Anemia is a condition where there is a consistently low red blood cell count, or hemoglobin level in the body, and can cause a variety of symptoms that may initially go unnoticed. People who suffer from anemia will often appear pale, fatigued, and experience shortness of breath after only a slight exertion. If the condition remains untreated it can cause hair loss, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and confusion.
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to every cell of the body, so a low red blood cell count means the cells are effectively starved of oxygen and are unable to function correctly. To carry oxygen, red blood cells require hemoglobin, which is the main component of a red blood cell; and certain types of anemia are caused by the body’s inability to produce this molecule. There are several types of anemia, some of which are due to a malfunction in the body and others that are the result of poor diet or other health problems. The most common forms of anemia are due to a nutritional deficiency, and can easily be treated using a combination of home remedies.
Iron deficiency anemia, one of the most common types, is simply a lack of iron in the body which inhibits the production of hemoglobin, and makes it harder for red blood cells to form and carry oxygen. Those at risk of this type of anemia include vegans, pregnant women, people with Crohn’s disease, athletes, and women who experience heavy periods.
Vitamin Deficiency Anemia
This is caused by a lack of vitamin B12 and folic acid in the diet, and leads to oversized red blood cells which have difficulty passing through the veins. People at risk of this condition are vegans who do not eat a well-balanced diet, young children, pregnant women, and older people who have difficulty absorbing B12.
Sickle Cell Anemia
This form of anemia is most common in those of African-Caribbean ancestry, and results in crescent shaped red blood cells that can easily clog the blood vessels resulting in pain, increased vulnerability to infection, and in the most severe cases, can lead to a stroke.
Hemolytic anemia is the premature destruction of red blood cells, and can be caused by a number of different factors. Sickle cell anemia, liver disease, drugs, ingesting toxic substances, severe burns and hypertension can all lead to hemolytic anemia. Additionally, it can sometimes occur without any known cause.
This type of anemia occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce enough new blood cells, both red and white. This is usually due to some form of damage to the bone marrow’s stem cells, or can occur after a course of chemo or radiotherapy.
Home Remedies for Anemia
Certain types of anemia that are caused by a bodily malfunction always require the care of a trained healthcare practitioner, but those caused by nutritional deficiencies can usually be managed with a few simple home remedies.
Eating the correct diet can help with almost every condition under the sun, and anemia is no exception. Iron rich foods such as spinach, liver, and chickpeas will help those suffering from iron deficiency anemia, and those lacking in folic acid should opt for dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and vegetables such as beets, cauliflower, okra, and celery. Vitamin B12 can be a challenge for vegans as it comes mainly from seafood and dairy, but it can also be found in cereals, soymilk and fortified energy drinks. A smoothie made from a combination of beets, honey, and bananas will also help to replenish vital vitamins and minerals that can help those with anemia.
The best defense is a good offence, and avoiding certain foods and substances will help to reduce a person’s chances of developing anemia. Tea, coffee, red wine, and antacids are proven to reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron, and excessive amounts could lead to the onset of anemia in those who are already susceptible to the condition.
Use Iron Cookware
It may sound wacky, but cooking food in iron pots has been scientifically proven to increase the blood’s iron content. It is also advisable to eat plenty of foods that increase the body’s ability to absorb iron, such as fruits and vegetables.
Lying out in the sun even for a short period of time — without sunscreen — helps the body to produce red blood cells, and is also a good way to get other vital vitamins such as vitamin D.
There are many herbal remedies that can help with anemia, and the most well-known is yellow dock root. Other herbs that are effective at treating anemia include nettle, dandelion leaf, burdock root, gentian, and spirulina. They can be consumed in capsule form, as a tincture, or dried and sprinkled over salads.
Anemia is not technically a disease but rather a condition that can manifest as a result of several different factors.
Depending on the reason for its appearance, anemia can sometimes be reversed using natural methods, and food is most often one of the most powerful medicines known to man. The correct diet can have almost magical effects on the body, and many chronic diseases and incurable conditions have been treated using the correct food and a variety of natural remedies.
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