Red blood cells are something everybody has in common, and it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are and where you live. These red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, are the primary reason why every human being is able to survive and function. Your RBCs have the most important job description of all the cells in your body: to carry oxygen from the lungs to every other tissue, cell and muscle in the body.

So, if there is an issue with your red blood cells, your entire body and the immune system it depends on will be compromised. And that’s just what happens to a patient suffering from anaemia. Simply defined as the decline or decrease in the haemoglobin levels or the red blood cells in the blood to levels below the optimal levels needed for the body to function, anaemia can occur at any time of life.

Read more: What to eat and what not to eat during anaemia

There are many types of anaemia, from sickle cell anaemia and aplastic anaemia to iron deficiency anaemia and megaloblastic anaemia. The most common type of anaemia is iron deficiency anaemia, sickle cell anaemia is mostly inherited, but anaemia is a disease that can occur at any point of your life if you do not have adequate nutritional intake of all the nutrients needed to produce enough RBCs.

These nutrients include iron, protein, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B complex and copper. If you do have anaemia, your doctor might suggest that you take iron supplements and other medications to improve your haemoglobin levels. However, the easiest way to get your RBC levels to get back to normal is by some simple home remedies. These home remedies can be easily adopted, because all you need to do is cook and eat foods rich in all the nutrients needed to create RBCs. The following are the most effective home remedies you can use to cure anaemia. 

  1. Beetroot for anaemia
  2. Pomegranate for anaemia
  3. Spinach for anaemia
  4. Nuts and seeds for anaemia
  5. Eggs for anaemia
  6. Liver for anaemia
  7. Apple for anaemia
  8. Fish for anaemia
  9. Whole grains for anaemia
  10. Legumes for anaemia
  11. Yoghurt for anaemia

Beetroot is full of iron, folate, fiber, vitamins and minerals like potassium and calcium. This sweet vegetable also contains antioxidants, which can help detoxify the body and improve the circulation of blood. So, not only will eating this vegetable increase your RBC levels, but also improve their mobility throughout the body.

Method: Eating raw, unpeeled beetroot in salad form is the best thing to do if you have anaemia. You can also blend a beetroot to make a juice, but this can concentrate the sugars - which in turn should not be had too much of if you’re also prediabetic or have diabetes.

Read more: Beetroot juice benefits and side effects

Rich in iron, vitamins A, C and E, pomegranate is one of the best foods you can have to naturally boost your haemoglobin levels. This seedy fruit is also packed with ascorbic acid, which helps your body absorb iron better to increase haemoglobin levels.

Method: If fresh pomegranate is not in season or easily available, mix two tablespoons of dried pomegranate seed powder with a glass of milk and drink up. Drink this concoction twice a day for best results.

While all green leafy vegetables are rich in nutrients that can boost your haemoglobin levels, spinach is the king of them all. This vegetable is packed with iron, folate, vitamin B12, and bioactive compounds known as oxalates. Make sure that fresh spinach is washed properly and thoroughly to make sure that you don’t get a bacterial infection.

Method: Cook a cup of fresh spinach with salt and pepper over a pan. You can also prepare spinach soup or spinach smoothie depending on the weather. Raw baby spinach leaves can also be added to salads.

All nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants, iron, folate, fiber, protein, vitamins and all the other nutrients you might need to boost your immune system as well as to increase your haemoglobin levels. Peanuts, sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds should be consumed daily to cure anaemia naturally.

Method: The best way to have these nuts and seeds is to have them raw or sprinkled over salads. Dry roast nuts and seeds to make a healthy mix if you want to store them, but do not add salt, sugar, chocolate, etc.

Eggs are rich in protein, folate, iron, calcium and other nutrients. Many people assume leaving out egg yolks makes eggs healthier, but actually, the yolk contains most of the nutrition within an egg. It’s best to consume whole eggs if boosting your iron, protein and vitamin levels is your ultimate goal here.

Method: Whole boiled eggs are the easiest to prepare and consume for anaemia. Boil eggs in salted water for 6-8 minutes, allow them to cool a little, peel and consume with or without salt and pepper.

Read more: Egg yolks vs egg whites: Which is healthier?

Animal meats, especially lean meats like chicken, are rich sources of protein anyway. Livers of chicken, mutton, lamb, etc are especially good for those who have anaemia because they are - apart from containing protein - also rich in iron, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and minerals like zinc. Pregnant women who are anaemic are, however, advised not to consume liver to boost their haemoglobin levels because liver is too rich in vitamin A, which can harm the baby if consumed too much.

