In simple words, Anemia means iron deficiency. Anemia deprives the capacity of the blood to carry sufficient oxygen from the lungs to all body cells. Consequently, you feel weakness, irregular heartbeat, tiredness and fatigue. You may have also dizziness, concentration difficulties, shortness of breath and headache, insomnia, pale skin, brittle nails, cracks at the corners of the mouth and leg cramps.
WHO SUFFERS OR PRONE TO IT
Accident victim, surgery patients, a bleeding ulcer or certain cancer patient, people with chronic bleeding, kidney problems and diabetes are at a higher risk for developing anemia. Besides, women tend to become anemic much more easily than men because of heavy menstrual periods.
In children, anemia is most commonly due to insufficient iron in the diet. Moreover, women with chronic dieters, distance runner, athletes especially female and people on restricted vegetarian diet can have iron deficiency anemia. And, pregnant women are, too, predisposed to anemia because of the demands of the growing baby and placenta.
TYPES OF ANEMIA
In fact, the most common type of anemia is due to iron deficiency, which is usually caused by blood loss. Apart from iron deficiency anemia, there are other types of anemia like Hemolytic Anemia, which occurs when red blood cells are destroyed more quickly than normal. The reason behind it, may be hereditary or one of diseases, including autoimmune disorders, severe hypertension, abnormal spleen function, leukemia and other cancers.
Moreover, there are also two rare types of anemia known as Thalassemia and Aplastic anemia. Thalassemia is an inherited disorder whereas Aplastic anemia is caused by infection, genetic disorder, exposure to toxic chemicals or radiation. Megaloblastic or Pernicious is another type of anemia which is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12.
At the same time, deficiency of folate, a type of vitamin B can, too, cause anemia in pregnant women because they need extra folate for the developing fetus. Besides, elderly people and alcoholics also need extra folate.
HOW DOES VITAMIN B12 MAKE RED BLOOD CELLS
As a matter of fact, vitamin B12 is essential to make red blood cells.Your body must absorb enough vitamin B12. For absorption of vitamin B12, intrinsic factor, a type of special protein, is utmost necessary. This protein is produced by cells in the stomach.
Hence, it is clear that if your stomach does not produce sufficient amount of intrinsic factor, you can develop a B12 deficiency. It is notable that one third of older adults produce insufficient amount of intrinsic factor, at the same time they can no longer absorb B12 from food properly.
Here, it is worth mentioning that vitamin B12 is found only in animal products. So, if you are a strict vegetarian, you are at risk and you must consume fortified foods and take also a supplement.
HOW MUCH IRON A PERSON NEEDS
To make new red blood cells, the human body recycles iron. The body loses an average of 1 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women during reproductive years. Now that, the body absorbs a very small percentage of dietary iron hence, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) suggests to consume more than what is lost- 10 mg a day for men and non menstruating women. While, menstruating or nursing women should receive about 15 mg of iron daily. And, pregnant women should take 27 mg of iron everyday.
TOP SOURCES OF IRON
As mentioned earlier, the great sources of iron are animal products like fish, liver, lean meat, poultry and egg yolks. In point of fact, the human body absorbs much more of the heme iron found in these foods rather than the nonheme iron found in plant sources like soy, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables and iron enriched cereals and breads.
Therefore, strict vegetarians should increase their intake of these foods because they are not completely absorbed by the body. Although, vitamin C enriched food to a plant based food enhances the body’s absorption of nonheme iron. Hence, whenever you eat iron fortified foods, first of all, combine them with a source of vitamin C.
CONSUME PLENTY OF THESE FOODS
- Fish, organ meats, poultry and egg yolks
- Raisins, dates, dried apricots, nuts, seeds, dried beans and peas
- Good sources of vitamin C and citrus fruits especially orange juice, which increase the body’s iron absorption.
- Lentils, beans, green leafy vegetables, corn, asparagus and grains for folate.
FOOD INTAKE IN LIMITED QUANTITY
Swiss chard, spinach, collards, okra, quinoa, parsley, rhubarb, peanuts and chocolate should be consumed in limited quantity because in these foods oxalate is found that can bind with iron and your body can not fully absorb it.
YOGA FOR HEALING ANEMIA
According to Yoga gurus, Yoga is the best alternative, though for this you need to give some time to perform the Yoga postures on a daily basis. Trikonasana, Saravangasana, Surya Namaskar, Paschimottan Asana, Yoga Nidra and Shava Asana are some Yoga postures which should be inculcated in everyday regimen. At the same time, Pranayaam, Dhyana mudra, Gyana mudra and Prana mudra are also recommended to combat anemia.
