Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough blood cells or hemoglobin to supply oxygen to all cells. There are many types of this disease, each of which has different origins. One of the most common forms of anemia is related to iron deficiency. The body does not produce it on its own, so we have to constantly supply it. This means that the use of an appropriate diet in anemia can compensate for the deficiencies.
Anemia and nutrition
The vulnerable groups are women of childbearing age, pregnant women and the elderly. Sometimes it also occurs in children. Nutrition for iron deficiency anemia is similar in all age groups. Rather, the differences appear in the causes of the disease.
Anemia - what to eat and what to avoid?
Foods high in iron should become one of the staples of the diet in anemia. A vegan diet in pregnancy is a risky activity that requires strict control. It is food of animal origin that ensures large amounts of the missing element and good absorption. Especially:
- beef (1.5-2.5 mg per 100 g),
- poultry (1.6 mg),
- seafood (0.8 mg),
- fish such as hake, cod, Norwegian salmon, tilapia, trout, sardine (0.3-2.9 mg),
- liver of any type (17.9 mg, but also contains vitamin A, the excess of which causes damage to the fetus, so it is better to limit it during pregnancy and fill iron deficiencies with other products).
In addition to meat, it is worth using egg yolk, whole wheat bread and oatmeal. You cannot forget about vegetables and fruits. They also contain ingredients that help in the treatment of diseases such as anemia – what to eat to make up for deficiencies? Primarily:
- beetroot – preferably raw in the form of salads or juices (0.8 mg per 100 g),
- carrots (0.3 mg),
- lettuce (0.9 mg),
- spinach (3.8 raw, 2.9 mg cooked),
- broccoli (0.7 mg),
- parsley (5 mg),
- apple (0.1 mg).
Consuming large amounts of iron is worth combining with vitamin C. Thanks to it, this element is better absorbed. Therefore, the set of vegetables and fruits should include:
- Red pepper,
- black currant,
Another product worth including in your diet is cocoa. It is rich in iron (13.9 mg per 100 g), so hot chocolate or cubes, especially bitter ones, will have a positive effect on your health.
What to avoid in anemia? The absorption of iron is hindered by compounds contained in coffee and tea. Excess fiber and calcium also do not affect our benefit.
Nutrition and anemia in pregnancy
Why are pregnant women exposed to this disease? The cause of anemia in pregnancy is an increase in the amount of blood. There is more of it, therefore it becomes rarer and diluted. In order to function as it should, it must be supplied with an adequate amount of iron-containing hemoglobin. If we do not deliver it with food, it is anemia. It happens that the body improperly assimilates this element, but the diet for anemia during pregnancy is something that has a big impact on it.
In addition to proper nutrition, additional measures can be taken in the form of supplementation. It should only be used on the recommendation and under the supervision of a physician. Anemia in pregnant women may not be iron related but may be due to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and folate. Then it is necessary to take them in the form of tablets or injections, which the doctor also determines individually. It is worth remembering that proper nutrition is also important in the event of anemia after childbirth.
Diet for anemia in children
The causes of anemia in children vary. The absorption of iron is hindered by excess milk and the diet of children is often very rich in this product. Eating disorders in children are a common problem. Meat, fish, eggs and vegetables are foods that young children often refuse to eat. These foods are the primary source of iron. Nutrition for anemia in children does not differ from the diet of adults. Therefore, it is worth focusing mainly on a strategy that will convince them to eat.
- Patience. If a child regularly refuses to eat a food, we should also offer it regularly. One day it will just try, as long as we keep trying.
- Combining old and new flavors. If we want to include products in the child’s menu that they did not like before, it is worth combining them with a known and accepted ingredient.
- Sweetening the food will help your child to like its original taste. If we give him food that tastes badly sweet, he is more likely to be satisfied with the original version.
- Group influence. A child’s eating habits are influenced by the community, that is, other children. Dinners at school or kindergarten can teach them to taste new things. It’s easier to convince your child that liver or eggs aren’t that bad if a friend or colleague of the same age loves them.
- Change in consistency. Often the aversion to dishes is not due to the taste, but to their structure. The solution is cocktails, the content of which can be anything. The uniform appearance of the food and the neutral consistency will make the child’s imagination run less and eat the product more willingly.
Diet for anemia in the elderly
In the elderly, in addition to iron or vitamin deficiency, diseases can also cause anemia. The risk of developing anemia of chronic disease increases with age. This is mainly due to:
- bacterial and fungal infections, parasites,
- organ failure (heart, kidneys),
Some chronic diseases mean that fewer red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and their lifetime is shorter.
How to fix it? The diet for anemia in the elderly can only improve the condition if we are dealing with iron deficiency. In this case, we deliver this element with food in the same way as for any other age group. However, in the anemia associated with chronic diseases, treatment of these diseases is key.
Diet has a great influence on the functioning of the body. That is why a healthy diet for a child and the provision of appropriate elements in each age group are so important. However, it should be remembered that we should take care of proper nutrition before problems arise.