If you have anemia, your blood does not have enough oxygen to deliver to the rest of the body. The most common cause of anemia is the lack of iron in your body.
Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. There are several other types of anemia including vitamin-deficiency anemia, aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, sickle cell anemia, and anemia caused by other diseases.
If you have anemia you will find yourself with symptoms like weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, pale skin, headache, and chest pain.
Many types of anemia cannot be prevented. However, the risks of developing iron- and vitamin-deficiency anemia can be avoided with the help of home remedies.
Home Remedies For Anemia
1. Maintain A Healthy Diet
A balanced diet and healthy eating habits are of utmost importance for a healthy living. This also applies to anemic individuals. A healthy, iron-rich diet can help anemic patients regain the iron deficient in their body.
The body absorbs more iron from animal sources than from plant sources.1 Some of the most common iron-rich animal sources are as follows:
- Lean beef
- Lean Pork
Plant sources that are rich in iron are as follows:
- Beans, including kidney beans, soybeans, and lentils
- Dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach
- Enriched rice
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Whole-grain and enriched bread
Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin effective in the formation of red blood cells. Consuming foods rich in vitamin B-12 will help fight anemia symptoms. Foods rich in vitamin B-12 are as follows:2
- Milk and cheese
- Fortified soy milk and cereals
- Fruits like bananas
Foods rich in vitamin C also help in the absorption of iron in the body. Sources of vitamin C are as follows:3
- Citrus fruits like oranges
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Other Dietary Inclusions
The following foods can be included in your diet.4
- Almonds are a good source of iron and can be added to your diet if you are anemic. The suggested way to consume almonds would be soaking them in a bowl of water overnight and consuming them the next day. This should be continued for at least two months to observe significant changes in your body.
- Honey in any form is ideal for an anemic person because of its high content of iron, manganese, and copper.
- A combination of ripe banana and honey is considered a good source of energy as well as a source of all the essential minerals.
- Mix black sesame seeds (soaked in warm water, strained, and ground) with one cup of warm milk with honey or jaggery.
- Blackstrap molasses are also a good source of iron and essential B vitamins. Drinking a tablespoon a day in a cup of warm water is advised. For children, these molasses can be mixed in a glass of milk.
- Mixing equal quantities of beetroot juice and apple juice with honey may provide effective results.
Foods To Avoid
While adding certain foods to your diet is important, it is equally essential to exclude or limit certain foods that may hinder the absorption of iron and other essential nutrients required by the body. The foods to exclude from your diet are as follows:5
- Foods rich in oxalic acid like chocolates
- Fried, fatty, spicy, and starchy foods
- Coffee and tea
- Tinned fruits
- Soft drinks
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly is beneficial to keep the body healthy. In anemic individuals, exercises are important because it helps regulate the blood flow in the body. Increased blood flow will in turn help in reducing the fatigue caused by anemia. Anemia causes weakness and this keeps anemic individuals away from exercise. However, exercising can help improve the blood circulation.
There is a study stating that physical exercise is a less known and often forgotten cause of iron deficiency anemia.6
Walking, cycling, group exercise classes, and dancing are exercises that can be practiced for better health when you are anemic.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that anemia will cause tiredness easily. The exercises should be progressed slowly. Heavy workout like weight lifting is not advisable at the beginning because the oxygen in your body is low and therefore, will not be able to meet the body’s excess oxygen requirement during heavy exercises.7
3. Practice Yoga
Practicing yoga has positive effects and is an effective way to increase hemoglobin levels in your blood. Regular practice of different yoga poses may help increase the red blood cell production and purify the blood.
It is important for anemic patients to start their yoga sessions with pranayama or breathing exercises. This increases the circulation of the blood and improves the overall functioning of the circulatory system. Some of the breathing exercises are as follows:8
- Shitali Pranayama
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
- Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Ujjayi Pranayama
- Suryabhedana Pranayama
These breathing exercises are followed by yogasanas. Some of them are as follows:
- Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
- Viparitakarani (Half Shoulder Stand)
- Uttanpadasana (Raised Foot Pose)
- Halasana (Plough Pose)
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
4. Take Cold Water Baths And Sunbathe
Anemic patients are suggested to take a cold water bath twice a day. A cold shower daily is also good. Apart from these, a hot Epsom salt bath and cold friction for a duration of 5–10 minutes are also good for treating anemia naturally. This may help improve the blood circulation in the body.
Sunbathing is also found to be effective in treating anemia. Sunbathing for 15–30 minutes is advised. This increases the production of red blood cells in the body that is deficient in anemic patients.
Herbs For Anemia
There are several herbs that are effective in treating anemia. These herbs mainly purify the blood, improve circulation, and increase the red blood cell production. Some of the herbs are listed below.9
- Alfalfa – This herb improves hemoglobin levels, purifies the blood, and helps reduce the symptoms of anemia.
- Fenugreek – This herb is used to cure menstruation-related anemia in girls. The seeds of the herb help maintain proper iron levels.
- Quinoa – This is a grain rich in all eight essential amino acids. Just a quarter cup of this grain contains about 20 percent of your daily iron intake.
- Gentian (Gentiana lutea)– This is more popular in Europe. It helps in treating anemia by stimulating the digestive system to easily absorb iron and other nutrients. Gentian can be brewed into a tea.
- Dandelions – They are rich in vitamins and minerals. They promote the absorption of iron from other foods. Several drops of dandelion tincture can be taken before a meal. When combined with burdock root, it might increase the absorption of iron from other foods more effectively.
Home remedies may take a while to treat anemia. If you are anemic, patience is the key for significant results. Home remedies may be effective; however, do not forget to consult your doctor when making any dietary changes or any other change to your routine.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Foods to Fight Iron Deficiency. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.|
|2, 3.||↑||The best foods for vitamins and minerals. Harvard Medical School.|
|4.||↑||Sinha, Anil. Remedies and Cures For The Common Diseases. Page Publishing, Inc, 2015.|
|5, 8, 9.||↑||Sinha, Anil. Remedies and Cures For The Common Diseases. Page Publishing, Inc, 2015.|
|6.||↑||Wouthuyzen-Bakker, Marjan, and Sander van Assen. “Exercise-induced anaemia: a forgotten cause of iron deficiency anaemia in young adults.” Br J Gen Pract 65, no. 634 (2015): 268-269.|
|7.||↑||Anaemia. BetterHealth Channel.|