If you have been feeling sleepy and extremely tired all the time, then chances are that you may be suffering from anemia.
Anemia is one of the most common blood disorders in which the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry a proper amount of oxygen to various organs and tissues.
As the cells do not get an adequate amount of oxygen, they are unable to generate sufficient energy, and this leads to a constant feeling of fatigue and tiredness.
- Types of Anemia
- Causes of Anemia
- Symptoms of Anemia
- Preventing Anemia
- Home Remedies for Anemia
- Method 1: Blackstrap Molasses
- Method 2: Diet
- Method 3: Chlorophyll
- Method 4: Iron Supplements
- Method 5: Herbs
- Tips to keep in mind
Types of Anemia
Anemia can be caused by various factors ranging from iron deficiency to auto-immune diseases. Let us look at the three main types of anemia.
- Sickle-cell anemia – It is caused by an inherited disorder in which the red blood cells become crescent-shaped due to a genetic defect. This, in turn, causes them to break down rapidly resulting in low oxygen supply to the body cells. These crescent-shaped red blood cells can also get stuck in smaller blood vessels, causing pain.
- Iron-deficiency anemia – It is the most common type of anemia predominant everywhere in the world and is caused by malnutrition, eating an unhealthy or poor diet, and mineral loss due to menstruation (in women).
- Pernicious anemia – It is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, which is very often the result of poor absorption of minerals by the body due to conditions such as Crohn’s disease, a parasitic infection in the gastrointestinal tract, and auto-immune disorders such as HIV.
Causes of Anemia
Anemia can be caused by the following factors:
- Blood loss, destruction of red blood cells
- Gastric conditions such as stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis, and cancer that prevent proper absorption of nutrients.
- Advanced kidney or liver disease
- A low-iron diet, especially a vegetarian or vegan diet
- Old age
- Gender: Women are more likely to suffer from anemia due to loss of nutrients via menstruation, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
- Genetics: People of Hispanic and African-American ancestry are more likely to suffer from sickle-cell anemia.
- Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency (Pernicious anemia)
Symptoms of Anemia
Some of the most commonly observed symptoms of anemia are:
- Fatigue accompanied by dizziness
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- A pale or yellowish complexion
- Frequent headaches
- Hair loss
- Pica, an eating disorder that creates the desire to eat non-food items such as ice, paper, or clay.
- Shortness of breath, chest pain
You can keep the following guidelines in mind to prevent anemia caused by nutritional deficiency:
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in iron.
- Vegetarians and vegans need to be extra careful to include iron and vitamin B 12 in their diet.
- Reduce your daily consumption of tea and coffee as they inhibit the absorption of iron by your body.
- Eats loads of fresh fruits such as watermelons, bananas, and apples that have high iron content.
Home Remedies for Anemia
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms associated with anemia, set up an appointment with your doctor and get tested immediately.
The most common tests for diagnosis of anemia include complete blood count (CBC) to analyze iron-deficiency, and in some cases, a bone marrow test may also be conducted to determine the cause of anemia.
While sickle-cell anemia needs proper medical treatment, you can easily treat anemia caused by iron or vitamin B 12 deficiency at home by using incredibly simple natural remedies.
Method 1: Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses refers to the highly nutritious black liquid derived during the refining process of sugar. As the sugarcane syrup is transformed into sugar, the molasses is separated and extracted during the third stage of boiling of the sugarcane syrup.
While refined sugar is nothing but empty calories, blackstrap molasses is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because of which it is often referred to as a health elixir, especially for women.
As far as anemia is concerned, drinking blackstrap molasses daily can restore your iron levels within a matter of weeks. (6)
Single-Step Treatment: Mix blackstrap molasses in warm water & drink
- Take 1 glass of warm water.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses.
- Keep stirring with a spoon till the molasses is completely dissolved in the water.
- Drink it every morning with your breakfast to rejuvenate your health and energy levels.
- If you are consuming blackstrap molasses for the first time, you may begin by drinking 1 teaspoon daily, and gradually increase the dosage to 1 tablespoon per day.
Prepare and drink this concoction once daily for at least 2 months to restore your iron levels and treat anemia.
