Anemia is a blood disorder that causes red blood cell deficiency. Delivery of oxygen throughout your body is impeded. The condition is also known as iron-poor blood.
When the body is deficient of iron, hemoglobin, a blood protein, becomes low. This protein carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body. When there is a lack of oxygen being transported, your body begins to suffocate from within.
When people are anemic, they feel exhausted. Their overall health and well-being will begin to decline. If the case is severe, major organ damage can occur. It is best to seek treatment once you have been diagnosed with anemia.
Nearly 25% of the world’s population is anemic. The highest rate of anemia is among preschool-age children. Approximately four hundred million women suffer from anemia.
Medical experts report that the patients who struggle the most with anemia are vegetarians, or, people who consume inflammatory foods.
Other people who struggle with anemia are those who have yeast growth in their bodies.
Anemia is diagnosed by a physician. A blood test is usually completed.
Symptoms you should report to your doctor are fatigue, unusually rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, leg cramps, and insomnia.
Some of these vary depending upon the cause. They range from fatigue to shortness of breath. Explained below are symptoms that are commonly associated with anemia.
The fatigue that a person experiences with anemia is not normal fatigue that someone might experience after a day of busy activity.
When a person is anemic, fatigue comes with the slightest exertion. Often, it even comes with no activity.
Fatigue is experienced because the body is starved for oxygen. If you experience chronic fatigue on a regular basis, and it seems to worsen over a period of time, you should consult a doctor.
You should become concerned if your patience is lost at the slightest event that is out of the ordinary. Irritability will often accompany fatigue.
The lack of oxygen flow through the body wears you down so you lose your capability to cope with normal situations yet alone one that is extremely stressful.
3. Weakness and Dizziness
An anemic person will begin to feel weak as one does when suffering from a virus or other ailment. Weakness will begin gradually then increase over a period of time.
People often report feeling shaky or as if their legs were going to collapse.
Unfortunately, dizziness can be a sign of a number of problems. Anytime you remain dizzy indefinitely, it is wise to see a doctor.
If weakness and dizziness are experienced along with fatigue and irritability, a good chance exists that you are anemic; however, it is wise not to diagnose yourself. Have your suspicions confirmed by a doctor.
4. Cold Hands and Feet
Due to the lack of oxygen flowing through the body and decreased red blood cell count, your hands and feet can become cold. Some people feel cold all over most of the time.
If you can never become warm, especially if your hands and feet remain cold, you could be anemic. As always, seek the advice of a doctor.
5. Irregular Heartbeat
When you exert yourself physically, your heart rate usually will raise.
If your heart feels as if it races with any activity, and the rate does not slow down within a reasonable period of time, you should consult a physician.
The heart can become overworked due to a lack of oxygen flow which can lead to other serious health issues.
6. Leg Cramps
Leg cramps are painful and can seem paralyzing. Your legs can cramp for a number of reasons such as physical activity in hot temperatures, muscle fatigue, low potassium levels, or dehydration.
Another cause for leg cramps can be anaemia. Poor circulation results from anemia so the muscles will cramp from lack of oxygen throughout the body.
Having difficulty falling or staying asleep is frustrating. It is as if your body can not relax when you are ready to go to sleep, yet, during the day you feel sluggish.
Insomnia contributes to fatigue and irritability that is experienced with anemic people. It also leads to other health issues.
If you experience sleepless nights, and you do not suffer from depression nor have tremendous stress in your life, you might have anemia.
8. Pale Skin
Pale skin is often associated with various types of illnesses. Anemia can cause pale skin.
Reduced access to oxygen and blood flow, or a low number of blood cells can result in pale skin. Paleness can be only facial, or it can cover the entire body.
Some areas that can be paler than others when someone is anemic are the palms of the hands, the tongue, the fingernails, mucous membranes in the mouth, and membranes of the lower eyelids.
How to Treat Anemia Naturally
Anemia can be treated, and you can remain in great health if you take the necessary steps. There are ways to treat anemia naturally.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Stomach acid levels need improvement. Apple cider vinegar is a natural way to improve stomach acid. [R]
Before meals, drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in four to six ounces of water.
An acidic environment for food stabilization and breakdown is provided.
2. Watch Food Sensitivities
When the body produces an attack on the red blood cells, autoimmune conditions can occur.
Finding the foods you are sensitive to might take time, but it will be worth the effort. The intestinal lining will be given a chance to heal.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Grains and sugar promote inflammation in the body. It is wise to build your diet around healthy fats, low glycemic fruits, and clean protein.
When the body is inflamed, the organs are unable to utilize nutrients as needed. This leads to anemia.
Anti-inflammatory foods reduce inflammation and help the body use the nutrients received to put you on the road to wellness.
