What is hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing pigment of the red blood cells which transports life-sustaining oxygen to the body cells and removing poisonous carbon dioxide from cells and carry to the lungs to be exhaled from there. Hemoglobin is protein based component.
Iron in blood is part of the hemoglobin molecule that gives red blood cells (RBC) their color.
Hemoglobin levels indicate the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and iron. Inadequate supply of oxygen to the cells will results in brain damage, organ failure and even death can happens.
- In adult men, a normal hemoglobin level is 14-18 gm/dl.
- In adult women, this level is lower at 12-16 gm/dl.
- Pregnant women may have hemoglobin level as low as 11-12 gm/dl.
- Hemoglobin level for a child stabilizes at 11-16 gm/dl.
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Levels
Low hemoglobin levels indicate low oxygen level in the blood, which often causes shortness in breath. To compensate the oxygen deficiency in the blood, the body tries to improve the output of the heart. This gives rise to symptoms like palpitations and chest pain. Low hemoglobin levels may also aggravate extant heart problems. Low hemoglobin is the main cause of anemia. When the hemoglobin level is slightly below normal, it is likely that the symptoms may unnoticed.
- Feeling of tiredness
- Lack of concentration
- Rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Head ache
- Shortness of breath
- Coldness in hands, feet and chest pain
- Causes of iron deficiency
Some of the common causes of iron deficiency are:
Inadequate dietary intake: the two types of iron include heme iron (found in animal foods) and non-heme iron (from plant products). The body absorbs heme iron much more easily (We absorb approximately 15-35% of the heme iron we eat, which is a lot!) than non-heme iron (We absorb only 2 – 20% of non-heme iron from our diet)
Blood loss: Iron deficiency easily occurs in situations of chronic blood loss. Common causes include heavy menstrual periods, chronic disorders that involve bleeding, such as peptic ulcers, polyps or cancers in the large intestine
Foods to Increase Hemoglobin, Red blood cells
If you have low hemoglobin level, one of the easiest ways to increase iron level in your diet. It is recommended that women must get 8 mgs of iron each day; and men should get 10 mgs.
Iron-rich Foods. If you love non-vegan, consume meat, beef, liver, these are great iron-rich foods. The iron found in red meat, such as liver, Kidney is more easily absorbed by body than other plant sources of iron.
Healthy Pomegranate is delicious fruit contains Antioxidants more than three times that of green tea. It contains vitamins A, C, E, folic acid Iron.Consuming this fruit in any form supplies iron to blood and reduce the symptoms caused due to lower hemoglobin level. Person with Diabetes can also eat this fruit.
This fruit provides Iron along with high levels of Proteins, Carbohydrates, Potassium, Vitamin C and vitamin B. Iron content in watermelon is high and it boosts RBC count in blood and increases hemoglobin level.
Dates, wet or dried are considered as nutritious. They are rich in iron along with Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and vitamins A and B. Dates can boost your energy level.
Beetroot, Palak or spinach, green peas, Rajma or kidney beans, cabbage, turnip, sweet potato and cauliflower are some vegetables that are rich in Iron. Beetroot is the best normal remedy to boost blood count, it has the ability to regenerate iron content and activates red blood cells, supplying fresh oxygen to the blood. One cup of Spinach has nearly 6mg of Iron.
Folic Acid-rich Foods
Folic acid contains B vitamin which is essential in production of red blood cells. All nuts have some amount of iron in them. The king of all nuts with the highest iron content is the almond. One ounce of almonds every day provides 6 % of Iron
Are high on protein, dietary fibers, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants, which make them a good healthy snack food.
Handful of peanuts with a little jaggery are the most advisable breakfast or evening snacks for people with severe anemia and to increase hemoglobin level in blood cells. You may eat raisins (Kismish) with any food as an Iron source, but make sure you do not have any restrictions to sugars, as in case of Diabetes
Vitamin C-rich Foods helps your body to absorb the iron from your diet. You can get vitamin C from many fruits and vegetables including mangoes, oranges, Lemons, strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, grapefruit, tangerines, tomatoes, and spinach.
Avoid iron blockers: While taking iron supplements and iron-rich food, you have to avoid intake of certain food items, which affect the body’s ability to absorb iron. These are tea, coffee, fiber foods, foods with high levels of calcium (like milk, cheese, chocolate, caffeinated drinks) Absorption of iron from food is about 18 per cent from Non -Veg diet (including animal foods) and about ten per cent from a vegetarian diet.