Method 2: Diet
One of the most crucial aspects when it comes to dealing with anemia is managing your diet. Instead of taking vitamin supplements, do your best to imbibe and absorb the required vitamins and minerals naturally.
# Vitamin C
Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a vital nutrient required by your body for the repair and regeneration of tissues; it also helps lower your LDL or bad cholesterol levels and boosts your heart.
Furthermore, you also need a healthy amount of vitamin C in your body to prevent conditions such as scurvy, yellow nails, and hair loss.
Vitamin C is also crucial in preventing anemia as it drastically boosts the absorption of iron during digestion. (6) Our bodies absorb natural ferrous iron much more easily and swiftly than the ferric form of iron.
However, if Vitamin C is present in the stomach at the time of digestion, it enables proper absorption of ferric iron by converting it into its absorbable ferrous form.
You can either take vitamin C supplements with every meal if your anemia is severe, or you can include vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, carrots, and broccoli in your meals.
Single-Step Treatment: Drink 1 glass of fresh orange juice daily
- Extract 1 fresh glass of orange juice in the morning.
- Drink along with your breakfast or lunch every day.
- Alternatively, you can also take 2 to 3 lemons or orange-flavored vitamin C lozenges daily.
Continue drinking a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice for at least 2 to 4 months to boost your iron levels via increased iron absorption by your digestive system.
# Vitamin B12
Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to pernicious anemia, a condition in which the body does not get enough vitamin B12 to produce enough healthy red blood cells.
It is an auto-immune condition in which the body is unable to absorb vitamin B12 naturally. (4) You can treat anemia by taking vitamin B12 supplements in a form that can be easily absorbed by the body.
- Dietary sources of vitamin B12 include animal products such as red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
- Vegetarians can boost their vitamin B12 levels via fortified cereals, milk, plain yogurt, cheese, and nutritional yeasts.
- For vegans, almond milk, soy milk, and tofu can serve as excellent sources of vitamin B12.
- For oral supplementation in case of pernicious anemia, the daily recommended dosage is 300 mcg of cyanocobalamin. Also, check out the table below to determine the amount of vitamin B12 required daily by your body.
You can also prepare any of the herbal smoothies described below to boost your iron levels and treat anemia.
# Apple-Cucumber Juice
An apple a day keeps the doctor away; well, in this case, an apple a day can treat anemia and also keep it at bay. Apples contain vitamin C and 0.12 mg of iron per 100 grams.
By combining it with cucumber, cilantro, and lemon, you can make a super drink to boost your health and successfully get rid of anemia.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple (contains iron and vitamin C) – 1
- Cucumber (contains vitamin C) – 1
- Lemon (contains vitamin C) – 1
- Cilantro (contains vitamin C) – A handful
Step 1. Carefully peel and slice an apple and cucumber
- Carefully peel a medium-sized apple.
- Use a sharp knife and cut it into 4 quarters.
- Make sure to cut off the top part of cucumber and remove its bitterness.
- Peel the cucumber and slice it into 4 quarters as well.
Step 2. Add the apple, cucumber, and cilantro into a juicer
- Add the apple and cucumber slices into the juicer.
- Add a handful of cilantro as well.
- Blend thoroughly to get a smooth texture.
Step 3. Add fresh lemon juice to the extracted juice; mix well and drink
- Pour out the prepared juice in a pitcher.
- Split a lemon and squeeze fresh juice from both halves into the pitcher.
- Mix well.
- Transfer into a glass and enjoy your iron-boosting herbal drink.
Drink this super healthy juice daily to boost your iron levels, and you will be free of anemia within 2 to 4 months.
# Beetroot Smoothie
Beetroot is incredibly rich in iron and consuming it daily will most definitely boost up your iron levels naturally. On the other hand, carrots are rich in vitamins A and C, while ginger contains vitamin C and iron. (7)
You can combine these 3 superfoods to make a super healthy smoothie that is extremely rich in both iron and the requisite vitamin C for its absorption.
Things you’ll need:
- Beetroot (contains iron and folate) – 1
- Apple Juice (contains iron and vitamin C) – 1 glass
- Carrots (contain vitamins A & C) – 3
- Ginger (contains iron and vitamin C) – 1 inch piece
Step 1. Take beetroot, carrots, and ginger in a juicer
- Peel and slice a medium-size beetroot and then add the slices into a mixer.
