfast to stay active and healthy.
Beans and Pulses
Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, lentils are superfoods for anaemic patients. Half a cup of lentils has about 3.3 milligrams of iron, which is around 20% of what your body needs throughout the day. These are great food options for vegetarians and provide a good amount of iron.
Different types of food are fortified with iron, such as ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, white rice, bread, etc.
Foods to Avoid if You Are Anaemic
Some types of food interfere with the absorption of iron. In case you consume these, you may be doing no good to your body by eating iron-rich foods, and it might prove to be redundant if had with these foods:
- Raw milk
- Tea and coffee
Tips for getting more iron in the diet
Although adding foods rich in iron to your diet can help raise blood levels of iron, most people with iron deficiency need to take iron supplements as well. A doctor will be able to advise you on the best treatment for specific needs. However, here are a few tips to maximise iron intake:
- Refrain from drinking tea or coffee with meals.
- Avoid eating calcium-rich foods along with foods rich in iron.
- Eat iron-rich foods alongside those rich in vitamin C.
- Cook with a cast-iron skillet.
- Do not cook food for long periods.
If you have already made changes to your diet and your iron levels continue to be low, speak with a doctor or dietitian. People with iron deficiency anaemia can benefit from adding these above-mentioned foods to their diet to manage their health. As soon as you notice symptoms of anaemia like fatigue, pale or yellowish skin, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, dizziness or cold hands and feet, address your health condition, diagnose and seek medical treatment or consult a nutritionist.