(Health Secrets Newsletter) Anemia is a blood condition in which the number and/or size of the red blood cells is reduced. Because red blood cells move oxygen from your lungs to the tissues and organs, any decrease in size or amount limits how much oxygen is transported and can open the door to severe fatigue and cancer. Fortunately, you can correct anemia naturally through diet and/or supplementation.
There are 3 different types of nutritional anemia: iron, B-12, and folate. Common symptoms of anemia include weakness, tiredness, poor concentration skills, pale skin, mild depression, and an increased risk of infection.
Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It can be caused by blood loss of some type or appear slowly in people eating a primarily vegetarian diet. Women and particularly those with heavy menstrual periods, teenagers and young children are at high risk. So are chronic dieters, female athletes, distance runners.. Common causes include surgery, accidents, bleeding ulcers, certain cancers, and chronic or repeated nose bleeds.
To correct iron-deficiency anemia, focus on iron rich foods such as:
*Oysters and clams
*Organ meats like pork or calf liver
*Sardines, tuna, and shrimp
*Grape juice (no sugar or preservatives added)
*Apricots, peaches, prunes and raisins
When eating foods containing iron or taking supplemental iron, enhance your diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. If you take an iron supplement, swallow it with a juice that’s high in vitamin C.
Another way to obtain extra vitamin C is to flavor your water by spritzing with vitamin C-laden lemon, lime, tangerine, or orange juice.
*Eat plenty of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
*Eat high protein foods such as lean meats and poultry. Protein facilitates iron absorption. Be sure to choose certified organic grass fed or free range type meats which have not been subject to feed lot practices. Also add organic cheeses and nuts to your daily diet.
*Space out your supplements and iron consumption. The more iron you consume at once, the less the body actually absorbs. Eating multiple small iron-rich meals will result in better overall absorption.
*Use cast iron cookware. Tiny iron particles from the cookware are transferred to food during cooking and can provide a significant source of dietary iron.
B-12 anemia is also known as pernicious anemia. Even a slight deficiency of B-12 can lead to anemia. Deficiency in B-12 can also lead to fatigue, mania, and depression. Long term deficiency can potentially result in brain and central nervous system damage.
Vitamin B-12 is primarily found naturally in animal products, although both spirulina and chlorella are rich in B-12. In addition to them, the top ten food sources for B-12 are:
*Clams, oysters, and Mussels
*Beef liver and beef
*Seafood and fish (especially caviar, octopus, mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, cod, sardines, trout. bluefish, crab and lobster)
If you eat a primarily vegetarian diet or have had any of your stomach or intestines removed, get periodic lab tests to monitor B-12 levels. Supplementation will usually be necessary and occasionally injections of B-12 may be required when levels become too low.
Often, what may appear to be B-12 deficiency is actually folate deficiency. To prevent folate deficiency, include plenty of folate-rich foods in your diet, such as:
*Lentils, beans and peas
*Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
*Asparagus and corn
- Organic foods are best for good health.
- Due to the lingering toxins from the gulf oil spill it is recommended to avoid seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.
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