- Add 3 peeled carrots as well.
- Finally, add a 1-inch piece of peeled ginger root.
- Blend everything together in the mixer to get a smooth texture.
Step 2. Add fresh apple juice separately to the prepared mixture
- Transfer the prepared mixture into a mason jar.
- Add 1 glass of apple juice as well.
- Stir with a wooden spin to mix everything properly.
- Drink 1 glass daily with your breakfast or lunch.
Continue drinking this super juice for 2 to 4 months to restore your hemoglobin levels and get freedom from this debilitating condition.
# Pomegranate Drink
Pomegranates are another red food containing strong doses of iron, vitamin C, and folate. You can mix fresh pomegranate juice with honey and cinnamon for better digestion and iron absorption. (1)
Things you’ll need:
- Pomegranate juice (rich in iron, vitamin C, and folate) – 6 oz
- Honey (enables absorption of iron) – 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon (enables absorption of iron) – ½ teaspoon
Single-Step Treatment: Combine all ingredients & drink daily
- Take 6 oz of pomegranate juice in a glass.
- Add ½ teaspoon of organic cinnamon powder.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey as well.
- Stir all the ingredients thoroughly to get a uniform blend.
- Drink this once daily with your breakfast or lunch.
Drink this herbal blend for at least 3 to 4 months to successfully treat anemia.
# Spinach Juice
This dark leafy vegetable contains high quantities of calcium and iron, along with vitamins A and C; including these greens in your regular diet will greatly enhance your iron levels and help alleviate the symptoms of anemia.
You can also use the following recipe to make a potent blood-boosting remedy to successfully get rid of anemia. (5)
Things you’ll need:
- Spinach juice (contains iron and calcium) – ¼ cup
- Beetroot juice (contains iron and folate) – ¼ cup
- Orange juice (contains iron and vitamin C) – ¼ cup
- Lemon juice (contains vitamin C) – 1 lemon
Step 1. Combine spinach, beetroot and apple juice in a pitcher
- Take ¼ cup of fresh spinach juice in a pitcher.
- Add ¼ cup of orange juice.
- Add ¼ cup of fresh beetroot juice as well.
Step 2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and mix well
- Split a lemon into 2 and squeeze the juice from both halves into the pitcher.
- Give it a good stir to mix the ingredients well.
- Drink this concoction to boost your blood iron levels.
- You can drink this juice along with your lunch or as a healthy smoothie in the evening.
If you are suffering from anemia and have critically low blood hemoglobin levels, you must prepare and drink this herbal remedy once every day for 2 to 4 months at least.
Method 3: Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is the green pigment that gives plants their vibrant green hues; however, its purpose is not purely aesthetic. It is a vital component that enables photosynthesis, the process via which plants convert the sun’s light energy into a form that can be absorbed and used by all living beings.
You can take chlorophyll supplements to treat anemia as it increases your blood hemoglobin levels and boosts blood production. It is also rich in several essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K, and E. Chlorophyll also helps prevent cancer, detoxify your body, and lower your bad cholesterol levels. (8)
Single-Step Treatment: Take chlorophyll supplements to treat anemia
- Take 100 mg chlorophyll supplements thrice daily.
- Alternatively, you can drink 1 teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll in a glass of water daily in the morning.
Method 4: Iron Supplements
As one of the main causes of anemia is iron deficiency, which leads to lower levels of hemoglobin in the bloodstream, taking iron supplements can prove to be a highly effective treatment for anemia.
To be precise, this method is recommended for those who have iron-deficiency anemia. This occurs most often in menstruating women, who have heavy periods. If you experience heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycles, you should get tested for anemia. (6)
Pregnant women are also advised to get tested for an iron deficiency; if caught in time, it can be easily treated via supplements for a safer pregnancy and healthy delivery.
Single-Step Treatment: Take iron supplements to treat anemia
- The recommended daily dosage for adults is 600 mg of ferrous sulfate per day; this should be equally divided into 3 dosages of 200 mg for easy and safe absorption.