In addition to these, there is also a significant way to get rid of anemia. For this, you should prepare your foods in iron pots and utensils. Because, iron utensils increase the quantity of iron from food. For example, 120 ml of tomato sauce cooked in a iron pot provides 0.7 mg of iron.
Hence, proper food and the practice of pranayama and Yoga postures help you to cure anemia.
What are the items that have been revolutionizing the world of healthy eating for the last 3 years? Virgin olive oil, flax seeds, tender coconut oil are some of them. But chia see is certainly the latest kid-on-the-block everybody is taking notice of. Though chia seeds had a permanent place in the diets of Mayan and Aztec civilization since antiquity; only recently the world is bowing down in front of these tiny kernels. If you have not incorporated chia seeds in your daily cooking, then the following 5 reasons (and one as an after-thought!)are strong enough to do so now-
1 Chia seeds contain fiber
Fiber is that magical word which treats many health disorders at once. Do you suffer from the agony of increasing weight? Then including a fiber-rich dietary style in your life can get you rid of that. Are you having constipation lately? Then fiber is the number one source that can activate your bowel movement like nothing before. And chia seeds contain plenty of fiber. 1 ounce of chia seeds are said to have 10 grams of fiber. Even if you don’t want to eat that bowl-full of oats in the morning, you can add a spoonful of chia seeds while cooking/baking your favorite dish. That amount of fiber is good at keep you going healthy and strong.
2 They are best to ooze out Omega 3-fatty acid
Now this point is pretty debatable. One school of thoughts say that chia seed is pretty good source of Omega-3 fatty acids while the other one claims that it definitely is- but not so as depicted in media. In truth, chia seeds do have omega-3 fatty acids but in the form of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) which remains into passive mode in the human blood. Human body is not capable of activating ALA on its own. So it’s highly recommended that you compliment your daily chia seeds intake with eating fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna to name a few. If you are a vegan, then include fish oil capsules or other such supplements in your diet, apart from chia seeds. Omega-3 fatty acid is instrumental for your healthy heart, strong bones, powerful eyesight, luscious hair and many more.
3 They are beneficial for type-2 diabetes and heart problems
The ample fiber content in chia seeds means that any diabetic patient or someone having heart problem can eat them regularly. Only 10 grams of chia seeds on a daily basis can slash down the level of bad cholesterol in your blood- thus making your cardiovascular health better and livelier. Not for heart patients, but for those who are suffering from type-2 diabetes can also gain positively from chia seeds. The fiber content keeps blood sugar level low and static. Chia seeds are also good for resisting inflammation- that can later cause to cancer or coronary heart ailment to name a few.
4 They are low on calorie, high on nutrition
In this day and age where the rage of organic wholesome foods is at its peak; you can’t possibly ignore the goodness of chia seeds as they are low on calorie. Do you love baking? Then you can sprinkle some chia seeds on your gluten free muffin or bagel to make it tastier and heartier. As mentioned earlier - 1 ounce of chia seeds contains only 10 grams of fiber. Now if we erase that from the list, then what we will get is - 1 ounce of chia seeds having only 101 calorie. So to satiate the weight-watcher inside, you don’t need to stop yourself binging upon calorie laden foods. Just replace the bad calorie of deep fried French fries with fresh smoothies made from fruits and chia seeds blended together.
5 They are good for bones
Does your kid simply hate to drink the mandatory glass of milk every morning? Don’t worry as chia seed can play excellent role of substituting the nutrient of milk which is good for bone health. A spoon full of chia seeds in bread or juice will provide your child with- calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Each of them is instrumental in improving bones for growing up kids. Not only that, the protein nutrient available in chia seeds is also pretty helpful to render a healthy bone structure. For women also, post-menopause life can bring on fragility in bones. Taking at least 2 teaspoons of chia seeds daily can relive them from this problem to a great extent.
P.S. - Chia seeds are easily digestible; they can be adaptive to any dish and don’t call for grounding unlike flax seeds. In this busy and fast-forwarding lifestyle- these sound really like little blessings. Don’t they? Do you have a sweet tooth? Then go ahead and add one handful of chia seeds in your delicious caramel pudding and relish it after dinner. Need some energy drink after a rigorous work-out? Then what about incorporating two spoons-full of chia seeds into a glass of fresh juice? These small habits will take you into long way of healthy life and eating. Don’t ignore the contribution of chia seeds in modern age. Learn from the Mayans as they rightly used to call the word ‘strength’ as ‘chia’ in their ancient linguistics.