5 Foods That Fight Anemia

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  • By Robin Westen

    Are you sleeping well, but still feeling really fatigued? Your problem might be anemia. Anemia occurs when your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells. These are the cells that bring blood to your organs. Anemia affects about 3.5 million Americans; most are women and it’s more common among seniors because of poor diet or other medical conditions. A simple blood test will diagnose your condition. If you’ve got anemia, or suffer from its symptoms, the good news is that your diet can help to turn the condition around. Here’s what to eat:

    Hot Breakfast Cereals

    There’s oat, wheat, corn, barley, rye or rice to choose from. Manufacturers help by fortifying many brands of cereal with as much as 100 percent of your daily value of the red blood cell boosters: iron, B-12 and other B vitamins. Check the Daily Value (DV) on the label before choosing. FYI: The American Diabetes Association recommends cereals with 5 grams or less of sugar.
  • Milk The large amounts of protein and vitamin content per 1-cup serving of milk are a great complement to cereal's nutrition. Although milk has just a trace of needed iron, it does provide significant amounts of all eight of the B vitamins as well as potassium and calcium. These minerals are crucial to the way your blood functions. If you select fat-free milk, you don’t have to worry about cholesterol.
  • Liver Okay, so maybe it’s not your favorite flavor, but liver is an excellent way to boost your blood with iron and B vitamins. Opt for a beef liver entree for additions of B vitamins. According to the USDA this choice will give you more than 600 percent of your DV of vitamin B-12 per 3 oz. of meat.
  • Whole-Grain Bread If you put that liver in a whole grain bread sandwich you up your consumption of iron and vitamin Bs. Whole grain breads retain more of their natural nutrients than refined white breads. Like cereals, many flours used to make whole grain breads are enriched by the manufacturer with additional iron and B vitamins.
  • Beans They’re a low-fat, high-protein food that also helps to diminish anemia, because beans have lots of iron and vitamin B. And they’re an excellent alternative to meat. Pinto, black and kidney beans give you the most iron and B vitamins. If you serve beans over brown rice, another whole grain product, you’ll bump up your iron, vitamin B and protein.

    Note

    If you’ve been diagnosed with anemia, make sure to have regular blood tests to check on your condition. Your health care provider might want to prescribe additional iron supplements.

    About The Author

    Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her newest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is “V Is For Vagina.”