“Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein present in red blood cells which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. It is necessary to maintain normal levels of hemoglobin in your blood for your body to function properly.
Normal level of Haemoglobin or Hb is 14 to 16 g/dl for adult men and 12 to 16 g/dl for adult women. A person with low Haemoglobin is said to be anaemic.
When the level of hemoglobin reduces, it results weakness, tiredness, headache, breathlessness, dizziness, poor appetite and increased heartbeat.
If the level of hemoglobin decreases significantly, the condition may be diagnosed as anemia and symptoms can become severe”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital.
According to UNICEF’s report released in the 2011, close to 56% teenage Indian girls could be anaemic. The report further states that, “issues like malnutrition and anemia affect large sections of the Indian population”.
Who Needs More Iron ?
“Everyone needs iron, but people who are particularly susceptible to low hemoglobin includes menstruating women, pregnant women, growing children and patients recovering from illnesses”, says Dr. Ahuja.
“It is a crucial stage when a female starts menstruating, because the body is losing out on a lot of blood. Your body needs more iron at that point, so if you don’t take precautions early on – it can lead to anemia in the future”, adds Dr. Anshul Jaibharat, Delhi-based Nutritionist.
According to experts some natural ways to restore your hemoglobin to normal levels is listed below. The length of time you’ll need to continue using these effective remedies depends on your hemoglobin level and how often your doctor checks it for improvement.
Six Ways to Increase Hemoglobin
- Iron-Rich Foods : Iron deficiency is the most common cause of low hemoglobin levels, according to the National Anemia Action Council. “The top iron rich foods include green leafy vegetables like spinach, beetroot, tofu, asparagus, chicken liver, whole egg, oysters, apple, pomegranate, apricot, watermelon, prunes, pumpkin seeds, dates, almonds, raisins, amla and jaggery”, said Dr. Anshul Jaibharat.
- Vitamin C Intake : A combination of both iron and vitamin C is needed as the latter is a carrier rich molecule that can be used for better absorption of iron according to Dr Anju Sood Bangalore-based Nutritionist. Eat foods rich in vitamin C such as oranges, lemon, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, grapefruit and tomatoes.
- Improve Folic Acid Intake : Folic acid, a B-complex vitamin, is necessary to make red blood cells and a folic acid deficiency automatically leads to a low level of hemoglobin according to Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. Some good food sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, sprouts, dried beans, wheat germ, peanuts, bananas, broccoli and chicken liver. “Beetroot is also highly recommended to increase the body’s red blood cell count as it is high in folic acid as well as iron, potassium and fiber”, addsNutritionist and Dietician Sheela Krishnaswamy.
- Fruits like Apple and Pomegranate : Apple helps to maintain a normal level of hemoglobin, as they are rich in iron plus other health-friendly components that are required for a healthy hemoglobin count. One can either eat 1 apple a day, or drink juice made with ½ cup each of apple and beetroot juice twice a day. Add a dash of ginger or lemon juice for extra flavour.
“Pomegranate is also rich in iron, calcium, fiber and protein. Its nutritional value can help increase hemoglobin and promote healthy blood flow”, says Dr. Jaibharat.
- Say No to Iron Blockers : Avoid eating foods that can block your body’s ability to absorb iron, especially if you have a low hemoglobin count i.e. coffee, tea, cola drinks, wine, beer, etc.
- Exercise : Moderate to high intensity workouts are highly recommended, because when we exercise, our body produces more hemoglobin to meet the increasing demand for oxygen throughout the body.
Source : NDTV