A Natural Approach To Health
Eating For Anemia
We had a question the other day about anemia.
Millions of people suffer from anemia, which is a reduction in either the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.
This results in a decrease in the amount of oxygen available to the cells of your body.
As a result, they have less energy available to perform their normal functions.
Important processes, like muscular activity and cell building and repair, slow down and become less efficient.
When your brain lacks oxygen, you may get dizzy and your mental faculties are less sharp.
Anemia isn’t a disease, but rather a symptom of different diseases.
It’s sometimes the first detectable sign of arthritis, infection, or certain major illnesses, including cancer.
Drug use, hormonal disorders, chronic inflammation, surgery, infections, peptic ulcers, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, heavy menstrual bleeding, repeated pregnancies, liver damage, thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, bone marrow disease, and dietary deficiencies can all lead to anemia.
Anemia can also be caused by medications like chemotherapy.
Women who are postmenopausal shouldn’t be anemic.
If you’re eating a normal diet and aren’t a vegetarian, and you become anemic, consult your doctor.
Your body likes to keep its iron status, so anemia is a signal something isn’t right.
There are also many hereditary disorders, like sickle cell disease and thalassemia, that cause anemia.
The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency.
Iron-deficiency anemia can be caused by insufficient iron intake and/or absorption, or by significant blood loss.
Anemia’s symptoms can easily go unrecognized.
The first signs of developing anemia may be loss of appetite, constipation, headaches, irritability, and/or difficulty concentrating.
Established anemia can produce symptoms like weakness; fatigue; coldness of your extremities; depression; dizziness; overall pallor, most noticeable in pale and brittle nails; pale lips and eyelids; soreness in your mouth; and in women, cessation of menstruation.
Anemia has also been linked to a loss of libido.
Twelve percent of females age 12-49 and 7% of children age 1-2 are iron deficient.
To deal with anemia it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to hydrate and flush toxins.
*Alfalfa, bilberry, cherry, dandelion, grape skins, hawthorn berry, mullein, nettle, Oregon grape root, pau d’arco, red raspberry, shepherd’s purse, and yellow dock are good herbs for anemia.
*Have a complete blood test to determine if you have an iron deficiency before taking iron supplements.
*Include in your diet apples, apricots, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, egg yolks, kelp, leafy greens, okra, parsley, peas, plums, prunes, purple grapes, raisins, rice bran, squash, turnip greens, whole grains, and yams. Also eat foods high in vitamin C.
*Take at least 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses twice daily (for a child, use 1 teaspoon in a glass of milk or formula twice daily).
*Eat foods containing oxalic acid in moderation or omit them from your diet. Oxalic acid interferes with iron absorption. Foods high in oxalic acid include almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, kale, rhubarb, soda, sorrel, spinach, Swiss chard, and most nuts and beans.
*Avoid beer, candy bars, dairy products, ice cream, and soft drinks. Additives in these foods interfere with iron absorption. For the same reason, avoid coffee and tea.
*Because iron is removed through your stool, don’t eat foods high in iron and/or iron supplements at the same time as fiber. Avoid using bran as a source of fiber.
*If you’re a strict vegetarian, watch your diet closely. Taking supplemental vitamin B12 is advised.
*Don’t smoke. Avoid secondhand smoke.
*Minimize your exposure to lead and other toxic metals.
*Don’t take calcium, vitamin E, zinc, or antacids at the same time as iron supplements. These can interfere with iron absorption.
*The following foods are among the highest in iron content: kidney beans, pinto beans, liver (eat only liver from organically raised animals), blackstrap molasses, rice bran, raw beet greens (not the beets), mustard greens, lentils, dried peaches, and prune juice. Foods with a moderately high iron content include cooked dried apricots, cooked beet greens, dates, lean meat (lamb, turkey, and veal), lima beans, chili, cooked spinach, and dry and fresh peas.
*Eating fish at the same time as vegetables containing iron increases iron absorption. Omitting all sugar from your diet increases iron absorption as well.
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