Hemoglobin and Iron are two terms that go hand in hand and there’s a simple understanding behind this. 70% of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the red colored pigment present in red blood cells which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of our body. This released oxygen then permits aerobic respiration to provide energy to power the functions of our body in the process called metabolism.
That’s not where it’s role ends. It is also a part of other cells which are found in some major organs like lungs, kidneys and the skin. Here, it’s function is that of an antioxidant and regulator of iron metabolism. Finally, it also transports carbon dioxide out of the cells and back to the lungs to be blown out of our body. The expected normal range of Hemoglobin in men is above 13 gm/dL and women is above 12 gm/dL, typically which is not difficult to maintain but still is of major concern if goes below the desired levels, creating a condition called Anemia.
Lack of Folate or B-12, blood loss post surgery, heavy menstrual bleeding or internal bleeding due to ulcers or even inadequate intake are some possible causes of low Hemoglobin levels. All of this explains our symptoms of Anemia like exhaustion, skin paleness, headache to abnormal or rapid heartbeat and chest pain. We’ve read and heard of varied iron supplements which can be taken to replenish extremely low Hemoglobin levels but eating the right kind of foods in the correct combinations can help increase hemoglobin naturally and quickly also.
What Can You Eat to Increase Hemoglobin?
When thinking about Hemoglobin, the 1st mineral coming to our mind is iron but here’s the catch – Iron alone cannot increase your Hb. It has to be in combination with folate or Vit B12 (depending on the deficiency) and Vit. A & C which act as carriers for it’s better absorption. Combining all the above elements finally gives us this list of foods which can help increase hemoglobin naturally.
- Foods like shellfish, sardines, tuna, mackerel, eggs and meat are high on heme iron which is easily absorbed in the body and do not require carriers.
- Plant foods like Spinach, Kale, broccoli, beetroot, pumpkin seeds, and legumes like soybeans, chickpeas, peas, etc. can help as well.
- Vit. A & C rich foods like tomatoes, carrots, lemon, red peppers, oranges, pomegranates, etc. should be used in combination with above mentioned foods.
- Fortified cereals also help as they are high in Folate.
While some elements are carriers, some can act as an hindrance. Phytic acid and Calcium are 2 such elements which make Iron absorption harder. Hence, avoid taking calcium supplements or very high calcium rich foods along with iron rich foods or supplements. Before making any changes to your diet, do consult a doctor, nutritionist or your dietitian.
We hope this article to increase hemoglobin naturally helps you. Do leave your thoughts in the comments below! For more useful information on Hemoglobin and other health-related queries, check out Healthy Reads or tune in to LIVE sessions by experts on GOQii Play.