Hemoglobin is something that we’ve all heard of, but most of us don’t really understand its significance. It is basically an iron-containing protein that is present in red blood cells, responsible for the transportation and supply of oxygen throughout the body. Naturally, a drop in hemoglobin levels causes weakness, fatigue, and other problems like headaches or coldness.
Low hemoglobin levels typically occur as a result of low red blood cell production because of anemia or iron deficiency, destruction of red blood cells as in the case of liver disease, or because of blood loss from a wound. Although a permanent solution requires redressal of these underlying problems, making other changes to your lifestyle and diet can help raise hemoglobin levels.
Foods To Raise Hemoglobin Levels
The simplest and most obvious thing to do would be to increase your intake of iron rich foods, but this alone will not suffice, as you also need other nutrients to ensure adequate absorption of iron. Here are some nutrients that you need to focus on.
“Iron plays a central role in the production of hemoglobin, making an iron deficiency the first suspect”
Red meats are a good source of iron, but liver is perhaps the best source of this mineral, as well as other essential nutrients for healthy hemoglobin levels. Eggs and seafood are also good sources of iron. Vegetarians should increase their intake of dark green leafy veggies like spinach, while also adding beans and fortified-cereals to their daily diet.
“Essential for nerve & skin health, vitamin B6 is also needed for the synthesis of hemoglobin”
Once again, meats including chicken, turkey, and pork are among the best sources of vitamin B6, along with fish like salmon, tuna, and trout.
Vegetarians should include veggies like spinach, yam, broccoli, and green peas in their diet. In addition, nuts and seeds like peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds will also help boost your intake of this vitamin. Chickpeas and soybeans can also add to your B6 intake, while also providing you with protein.
“Also known as vitamin B9, folate or folic acid is essential for the production of red blood cells”
This nutrient helps in the production of new cells, and may also play some role in cancer prevention. Dried beans, green peas, and leafy vegetables like spinach are among the best sources, along with liver. Other good sources include beets, broccoli, and sprouts.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency is actually one of the most common causes of anemia & low hemoglobin levels in India”
Vitamin B12 is essential for various body processes, as it helps in the maintenance of nerves and red blood cells. Unfortunately, the best sources of this vitamin are non-vegetarian, which is why the deficiency is pervasive in India. The best foods for vitamin B12 include red meats like lamb, as well as liver, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy produce, including milk.
“Our favorite vitamin, referred to as ascorbic acid, is essential for healthy hemoglobin levels, as the nutrient is needed for proper iron absorption”
Vitamin C is vital for the growth, development, and repair of body tissue, as well as functions like the production of collagen and wound healing. To ensure a healthy supply of vitamin C, try to eat more citric fruits like oranges, grapes, and strawberries. Other sources of this nutrient include red and green peppers, tomatoes, and baked potatoes.
Supplementation may seem like the easiest way to correct nutritional deficiencies, but this may not be the best approach. Do not attempt self-medication with supplements, as excess iron intake can cause other complications. In addition to including the recommended foods in your diet, try to restrict your intake of calcium-rich foods, as well as caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they will impede iron absorption.
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