What is anemia?
article by Dr. Mariangel Leota
Anemia is a disease that is characterized by having a lower than normal presence of hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells in the blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to body tissues and removes carbon dioxide.
Usually, people with anemia also have fewer red blood cells. However, other times, the volume of red blood cells is normal and nevertheless there is anemia because the amount of hemoglobin is not enough.
Anemic people may also have altered other components of the blood such as white blood cells, which help fight infections, or platelets, which are the ones that seal the cuts.
Test to know if you have anemia
To know if you have anemia, doctors will take your medical and family history into account and they will do a blood test in which they will look for alterations in your level of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood.
Keep in mind that what may be normal for you may not be normal for others because the volumes considered correct depend on age, sex and type of food.
It may also be that your doctor detects that you have anemia by testing for another disease.
In addition to the blood test the doctor will do other tests to find the source of the anemia and detect its severity. From listening to your heart to asking for a rectal exam to find possible sources of blood loss.
How to know if you have anemia looking at the eyes?
As the hemoglobin in the red blood cells is what gives blood the red color, a quick and simple test to know if you have anemia (but that in no case replaces the visit to the doctor) is to examine the inside of the eyelid. your eyes.
- Put yourself in front of a mirror or ask someone to look at you.
- Put the index finger under the eye and pull down until the inside of the eyelid is exposed.
- If you have a very dull color you may have anemia.
- Ask for an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible so he can do the pertinent tests.
Hemoglobin is rich in iron, therefore, one of the most common causes of anemia is precisely the lack of iron in the blood, but anemia can also be the result of a dysfunction in the production and preservation of red blood cells or a punctual change in the organism, like the abundant loss of blood.
The treatment is different for each type of case and level of alteration of hemoglobin.
By not having enough hemoglobin to distribute oxygen throughout the body, anemic people feel weak and tired.
Other symptoms of anemia are dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches or paleness as a direct result of the decrease in hemoglobin in the blood. In addition to:
- Asthenia or generalized fatigue.
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
- Muscle aches or fatigue when making any movement.
- Insomnia and loss of concentration.
- Alteration of menstruation in women.
- Renal disorders and digestive disorders.
If you think you have symptoms of anemia, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Some types of anemia are easily solved with a change in diet or a nutritional supplement. Having anemia and not treating it is dangerous because in the long term it can cause serious injuries to the vital organs of the body such as the heart and brain and, consequently, be fatal.
Feeding to fight anemia
All foods rich in iron are good for fighting anemia. Go ahead and introduce the following ingredients to your daily menus:
- Raw spinach or canons in salad
- Beans and chard
- Liver and red meats
- Blue fish like salmon or trout
- Nuts (preferably without salt)
- Figs and raisins
The treatment of anemia can be done with the intake of iron supplement in the most severe cases, and with the increase in consumption of iron-rich foods.
- Diet for anemia
The consumption of iron-rich foods such as grains, red meats, poultry meats, fish and dark green vegetables should be increased. The viscera like the liver and brains are also rich in iron, however you should not abuse the intake of these foods. People who consume animal products have a lower risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia than vegetarians. See in more detail the diet you should follow here.
To increase the absorption of iron it is recommended to consume foods rich in vitamin C in the same food as orange, acerola and lemon, taking care not to drink black tea, coffee or tea mate after eating, as they are rich in phytates and tannins that they reduce the absorption of iron in the intestine, as do foods rich in calcium.
- Iron supplements
For the treatment it is recommended to take the iron supplement as follows:
- 180 to 200 mg of elemental iron per day for adults;
- 5 to 2 mg of elemental iron per day for children;
Doses should be divided 3 to 4 times, preferably 30 minutes before lunch and dinner.
As a way to prevent anemia, the doctor may also recommend iron supplementation during pregnancy and in preschool children. The indicated dose is approximately:
- 100 mg of elemental iron per day for pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding;
- 30 mg of elemental iron per day for preschoolers and;
- 30-60 mg of elemental iron per day for children of school age, in periods of two to three weeks, at least twice a year.