4. Maintain Gut Health
When the cells of the intestinal walls have wide junctions, large particles can get through the lining. Infections and other issues will arise such as anemia.
Eliminating sugar and environmental toxins will help achieve and maintain gut health.
5. Maintain Gastrointestinal Health
H Pylori and overgrowth of bacteria can lead to a leaky gut and low stomach acid. The absorption of iron is hindered. [R]
Iron deficiency leads to anemia. If you have major gastrointestinal issues, seek treatment.
6. Iron Supplements
The body carries a natural iron power that is gentle to the stomach. When iron power begins to become depleted, low red blood counts result.
For mild cases, find a good iron supplement or snack on fruits and vegetables high in iron.
7. B12 and Folate Supplements
B12 and Folate will help with the absorption of nutrients until the body functions better with its own absorption.
This combination of supplements contains just what is needed to support adrenal and neurological functions.
You can use organic acid tests to see if you have Vitamin B deficiencies.
Find a high-quality supplement with these nutrients.
8. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is low in sugar and rich in vitamins and minerals such as B6, Magnesium, Selenium, and Calcium.
If you consume blackstrap molasses, your iron levels will improve, and your hemoglobin levels will elevate as needed.
Add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to warm milk or water, stir well, and drink.
Do not consume blackstrap molasses in excess amounts because you could have loose stools and diarrhea.
Consume blackstrap molasses in the morning or at least two hours before going to bed.
9. Green Vegetables
Organic green vegetables like kale, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, radish greens, and arugula are great sources of iron. [R]
Consuming these on a regular basis can naturally treat anemia. You should not have more than four cups of vegetables per day.
Nutritionists recommend that you eat vegetables an hour before working out and in the morning.
10. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is mainly found in citrus fruits such as orange, lime, lemons, apples, grapefruits, and tangerines.
Your red blood count will raise when you consume Vitamin C. The absorption of iron is made easier through the use of Vitamin C.
Avoid consuming too much Vitamin C in a day, especially right after eating dairy products. Excess acid can result.
Probiotics improve gut function and digestion. Foods rich in probiotics contain good bacteria that promote good gut health.
Scientists have discovered that probiotics increase B12 and Iron levels. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics.
Avoid consuming too much probiotic-rich foods because you could become bloated and have other digestion issues.
Plump and sweet figs are loaded with iron. Figs contain Vitamin A, folate, and magnesium. [R]
If you soak figs, they will digest much quicker than if they are dry. If you consume too many figs, digestive issues can result.
If you are pregnant, consult a physician before consuming figs.
What to Eat
Increasing your intake of iron-rich foods is one of the best ways to treat anemia.
Some of the best food sources come from eggs, fish, and lean meant. There are plant food options that are available as well.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Two types of iron can be present in food. Heme, which is believed to be better for anemia, and non-heme.
Seventy percent of heme iron can be absorbed through the body while thirty percent of non-heme can be absorbed.
If you are eating non-heme foods, you should increase your serving sizes. Greens like spinach are a great non-heme source of iron.
2. Lean Red Meats
For a greater intake of iron, try eating grass-fed beef. This type of beef is healthy for the body and contains a great amount of heme iron.
Pair beef with Vitamin C rich foods such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and red peppers.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats and protein.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron as well. Just one ounce of pistachios will provide 6.1% of your daily value.
Shellfish is an excellent way to supplement your diet if you are anemic.
Three ounces at one meal is enough. If you are not a shellfish fan, sardines are another option that is rich in iron.
Quinoa is a natural and healthy source of iron. Other grains like oat, spelt, kamut, and sorghum are options that are healthy sources of iron as well.
What to Avoid
Much of the advice given by experts concerning anemia is a list of foods you should eat. However, there are some foods you should avoid.
1. Red Wine
Although red wine is said to be healthy for the heart and good to prevent cancer, it can prevent the absorption of iron.
Avoid drinking red wine while your hemoglobin levels are low. White wine has been said to help with iron absorption making a nice alternative to red wine.
Coffee has a vast variety of health benefits including the containment of antioxidants, but coffee can prevent iron from being absorbed into your body.
Coffee should be avoided both an hour before and after taking an iron supplement.
3. Black and Green Teas
Most teas make iron totally indigestible if you are taking your iron sourced from plant foods.
Tea seems to work well with meat iron sources. Some experts say that more research needs to be done concerning iron and tea.
4. Soy Proteins
Soy products contain phytic acids which prevent iron absorption.
However, there are some fermented soy products, such as soy sauce, that will absorb iron into the body.
If you are using fermented soy products, take Vitamin C to ensure absorption.
If you are gluten intolerant, consuming gluten products can damage the intestinal wall which prevents iron and folate from being absorbed.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, oats, rye, and other foods made from grain. Total avoidance of gluten is only necessary for those with celiac disease or an allergy to gluten.