Anemia is the medical term for the condition when your body doesn’t produce sufficient number of red blood cells. What’s the big deal about it? Well, it’s as simple as that.
These red blood cells (RBCs) are the key to your survival! They actually carry hemoglobin, the oxygen-transporting molecule. So no RBCs means no hemoglobin which in turn implies no oxygen reaching the body.
Iron Dificency Causes and Symptoms
This condition is something that you cannot afford to ignore or delay diagnosis. Although sounds simple, there is more than one cause behind anemia. Few of them include
- Blood loss
When enough of blood drains out of the body due to an injury, heavy menstrual bleeding, stomach ulcers or even tumor and cancer, the body tries to maintain homeostasis by pulling fluid from cells into the bloodstream. This results in dilution of the RBCs.
- Insufficient or faulty production of red blood cells
Deficiency of certain vitamins and off course iron eventually makes your body compromise with production of RBCs. Furthermore, several other disorders such as leukemia have also been found to disrupt the production of normal blood cells.
- Destruction of red blood cells
Nobody is perfect! Not even your immune system. Sometimes it mistakenly kills its own red blood cells as it assumes them to be foreign particles. This is termed as autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
Do not hunt for just these causes, if you are in doubt. As said before, there may be a lot more factors making you anemic. All you can do is look for the symptoms below and get the issue addressed by your physician if required.
- Feeling of fatigue all the time
- Pale skin
- A headache and light-headedness
- Irregular heartbeat, often fast
- Chest pain and shortness of breath
- Fever and skin rashes
- Frequent infections and irritability
- Painful swelling of the feet and hands.
Depending upon the type of anemia, the symptoms may vary.
Do not worry even if you get diagnosed with anemia. Nature has all the provisions to keep you in good health. Explore the magic of the nature’s best by trying some of the easiest, convenient and most effective home remedies for anemia, as listed below.
Home Remedies for Anemia
Acupressure points for anemia
Acupressure is amongst those old traditional Chinese strategies that have stood the test of time due to their effectiveness in addressing many of the health issues, anemia being the one. All that needs to be done is, hold and press the point for a minute or two and then release.
Here’s the location of some of the acupressure points for anemia
- SP 10
Location of the point: While you flex your knee, identify a point on the inner side of the knee at a distance of 2 thumbs above the medial tip of the patella.
How it works : SP 10 is better known as sea of blood as it aids in tonification and invigoration of blood which makes it contribute in blood disorder treatment.
- UB 17
Location of the point: Trace this point by moving your hand in the sidewise direction starting from the center of the spine, in the level of lower shoulder blades. As you reach about one and a half thumb away from the center, stop. This is the desired point. Make sure that this point is below your 7th thoracic vertebra.
How it works : The point is known as Hui or meeting of the blood and assist in getting rid of blood-related ailments.
- GB 39
Location of the point: Hold the center tip of one of your ankles with your thumb and move upwards to a distance of about 4 fingers to locate the point.
How it works : The point is known to be influential for bone marrow which is key to the production of RBCs.
- ST 36
Location of the point : Identify and hold the depression of your knee. Now locate a point at 4 fingers wide distance, below the kneecap. This is it.
How it works : This point is known as tonification point as it tonifies blood and body and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. As you press this point, the absorption of iron increases thereby speeding up the recovery from anemia.
- LV 8
Location of the point: As you flex your knee, a crease forms towards the sides of it (near the joint). Hold the medial end of this crease. This is the point.
How it works : Along with tonification of blood and liver, pressing this point has been known to clear the excess heat patterns.
If you are amongst the lazy lads who hate bathing, sorry but getting away with anemia is more important and it is recommended to take bath twice a day. Cold showers are the weapons to fight anemia. They boost up your blood circulation which eventually results in replenishment of RBC supply. If you add Epsom salt to your cold water filled bath tub, the effectiveness of the remedy increases to several folds.
Massage has always been a favorite option when one feels tired or is willing to take a break from work. It alleviates pain and imparts relaxation to the tensed muscles. But what if I say massage hits the cause of anemia too?
Yes! We aren’t kidding! Massage actually dilates the blood vessels that actively take part in blood circulation. The opening up or dilation of vessels lead to improved circulation and eventually, the number of red blood cells increases.
So now you have got an amazing excuse to invest in your favorite weekend task!
Leave about those big names and claims about treating anemia. Yoga has it all for you! Be it the list of prevention from anemia or cure, Yoga fits in perfectly. When you perform those asanas and add breathing exercises to your daily schedule, the RBC count shoots up.
So yoga has two ways to help you out with anemia. One is through breathing exercises and the other is through special asanas.
Ujjayi, Suryabhedana Pranayam, Anuloma Viloma and Kapal Bhatti are some of the most effective breathing exercises that helps with improved blood circulation as well as takes good care of entire circulatory system.
Amongst the most advised asanas for anemia, Sarvangasana, Paschimottanasana, Uttanpadasana, Viparita-Karani-mudra and Shavasana hits the list.
It is always advisable to perform these under the supervision of professionals so that you can benefit the most with least accidents.