After starting treatment with iron supplement, after about 3 months, the tests must be repeated to verify if the anemia has disappeared or not
Ecological foods to treat anemia
Sometimes with conventional feeding is not enough. Maybe you did not know it but the ecological foods that exist in the market are a good alternative to help in cases of anemia and, remember, they are totally organic and natural so that you do it in a respectful way with your body.
Within the catalog of organic products there are ranges that can help you improve the process of lowering red blood cells. The properties of products such as: soybeans, nuts, millet, buckwheat, will help you naturally and ecologically to overcome periods of anemia in which you feel weaker and weaker.
Organic products of plant origin are good for anemia because they increase and improve the absorption of iron in the blood. Take those that have more iron and vitamin C, at least 5 times a day, between meals or as the protagonist of your main meal. Always accompany them with fresh fruits and vegetables if you can. But you wonder, what organic products are the ones I can take to treat anemia?
Cookies and whole grain enriched cereals such as muesli, oats, buckwheat or millet, a cereal with high iron content and a natural and ecological alternative to rice. The main property of peeled millet is that it is rich in minerals, especially in iron, which is why it is suitable and recommended for pregnant women and people suffering from anemia.
It is also highly recommended in people with digestive problems because it is easily digested and has a calming effect on the mucosa of the digestive system.
Legumes, almost all, although especially lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas and soybeans. Soybeans and their derivatives are very good sources of iron, for example tofu has three times as much iron as meat or soft cheese, and soya drink (remember that they are no longer called vegetable milks, but vegetable drinks) ten times more than cow’s milk. You can take legumes in the traditional way or find products such as soy flour or pasta made with lentil flour from organic farming. It is a very healthy product and, sometimes, easier to take than conventional legumes. Think of another, more fun way to eat legumes.
Nuts and dried fruits: try to enjoy iron-rich foods between meals and they will help you to improve your anemia. Pistachios, dried apricots, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, raisins, dates, dried figs, or especially, the boneless plums that provide a quick extra energy to the body, being very beneficial especially for athletes.
Another quality is its help to promote intestinal transit, due to its high fiber content. In addition, it is a highly recommended food for people suffering from iron deficiency, that is, people with anemia. This is due to the presence of vitamin C, which helps improve the absorption of iron in the body.
Add organic food supplements to your diet
In addition to organic foods with more iron and properties, we must not forget the bio food supplements that exist in the market that are a step more in the treatment of anemia without being pharmacological.
We speak in this case of supplements made from spirulina, this microscopic cyanobacterium (considered as algae until now) is very rich in iron and provides vitamin B12, essential in the treatment of many anemias. It is one of the most complete superfoods in the world because it promotes the development of the body and improves brain health.
Spirulina is a 100% natural algae that provides us proteins with easy digestion and contains a surprising variety of nutrients such as: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, chlorophyll and large amount of beta carotene (antioxidant pigment precursor of vitamin A) .
It is indicated especially in treatments of anemia because its iron content is highly assimilable by the body, there are studies that show up to 60% more assimilable than in traditional pharmaceutical treatments rich in iron. Taking food supplements enriched with spirulina helps treat anemia, as well as improve the immune system.
Reduce or avoid taking iron-poor foods
As much as possible try to avoid or reduce some foods that do not help treat anemia:
- Tea: contains abundant phenolic tannins that prevent the absorption of iron. Anemia occurs a lot in habitual tea drinkers.
- Wheat bran: contains phytates (salts of phytic acid), which hinder the absorption of iron, zinc and other minerals.
- Alcoholic beverages: alcohol interferes with folates and other B vitamins which cause anemia.
- Milk: contains very little iron and when you drink too much, you usually eat less of other foods rich in iron. Be very careful with allergies or intolerances of cow’s milk because they can cause serious problems such as intestinal bleeding that can lead to anemia.
Prevent and know how to treat anemia naturally is now easier with these tips on food and organic products. If you have symptoms of weakness, lack of strength, exhaustion, … try to include them in your daily life from now on and start to feel better. The food from organic farming can be an ally and a complement to your treatments against some ailments such as anemia.