- Alternatively, you can take around 120 mg of elemental iron per day; just take care not to exceed this dosage and also split it into 3 doses of 40 mg per day.
- For infants up to 5 years of age, the recommended dose is 15 to 20 mg of ferrous sulfate per kg daily and alternatively 3 to 6 mg of elemental iron per kg daily.
- For children between the ages of 5 and 12, the limit is 300 mg ferrous sulfate per day or 60 mg elemental iron split into 3 equal doses.
- For teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18, the prescribed limit is 300 to 600 mg of ferrous sulfate per day or 60 to 120 mg elemental iron as per the level of iron-deficiency.
Method 5: Herbs
You can also use natural herbs such as yellow dock and nettle to boost the absorption of iron in your body.
# Yellow Dock
Yellow dock (Rumex elongatus) roots have been used in traditional medicine to treat skin infections, constipation, and even scurvy. (3)
You can prepare and consume the following yellow dock root-based tincture to boost your blood hemoglobin levels and get rid of anemia.
Single-Step Treatment: Prepare and drink yellow dock tonic
- Take 2 ounces of yellow dock root in a large jar.
- Pour in 4 cups of boiling water; fix on the airtight lid and leave it for at least 8 hours.
- Strain the prepared liquid and throw away the herbs.
- Next steam the liquid on low flame, till it is reduced to 1 cup.
- Add in 4 tablespoons of honey and bring to boil.
- Pour it while it is still hot in an airtight jar for storage.
Take 1 tablespoon twice daily; you can stir it in 1 cup of warm water and sip as tea. If you are going for commercial supplements, consult a doctor to determine the ideal dosage for you.
This medicinal herb is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K; you can brew and drink a cup of nettle tea after eating to enhance the absorption of iron by your body. An animal study confirms the use of nettle for the absorption of iron by the body. (2)
Single-Step Treatment: Brew a cup of nettle tea and drink
- Take some hot water in a cup.
- Take a tea bag containing dried nettle herb and steep in the hot water; you can use a spoon to push it to the bottom.
- Let it steep for 5 to 7 minutes.
- After 5 or 7 minutes, extract and remove the tea bag.
- Let the tea cool down a bit; drink it slowly by taking small sips.
You can drink 1 cup of this tea daily after your lunch or dinner for better absorption of iron in your body.
Tips to keep in mind
- Include pumpkin seeds in your diet as they have high iron content. Just buy some dry, roasted pumpkin seeds and munch them throughout the day.
- Eat loads of dark leafy greens such as kale, collard and mustard greens, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli to boost your iron levels.
- Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans are rich in iron and folate; eat them with vitamin C-rich foods such as tomato for better absorption.
- Shellfish including shrimps, clams, mussels, and oysters are extremely rich in heme-iron, which is absorbed more easily by your body. Include these in your regular diet to significantly enhance your hemoglobin levels.
- You can also consume 80% dark chocolate to treat anemia as it has an extremely high iron content.
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- Moll R, Davis B. Iron, vitamin B12 and folate. NeuroImage. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135730391730021X. Published March 8, 2017.
- Nurdiana N, Sarbini D. IRON CONTENT, HARDNESS AND ACCEPTABILITY OF BISCUITS FROM COMPOSITE CASSAVA AND WHEAT FLOURS SUBSTITUTED WITH GREEN SPINACH FLOUR. Indigenous: Jurnal Ilmiah Psikologi. http://journals.ums.ac.id/index.php/JK/article/view/6998. Published 2018.
- Schrier, SL. Patient education: Anemia caused by low iron in adults (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/anemia-caused-by-low-iron-in-adults-beyond-the-basics?source=history_widget. Published 2017.
- Jayasankari, Samson R, Prasanna K, Raju LL, Akila B. A Study to assess The effectiveness of Nutrition Supplement with Beetroot, Jaggery and Lemon on Mild Anemia among Nursing Students in A Selected College of Nursing at Puducherry. International Journal of Advances in Nursing Management. http://ijanm.com/AbstractView.aspx?PID=2017-5-4-5. Published December 6, 2017.
- Suparmi S, Sampurna S, et. al. Anti-anemia Effect of Chlorophyll from Katuk (Sauropus ... Pharmacognosy Journal. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305743180. Published July 2016.