Cooking and Dining

How to Avoid Anemia as a Vegetarian

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I received an email from someone the other day asking for advice on what foods he should eat to help get rid of his anemia. For those of you who don’t know, anemia is actually a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Without the right amount of hemoglobin, your red blood cells can’t use the oxygen that you breathe into your body, and your cells and organs do not function properly, leading to a fatigued feeling.

Anemia is considered the most common blood condition in the U.S., as it affects about 3.5 million Americans. Women, and people with chronic diseases, are often at an increased risk of anemia. Some of the conditions associated with anemia are sickle cell anemia, Iron-deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency and bone marrow and stem cell problems, but there are known foods that can help get rid of, prevent, or reduce the severity of anemia.

Consuming foods high in vitamin B12, Iron and folic acid can prevent anemia from occurring in most cases.

Foods that are very rich in iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid include:

  • black-strap molasses
  • prunes (dried plums)
  • bran flakes
  • raisins
  • potatoes
  • lentils such as black beans
  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • split peas
  • tofu
  • cashew nuts
  • pumpkin seeds
  • pumpkin
  • kale
  • most greens

The fact that vitamin C increases your iron absorption in the body, and calcium and oxalic acid actually decreases your absorption, is something to think about when you plan your meals.

If you are still worried about developing severe anemia, organic supplements, such as Vegan Society Certified Deva Vegan Multivitamin, Mineral Supplement, Nature Made Iron Tablets, Nature Made Folic Acid Tablets and Nature Made Vitamin B-12 Tablets, are always an option.

How to Avoid Anemia as a Vegetarian