Many people would benefit from knowing how to increase their hemoglobin level, and doing this naturally would be an added bonus. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein and a component of our blood that is required for the processing of oxygen transfer from the lungs and its delivery to the tissues and organs in the body. Hemoglobin also serves to carry carbon dioxide—a metabolic waste product—away from the cells and back to the lungs to be exhaled.
Decreases in hemoglobin can be seen in several diseases and illnesses, leading to the following low hemoglobin symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Brittle nails
- Rapid heartbeat
- Poor appetite
If hemoglobin levels drop dramatically and are chronically low, you’ll be diagnosed with anemia. It is important to recognize that not all types of anemia originate from disease, as pregnancy and even menstruation may lead to functional anemia.
However, other common causes of anemia can be nutritional deficiencies of iron (the most common cause), folic acid, and vitamins C and B12. Other potential causes may occur from diseases affecting bone marrow, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, or even chronic blood loss—a common occurrence with colon cancer.
Knowing how to increase hemoglobin levels quickly can help those with low levels mitigate adverse symptoms. The use of food to increase hemoglobin fast through foods that promote its production is nothing new, and it is the most common way to obtain the essential vitamins and nutrients needed.
7 foods that increase your hemoglobin levels
Hemoglobin levels are closely tied to the iron and vitamins we consume on a daily basis, which makes malnutrition one of the major causes of anemias occurrence. Some individuals are more susceptible to developing low hemoglobin levels, including menstruating women, pregnant women, growing children, and patients recovering from illnesses. Fortunately, there is a multitude of natural ways one can restore and maintain normal hemoglobin levels. The following are some effective foods that boost hemoglobin levels:
Iron-rich foods: Good sources include liver, red meat, shrimp, tofu, almonds, dates, lentils, fortified breakfast cereal, oysters, and asparagus. It is important to note that excessive amounts of iron intake may have negative effects on the body, and all significant diet changes should be discussed with a doctor first.
Increase vitamin C: This should really be in conjunction with increased iron in the diet. Vitamin C is a carrier-rich molecule that can be used to better absorb iron in the diet. Good sources include oranges, lemons, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers, and grapefruit.
Increased folic acid: A necessary B-complex vitamin in the production of hemoglobin, with deficiencies leading to anemia. Good sources include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, dried beans, wheat germ, peanuts, bananas, broccoli, and chicken liver.
Beetroots: Considered to contain high levels of iron, folic acid, as well as fiber and potassium, this nutritious vegetable can be easily enjoyed raw or prepared in a juice.
Apples: Rich in iron and many other vitamins, apples are a healthy way to maintain normal hemoglobin levels. Eating a whole apple with the skin daily is recommended.
Pomegranate: A good source of iron, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein, this delicious fruit can be enjoyed raw or in juice form.
Nettle: A herb known to increase hemoglobin levels, as it is a good source of iron, B vitamins, vitamin C, and other vitamins. It is best enjoyed as a tea and drank twice daily.
Knowing what to consume to increase your hemoglobin levels is all well and good, but it also important to recognize the items we consume that can block the body’s ability to absorb iron. The following are some examples of iron-blocking foods:
- Coffee: Contains polyphenols, which are major inhibitors of iron.
- Tea: Peppermint and some herbal teas contain polyphenols.
- Eggs: Contain phosphoproteins called phosvitin that have high iron-binding capacity and can limit iron absorption.
- Over the counter antacids: Decrease stomach acid production, leading to decreased iron absorption.
- Calcium-rich foods: Including dairy and calcium supplements. Excessive amounts of calcium in the diet will inhibit the absorption of iron.
- Beer & Wine
Prevention tips to maintain hemoglobin levels
It is important for both men and women to maintain healthy levels of the necessary vitamins and minerals required for adequate hemoglobin production. If a deficiency were to occur, it can lead to many adverse effects that may only get worse if not remedied accordingly. Unfortunately, there is no method to check hemoglobin levels at home, so it is required to seek the aid of your doctor to see if you do indeed suffer from low hemoglobin levels.
The vitamins and minerals may be more frequently deficient in individuals with diet restrictions, such as in vegetarians or vegans. These individuals should make a conscious effort to include all the necessary components in their diet to compensate for their lack of meat consumption. Many vegetarian hemoglobin-increasing foods exist to fill this need.
Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.