There are millions of Americans who live with anemia, and many are women and children. Generally, this condition results from reduced red blood cells, or an iron deficiency. But a lack of vitamins B-12 and B-6, some medications, a heavy period and other disorders can bring on anemia too. It causes dizziness, irritability, and general ill-health. To avoid falling victim to this condition, follow these steps.
Eat a diet rich in iron. Since anemia is generally caused by an iron deficiency, a diet rich in iron can help avoid the condition. Every day, you need to eat iron-rich foods like the following:
- Dried fruits (raisins / prunes)
- Leafy greens
- Red meat
- Whole grains
Of course, follow the recommended daily intake for your body and gender. But get into the habit of adding more of these foods to your meals. If you are vegan or even vegetarian, you may be at risk of becoming anemic. Talk to your doctor to ensure that you're getting enough vitamin B-12 since you're not eating meat or animal products. Likely, he'll recommend an increased dose of daily supplements to help you avoid anemia.
Don't forget the vitamins. In addition to eating healthy, you can also supplement your diet in order to avoid anemia. You can take a vitamin C supplement. It will boost your immune system and help to increase your iron absorption. (Of course, eating an apple, an orange or a red pepper will have the same effect!)
Iron supplements are also something to consider to help you avoid anemia. Talk to your doctor about the recommended strength to take for your body and physical condition. And then be sure to take these supplements at the same time as you take your vitamin C tablet for the most effectiveness.
(Vitamin E and zinc, though important for a healthy diet, should not be taken at the same time as vitamin C or your iron supplement. These can actually interfere with your iron absorption.)
Don't drink as much coffee and tea. If you're a fan of coffee and tea, you might have to give them up, or at least decrease your consumption, if you want to avoid anemia. Both coffee and tea contain substances called polyphenols and tannins. These are also known to interfere with your iron absorption, which can cause you to be anemic.
Instead of coffee and tea, try mixing a tablespoon of molasses in a cup of hot water. It's a tasty iron-packed alternative that is packed with B vitamins and calcium.
Combat underlying causes. As mentioned earlier, anemia may also be caused by heavy menstrual cycles. With so much loss of blood, your red blood cell count might be low enough to render you anemic. Your doctor can help you with this. Approach him with your concerns. As well, ask him about any other prescriptions that you're taking or medical conditions that you may have. He should be able to recommend a few changes to your diet and lifestyle that will help you to avoid anemia.