The following is an overview of some causes for anemia, and food sources for when dietary increases is a necessary course of treatment.
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type anemia and it is caused by an iron deficiency in your body. Iron is necessary to make hemoglobin. Low levels of vitamin B12 or folate are the most common causes of this type of anemia.
Low iron levels may be a result of:
- blood loss
- colon polyps
- colon cancer
- severe injury
- uterine fibroids
- pain medication
- regular use of aspirin
- very heavy, long menstrual periods
A diet lacking in enough iron can also be the cause of iron deficiency anemia. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, or iron-fortified foods are iron’s best food sources.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (Pernicious Anemia): B12 is needed to make red blood cells and to keep your nervous system working normally. This cause for anemia occurs often in people whose bodies are not able to absorb vitamin B12 from food because of an autoimmune disorder or intestinal problems. Also you can get this type of anemia if your diet is lacking in B12. If you are not getting enough vitamin B12, you may experience:
- memory loss
- visual problems
- problems walking
- numbness in legs & feet
Two good dietary sources of vitamin B12 are foods from animals and fortified breakfast cereals.
Folate deficiency anemia: Folate (folic acid) is also needed to make red blood cells. Again, this anemia cause can be caused by a diet lacking in folate or problems absorbing vitamins. Folate is a B vitamin, and for natural dietary treatment you will find it in foods such as:
- dried beans
- leafy green vegetables
- fortified breads, pastas, and cereals
Some diseases can hurt the body’s ability to make red blood cells. Anemia is commonly caused by:
- viral infections
- genetic disease
- cancer treatments
- some medications
- autoimmune diseases
- exposure to toxic chemicals
A blood test can determine if you are anemic and your doctor’s choice of treatment will depend on its cause. Some types of anemia may be life threatening if left untreated.
Keep you diet focused on a variety of food sources for health in your effort to prevent any malnutrition induced reasons.