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How to Prevent Anaemia

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 10 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Anaemia Folic Acid Iron-deficiency

If you are feeling tired and drained of energy, your gums and inside your lower eyelids look pale and whitish, chances are that you are suffering from anaemia. This means that either your red blood cells or the amount of haemoglobin (oxygen-carrying protein) in your red blood cells is low.

There are several types of anaemia. The two most commons are;

Iron-Deficiency Anaemia

This type of anaemia is much more common in women. The primary cause is blood lost during menstruation. But eating too few iron-rich foods or not absorbing enough iron can make the problem worse. The recommended daily allowance for iron ranges from 6 milligrams for infants, to 30 milligrams for pregnant women. Pregnancy, breast-feeding, smoking and blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract, either due to ulcers or cancer, can also deplete iron stores.

Folic-acid Deficiency Anaemia (megaloblastic anaemia).

This occurs when folic-acid levels are low, usually due to inadequate dietary intake or faulty absorption. The need for folic acid more than doubles during pregnancy. This is often not met by diets of pregnant women, so a supplement of 400 micrograms to 1 milligram per day of folic acid is recommended throughout pregnancy. It is also recommended that you take this supplement when you plan to become pregnant. Adequate folic acid should be in your system when you conceive and during the first month you are pregnant. Low folic acid intakes have been associated with low birth weight and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida in babies.

If you are suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia, then you should;

  • Eat more foods that are good sources of iron.
  • Concentrate on green, leafy vegetables, lean, red meat, beef liver, poultry, fish, wheat germ, oysters, dried fruit and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Boost your iron absorption.
  • Foods high in vitamin C - like citrus fruits, tomatoes and strawberries - help your body absorb iron from food.
  • Red meat not only supplies a good amount of iron; it also increases absorption of iron from other food sources.
  • Limit the use of tea. It contains tannins; substances that can inhibit iron absorption. Herbal tea is much better.
  • Avoid antacids, phosphates (which are found in soft drinks, beer, ice cream, candy bars, etc.) and the food additive EDTA. These block iron absorption.
  • Increase dietary fibre to prevent constipation.
  • Avoid aspirin and products with aspirin.
  • Take an iron supplement, but get the recommendation of your health practitioner.
If you are suffering from folic acid deficiency anaemia than you should;
  • Eat good food sources of folic acid daily. These include vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, romaine lettuce, collard greens and broccoli. Black-eyed peas, cantaloupe, orange juice, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, wheat germ, liver and other organ meats are excellent sources also.
  • Eat fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables often. Don't overcook food. Heat destroys folic acid.
  • Take a multi-vitamin supplement daily that has 100% of the RDA for folic acid.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking increases vitamin needs.
  • Don't drink alcoholic beverages

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