Haven’t we all heard a relative exclaim that a child or adult in the family looks pale?! Often it is followed by the additional comment that they aren’t being fed well. As irritating as it may sound when someone comments on a person’s external appearance, chances are that the person may be showing early signs of a low hemoglobin count in their blood. And the right thing to do would be to make an appointment at the doctor’s office to get their hemoglobin levels checked. In this article, we will cover how important it is to keep track of one’s hemoglobin levels and what foods should be consumed to maintain a healthy level of the same.
What is Hemoglobin and Its Importance In Blood
Hemoglobin, or Hb, is an important component found in human blood. It can be described as the protein which gives blood its distinctive red color. Hemoglobin performs the important function of carrying oxygen throughout the human body. It also carries back carbon dioxide to the lungs from the tissues. The count of hemoglobin in one’s red blood cells also acts as an indication of whether the person can donate blood to save another life. This is because hemoglobin is considered to be responsible for the rounded donut-like shape of the red blood cells but without holes. In a person having low hemoglobin count, the shape will be different deeming the person unfit for blood donation. Abnormal hemoglobin structure also throws attention to underlying health conditions. To check for variances one must head to the doctor’s office. Measured in gms per liter of blood, the normal count for women ranges between 120 – 16 and for men, between 135 – 170. The general term for a low hemoglobin count is referred to as anemia. Depending on the variable, the doctor will decide what treatment needs to be meted out to a person having a low hemoglobin count.
Causes & Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin
Some common causes are:
- One of the most common causes of anemia is due to the deficiency of iron in the blood because of which sufficient hemoglobin is not produced. Blood loss or deficiency of iron-rich food is the main culprit.
- Sometimes anemia is caused as a result of the deficiency of vitamins like folic acid or vitamin B 12 causing abnormality in the shape of the red blood cells rendering it less functional.
- Iron deficiency occurs in some ladies during pregnancy.
- In some cases, red blood cells get broken in the bloodstream or the spleen leading to hemolytic anemia.
- Another condition causing abnormality in hemoglobin is sickle cell anemia, which is a genetic disorder. It causes red blood cells to acquire a sickle-shape. This abnormal shape causes them to stop flowing through certain smaller blood vessels.
- Sometimes abnormalities in the immune system cause anemia as in the case of aplastic anemia wherein fewer red blood cells are formed.
- Chemotherapy treatment for cancer can also lead to anemia.
- Some kidney, lung and liver diseases result in anemia.
- Excessive smoking can be said accountable for low hemoglobin levels.
- Urinary tract infections or UTI is another cause of anemia.
Tell-tale symptoms that indicate that someone may be anemic can be as follows:
- Pale-looking or yellowish skin
- General weakness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pounding sound in the ears.
- Pain in the chest
- Hands and feet going cold
Foods That Help Boost Hemoglobin Levels In Blood
The best way to counter any kind of nutrient deficiency in the body is to resort to natural means and what better way to attain it than to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Let us take a look at some food items that will help to boost the hemoglobin count naturally:
- Spinach – Spinach is a must-have if someone is anemic. Considered a powerhouse of nutrients, especially if one is low on hemoglobin in the blood it is rich in nutrients like iron, beta carotene, calcium and vitamins A, B9, C and E it helps to get rid of anemia by supplying these essential hemoglobin-building nutrients. Add it to salads and soups and notice the considerable difference it can bring about in an anemic person.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is rich in iron which automatically makes it a preferred choice of vegetable for those suffering from low hemoglobin count in the blood. it also contains other nutrients like magnesium and Vitamins A and C. 100 gms of broccoli are said to contain 2.7 mg of iron which is an adequate amount for an anemic person. Add it to salads, pasta of choice, to soups and you are good to go.
- Beetroot – Owing to its high iron-content, beetroot is considered a superfood for those suffering from low hemoglobin. Beetroot acts as a repairing agent that reactivates the red blood cells thereby boosting oxygen supply to various body parts. It significantly helps to battle anemia. Chop and add it to your salads, blitz it to a smoothie along with carrot or apple and have it for breakfast. Consuming beetroot regularly is highly recommending for those looking to increase their hemoglobin count.
- Pomegranates – The color on pomegranates itself should be an indicator of how excellent a fruit it is when it comes to maintaining the health of one’s blood! Pomegranate is rich in nutrients like iron, various vitamins, carbohydrates, calcium as well as fiber. Not only does it increase the count of hemoglobin in blood but it also increases the number of red blood cells. Eat pomegranate as it is or gulp it down like juice, the choice is yours, but either way, it boosts the level of hemoglobin.
- Red Meat – Eating red meat in moderation is excellent for those suffering from anemia. This is because they are rich in iron which is a primary nutrient required to increase the hemoglobin level in the blood. Recommended parts of lamb to suffice iron supply are kidney, heart and liver wherein the latter is considered as the richest source of iron. Pan-fry it, roast it with seasoning just make sure not to over-eat red meat or it may adversely affect the heart.
- Egg – Eggs are a recommended choice to counter the low-hemoglobin levels in one’s blood. This is because eggs are rich in iron, protein, folate and vitamins all of which are essential to building hemoglobin. It is one of the easiest food items to catch hold of with numerous cooking options and always readily found in one’s kitchen. Have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner at least 4 times a week and notice a considerable increase in one’s hemoglobin levels.
- Soybeans – Soybeans are a great food choice to increase hemoglobin levels. Owing to it being low in fat and high in protein it can be consumed 2-3 times a week. For best results soak the soybeans overnight in warm water to reduce the phytic acid content which inhibits iron absorption. Eat it cooked with preferred seasoning.
- Apple – Apple is rich in nutrients especially iron which makes it an excellent fruit for those looking to increase their hemoglobin count. Apple also promotes the overall betterment of health as it contains various antioxidants as well. Consuming a medium-sized-apple daily is recommended for someone with a low hemoglobin count.
Keeping in mind that natural food is the best source of essential nutrients that the human body requires, one should plan their day’s meals accordingly to counter the same. Consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients and vitamins not only helps to get rid of deficiencies but it also helps to maintain the overall health and wellbeing as well as boost one’s natural immunity. In the long run, this one source is enough to fight all health-related complications to live healthy and happy.