Method: The healthiest way to cook liver is to steam it with salt and pepper, but you can also chop the liver and make a simple curry with it. Eating liver, however, should be done just once or twice a week because this is a highly nutrient-dense ingredient.

An apple a day can keep anaemia as well as doctors away. Apart from being a rich source of folate and fiber, apples are also rich in iron, vitamins and minerals. Many people throw out or peel the skin of apples before consuming them. This is not advisable, since the peel is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber as well as antioxidants.

Method: There’s nothing as easy as eating an apple. You don’t even need to slice them, just make sure they’re washed thoroughly in warm water. Drinking freshly prepared apple juice is also recommended for anaemia.

One of the richest sources of lean proteins, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, fish is something that should definitely be consumed by those who suffer from anaemia. Most fish varieties, from mackerel and salmon to tuna and trout, can be simply and easily cooked and consumed to boost your haemoglobin levels. However, make sure the fish is properly cooked to avoid the risks of salmonella and listeriosis.

Method: If you’re not used to cooking fish at home, get fillets of fish from the market. Add salt, turmeric powder and pepper to the fillets. Baking or steaming the fish fillet for 15-20 minutes should be enough to cook it through.

Read more: Is it safe to eat fish during pregnancy?

Most whole grains, including quinoa, oats, barley and pearl millets (bajra), are rich in iron, protein, folate, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are therefore healthy, plant-based sources of all the nutrients your body needs to boost haemoglobin production. Whole grains like these are also easy to store, cook and eat, so include them in your diet to prevent and cure anaemia.

Method: Wash the whole grains thoroughly, then boil or steam them as per packet instructions. You can also cook them in excess water until done, then drain the excess water in a cup or bowl. The water of barley, for example, is very nutritious and can be consumed during summers especially.

The most common types of legumes, like chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, soybean and lentils, are exceptionally rich in protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re brilliant plant-based sources of nutrition and can help increase your haemoglobin levels naturally. 

Method: Soak legumes in water for an hour or two, and then place in a cooker with water, salt and turmeric. Boil for two whistles at least, then consume while warm. At least two large bowls of legumes should be consumed every day if you do not have any animal source of proteins in your diet.

While most dairy products are rich in protein and calcium, yoghurt is exceptionally rich in iron as well. Being a potent probiotic, yoghurt can be consumed regularly to improve digestion as well as to boost the production of RBCs in your body. Yoghurt is also very easily and cheaply available, so adding this to your diet should not be an issue.

Method: It’s best to consume yoghurt without any added sugars. Instead, you can add fresh fruits, nuts and seeds to the yoghurt to boost your haemoglobin levels.

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References

  1. Khan, SK. et al. Efficacy of Trikatrayadi Lauha in Panduroga with reference to Iron Deficiency Anemia. Ayu. 2012 Jan-Mar; 33(1): 62–67. PMID: 23049186
  2. Stuetz, Wolfgang. et al. Consumption of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Predicts Vitamin A and Iron Intake and Status among Female Small-Scale Farmers in Tanzania. Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1025. PMID: 31067775
  3. Zhang, D. et al. Bioavailability of Total Iron From Meat, Spinach (Spinacea Oleracea L.) and Meat-Spinach Mixtures by Anaemic and Non-Anaemic Rats. Br J Nutr . 1989 Mar;61(2):331-43. PMID: 2640540
  4. Manthou, Eirini. et al. Effect of pomegranate juice consumption on biochemical parameters and complete blood count. Exp Ther Med. 2017 Aug; 14(2): 1756–1762. PMID: 28781633
  5. Jimenez, Kristine. et al. Management of Iron Deficiency Anemia. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2015 Apr; 11(4): 241–250. PMID: 27099596
  6. Eggebeen, Joel. et al. One Week of Daily Dosing with Beetroot Juice Improves Submaximal Endurance and Blood Pressure in Older Patients with Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction. JACC Heart Fail. 2016 Jun; 4(6): 428–437. PMID: 26874390
  7. Prentice, Andrew M. et al. Dietary strategies for improving iron status: balancing safety and efficacy. Nutr Rev. 2017 Jan; 75(1): 49–60. PMID: 27974599
  8. Asemi, Zatollah and Esmaillzadeh, Ahmad. Effect of Daily Consumption of Probiotic Yoghurt on Serum Levels of Calcium, Iron and Liver Enzymes in Pregnant Women. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Aug; 4(8): 949–955. PMID: 24049622
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