Vitamins for Anemia
If you skip your meals or often rely on less nutritious food options, you’ll probably end up with vitamin and mineral deficiency. And it’s no rocket science to understand that this deficiency can make you pay for your health.
Anemia is one condition that has a lot many causing factors associated with it, vitamin deficiency being the most common one. So here we go with the list of vitamins whose deficiency contributes to anemia.
The job of the folic acid is to make new cells including RBCs. This vitamin is present in many of the food you might already be consuming but the sad part is that our body doesn’t store this vitamin and therefore you need to include it regularly in your meals in sufficient amount to avoid deficiency.
List of folic acid rich foods
- Potatoes, bread and brown rice
- Milk and yogurt
- Fresh fruits
- Breakfast cereals
- Black-eyed beans (cooked)
- Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, Kale, broccoli, green and spring beans, okra, peas, asparagus and lettuce
- Brussels sprouts (fresh, raw or cooked)
- Vitamin B12
This vitamin aids absorption of folic acid and production of new RBCs. Deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to anemia condition called pernicious anemia. So let this essential vitamin reserve a place on your plate.
Here’s what all contain good amount of vitamin B12
- Eggs, fish, and meat
- Milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Vitamin B12 fortified products such as oats, rice, soya yogurts, yeast extract, and cereals.
As mentioned before, a lack of certain vitamins and minerals is often a cause of the cause. So it’s important to know what diet can help your body recover from the deficiency.
Have a look at some of the foods that you should definitely add to your plate.
Remember the cartoon series “Popeye the sailor man” in which the lead character use to eat raw spinach to gain instant energy so as to fight with the villain? Maybe the story writer knew the immense potential of spinach, being home to some of the crucial vitamins such as A, B9, E and C along with other elements that include calcium, iron and beta-carotene. This rich composition is good enough to combat anemia!
Beetroot is an expert when it comes to repairing and replenishing the RBC content of your body. It is full of iron that makes it a reliable weapon to fight anemia with.
Once the iron or any element reaches the body, it needs to be actively absorbed. Tomatoes do this job of simplifying the absorption of iron by the body. So eat raw tomatoes, make a delicious soup or add it to any of your everyday recipes!
- Red meat
It has been observed that vegetarians often fall in the vulnerability category when it comes to getting anemic. But non-vegetarians can equally be affected and so is the solution for you! Red meat contains heme-iron and Vitamin B12 which are readily absorbed by the body.
Eggs offer the liberty to try out as many delicious dishes as possible. But this time it has something more to offer. It is known to be a bank of antioxidants and proteins that work towards stocking up the crucial vitamins, which is important especially if you are suffering from anemia.
It should now be clear that a low level of RBCs and hemoglobin leads to anemia and iron is essential to keep hemoglobin levels high. This is why you cannot ignore kale. It is considered a rich source of iron and is also known to contain vitamin C that helps in absorption of iron.
Similar to Kale, dates also boost up the iron levels and decrease the risk of anemia. If you are already living with symptoms of anemia, dates can help you recover from the deficiency speedily.
- Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar
The easiest yet likable way of combating anemia is to prepare a drink f honey, apple cider vinegar and water. These ingredients help in making your blood rich in hemoglobin along with adding goodness of other elements such as copper and manganese.
All you need to do is mix these ingredients and consume it every day as soon as you wake up. If you do not prefer sweet drinks, squeeze in some lemon to balance the sweetness of the juice.
Drinks with Iron
Not just solid meals, even the liquid ones are right here to help you cope up with the deficiencies leading to anemia. Here are some of the best combos to go for.
Recipe options for iron rich juices
Mix these, blend, strain (optional) and consume daily.
- 2 number each of carrots and green apples, 8 ribs of celery and one-fourth of lemon.
- 4 beetroot (medium sized), one cucumber and half a lemon.
- 2 each – carrots, green apples and kiwi fruits and 1 tomato
- 1 oz of alfalfa sprouts juice (neat)
FAQ on Iron Deficiency
How Anemia is diagnosed?
Diagnosing anemia is tricky as it doesn’t come with characteristic symptoms of the other disorders. Physicians diagnose this medical condition based on the physical examination, medical and family histories and results from laboratory tests and procedures such as Complete Blood Count (CBC), Hemoglobin electrophoresis, Reticulocyte count and iron level test.
Craving for Ice
Craving for non-edible stuff is technically referred as ‘Pica’ by the doctors. And studies have suggested that lack of iron or indication of a medical condition such as anemia may be the reason behind people craving for ice (pagophagia). Although the reason behind this uncommon behavior is yet not clear, pica is one of the symptoms of anemia and should not be ignored.
How to Prevent
Although many of the types of anemia aren’t preventable, anemia linked to deficiency can often be prevented. Here are some of the everyday tips to get away with the probability of anemia.
- Take iron, folic acid, and vitamin B 12 rich diet
- Do not ignore the symptoms. Consult your physician immediately.
- If you are a lady who undergoes heavy menstrual bleeding every month, consume lots of iron.
- Cook using iron utensils
- If you feel tired all the time, ask your doctor to prescribe multivitamin supplements.