Anemia is caused by low levels of hemoglobin in the blood which is in turn caused by low levels of iron or vitamin B12 in the body. Refined foods such as white bread, sugar and desserts can deplete the body of iron unless iron rich foods are included in the diet. It is best to take iron in its natural form, as inorganic iron can cause serious damage to the body including liver damage, miscarriage and premature birth.
A diet for anemia can make up for this deficiency in iron and it should be alkaline in nature. Apart from being rich in iron it should also be a balanced and nutritious one. The diet should emphasize raw fruits and vegetables that are rich in iron that will also supply the body with other essential vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables also ensure a supply of ample dietary fiber which is important for good health.
Other vitamins and minerals that help in the absorption of iron and are useful in the treatment of anemia include copper, folic acid and vitamin B12. Foods rich in these nutrients should also form a part of an anemia diet. Of these, vitamin B12 is found in animal proteins and in meats such as liver and kidney.
Diet Chart for Anemic Patient
The first five days of a special diet for anemic patients should be devoted exclusively to fresh fruits. During this period, all three meals should consist of fresh fruits taken at five hourly intervals.
Thereafter, a diet of fresh fruits and milk should be followed for the next fifteen days. The only difference during this period is the addition of milk to each meal of fruit, starting with 2 pints of milk every day and moving up to four or five pints every day in ½ pint increments. Thereafter, a well-balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts can be followed.
Other measures that should be adopted include:
- Drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day
- Getting adequate rest and sleep
- Exercise or light yoga asanas can help in regaining fitness
Foods to Include
Foods to eat in an anemia diet should include fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds, nuts and meat that are rich in iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C
Fruits that should form part of an anemia diet include:
- Dark grapes
Vegetables that form part of an anemia diet include:
- Green onions
Other foods that are rich in iron include:
- Whole wheat
- Brown rice
- Sunflower seeds
Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 include:
- Dairy products
- Wheat germ
Vitamin C also plays a big role in the absorption of iron. Eat citrus fruits other vitamin C rich foods. Bananas and beetroot both are rich in iron as well as vitamin B12, both essential to preventing and curing anemia. Beetroot juice strengthens the body’s immune system and is an excellent remedy for anemia especially in the case of children and teenagers.
Doctors may also prescribe iron supplements in severe cases of anemia.
Foods to Avoid
Foods that should be avoided by those with anemia are those that interfere with the absorption of iron or cause iron depletion. They include drinks such as coffee and tea and foods such as bran, egg whites, white bread, sugar and desserts.