Anemia occurs when there is an insufficient number of red blood cells in your body. Your body needs them to carry oxygen throughout the body.
It can be caused due to many reasons, some of the common ones include poor diet, malnutrition, side effects of certain drugs, loss of blood.
Deficiency of any of the amino acids can lead to anemia and so are the insufficient levels of certain minerals and vitamins such as B-3, B-6, B-12, C, E, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, and zinc.
Anemia that is triggered due to iron deficiency is common among menstruating women. Again it is also becoming more prevalent among the younger generation who intake a lot of refined and packaged foods.
Our body needs sufficient levels of iron in order to produce red blood cells. Since there are many forms of anemia, it can also be triggered due to other deficiencies even when your body has enough iron.
Treatment of anemia becomes more effective when it is rightly diagnosed along with the possible cause. This involves a blood test.
What are the different types of anemia?
Before you pinpoint iron deficiency as the main reason behind your anemic condition, it is better you become aware of various other types of anemia that are triggered due to deficiency of certain minerals and vitamins.
This type of anemia is triggered due to a deficiency of vitamin-E. When your body lacks vitamin-E, it results in premature breakdown of red blood cells. This type of anemia is mostly seen in premature babies.
Anemia that results from the deficiency of folic acid is termed as megaloblastic anemia. This is very common among pregnant women, children, and people who intake high amounts of packaged, and refined foods, alcoholics, and drug addicts – mainly aspirin.
Lack of Vitamin-B12 leads to this type of anemia. Certain people cannot properly absorb Vitamin B-12 due to the lack of “intrinsic factor”. Victims of this type of anemia absolutely need professional care and regular injections of B-12 is mandatory to treat this condition.
Due to some reason, if the body fails to absorb the B-12 provided through injections, the addition of oral folic acid supplements may help the condition. There is also another method that involves sorbitol, a sugar substitute to improve the absorption of B-12. But sorbitol may reduce the effects of certain other drugs which you might use for other bodily conditions, so it needs to be used with caution.
This type of anemia results when your body runs short of both red blood cells, and hemoglobin. This type of anemia usually responds well to intake of Vitamin-B6 supplement on a daily basis.
Hereditary and Rare anemias
Anemia that results due to your genetic makeup is quite rare and needs specialized medical care. It mostly occurs in males of a few nationalities.
Natural Remedies for Anemia
Once you have been diagnosed professionally on the type of anemia you have, you can try following home remedies to improve your condition in addition to the prescribed medications and treatments.
1 Incorporate Iron-rich foods
Consuming a lot of iron-rich foods in your regular diet is both effective treatment and prevention method for anemia. Studies have shown that liver, kidneys, apricots, and eggs produce a sufficient quantity of hemoglobin.
Bananas contain folic acid and vitamin-B12, both of which improves your body’s absorption of iron.
Some of the best iron rich foods include dried legumes, wheat germ, whole grains, apples, dark grapes, raisins, strawberries, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, apricot, beet, blueberry, carrot, celery, cucumber, parsley, prune, red grapes, and spinach.
2 Avoid refined and baked foods
Baked, refined, and prepackaged foods contain phosphate additives which greatly reduce your body’s capacity to absorb iron. If you are anemic it is better to avoid soft drinks, tea, coffee, and other drinks that contain caffeine in them because it interferes with iron absorption in the body.
3 Consume meat and foods rich in Vitamin-C
Many studies have shown that meat and Vitamin-C are two most prominent substances that increase your bodies ability to absorb iron. A study done in 1977 showed that regular consumption of fish and meat doubled the body’s capacity to absorb iron from corn. Also adding just 60 milligrams of Vitamin-C increased the body’s capacity to absorb iron by nearly 500 percent.
Citrus fruits, chicken, mutton, beef, liver are a great addition to your regular diet if you have an iron deficiency.
4 Cook your food in cast iron
This might sound strange, but there are studies to back the claim that cooking in iron vessels actually improves the levels of iron in your body. If your kitchen doesn’t have iron vessels then try to get some. An iron skillet is a great place to start cooking your meat.
5 Include Honey
While you drink vitamin-C rich fruit juices try to add some honey to it. This not only adds more taste to your juice, but honey is also a good source of copper and this mineral helps with assimilation of iron by your body. You can also add one teaspoon of honey to a glass of lukewarm water and drink it the first thing in the morning.
6 Supplement Zinc
While your body needs Vitamin-B12 to absorb iron, it also needs zinc for proper utilization of B-12. Health experts recommend taking 15 to 30 milligrams of zinc daily, and supplements are the easy way to go about it.
Folk Remedies for Anemia
Folk remedies are more practical and safe. Though these remedies are not backed by scientific studies, they do not hurt you if you try and most users of these remedies are enthusiastic about its benefits. Give these simple remedies a try and you might be in for a surprise.
7 Apple cider vinegar
Stir one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Drink this after each meal. This drink is believed to increase the level of hemoglobin in your blood.
Another remedy with apple cider vinegar involves adding two teaspoons of vinegar with two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses to a glass of water. Drinking this after each meal is said to increase the iron levels in your blood.
8 Beet juice
Beet juice is a traditional remedy to increase iron in your blood that dates back to hundreds of years in the past. It is also a popular remedy for anemia in the middle ages.
Make a glass of juice out of fresh red beets and drink it once or twice a day to improve your body’s ability to generate red blood cells.
9 Herbal Teas
Your regular caffeine-rich drinks are your primary enemy while you try to get rid of anemia. Replace your regular cup of tea or coffee with a cup of comfrey tea, or dandelion tea, or fenugreek tea. These teas contain Vitamin-B12, essential amino acids, and methionine, all of which greatly help in restoring the level of red blood cells in your body. Not to forget, you can also add a teaspoon of honey to these herbal teas to maximize its benefits.
Modern studies have shown watercress is a rich source of easily absorbable enzymes, minerals, and vitamins which are essential to strengthen your blood, and also to increase the level of red blood cells in them.
Eat a generous portion of watercress every day along with your regular meal.