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Struggling with anemia? Here is a guide to eating your way to better iron absorption

With more than 51% women suffering from anemia in India, here is a game plan for you that will help boost your health and treat the ailment.
It's time to kick anemia to the curb with healthy eating. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 3 Mar 2020, 17:51 pm IST
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Do you often experience a lull in your energy while you study or work? Do you often experience frequent headaches or dizziness? Do you feel a strange urge to move your legs while you rest especially at night? If your answer to all these questions is a big yes, then you might just be one statistic in the staggering 51% Indian women who suffer from anemia. 

According to the Global Nutrition Report, women in India are facing a threatening health challenge with a large number of them suffering from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency, more commonly known as anemia, occurs when the body has a low red blood cell count. 

Iron is an important nutrient, used in the creation of red blood cells, which enables them to carry oxygen around the body. Thus, a decline in the iron levels can lead to a number of maladies, which can be life-threatening, if left unchecked. Some  signs and symptoms of iron deficiency and a decreasing hemoglobin level include: extreme fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, dizziness, anxiety, and brittle nails

If this remains unchecked, it can lead to severe complications like heart problems, trouble during pregnancy and growth issues.

Causes of iron deficiency
Iron deficiency in the body can occur due to common causes such as poor diet, heavy blood loss, pregnancy, and the body’s decreased ability to absorb iron.

To avoid these complications, it is very crucial to maintain a good iron intake through your diet. The risk of iron deficiency can be reduced by the consumption of foods rich in iron. There are two types of iron in foods: heme iron and non-heme iron, explains Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics Ltd and Fitness & Nutrition Expert. Heme iron is found in meat, poultry, and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and foods fortified with iron. 

Try this menu to kicking anemia to the curb
Some of the foods that you should consume if you have anemia include red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots, iron-fortified cereals, breads, pasta, and peas.

eggs can make you lose weight
A rich source of protein, eggs can help kick anemia to the curb. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The body’s absorption of iron can be boosted by eating foods rich in vitamin C, in order to achieve the desired levels, as they help the stomach absorb iron from food. Some of the best foods that aid in this process include fruits and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, kiwis, oranges, strawberries, and peppers.

blanched broccoli recipe
Chomping on fruits and vegetables can boost vitamin C and increase iron levels in your body. Image courtesy: TCK by The China Kitchen

Your body treats animal and plant-based iron sources differently
The body absorbs more iron from meat as opposed to other sources of food. Thus, vegetarians and people who choose not to consume meat may need to increase their intake of plant-based foods that are rich in iron, in order to get the same levels of the mineral as one who consumes meat, Shelatkar points out.

Now that you know just how you can combat anemia at home, it is also important to remember that your doctor is your best guide. So eat healthy and right, but don’t give your regular appointment with the physician a miss.

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(With inputs from IANS)

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