Have you been feeling tired lately? Maybe you’re anemic. If your body’s tissues aren’t getting adequate oxygen, you might lack enough healthy red blood cells. This is called “anemia,” also known as low hemoglobin, and it can make you feel weak and tired. Other symptoms can include pale skin, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and cold hands and feet.
If your body isn’t making enough red blood cells, or you’ve been bleeding to the point where you’re losing red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced, you might be anemic; Your body could also be destroying red blood cells, too, for whatever reason. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. In order to produce red blood cells, your body needs iron, vitamin B-12, folate and other nutrients from foods you eat.
How’s your current diet? Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? A diet low in iron, vitamin B-12, etc., could be contributing to your fatigue. Anemia can also develop thanks to intestinal disorders, chronic conditions, and, for women, menstruation/pregnancy issues.
So, what can you do to combat anemia? You should make sure you get more nutritious foods in you. For starters, iron-rich foods can help– these include beef, beans, lentils, dried fruit and dark green leafy vegetables. Then you should get more vitamin B-12 from things like meat, dairy products, and fortified cereals. It doesn’t hurt to also boost your vitamin C intake through citrus juices, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries and melons. And you’ll want to improve your folate intake by eating green peas, kidney beans, peanuts and enriched grain products like bread, pasta or rice.
If not treated, anemia can cause problems, including poor immunity, severe weakness and possible heart failure. Those most likely to experience anemia include women, infants, people over 65 and those taking blood thinners.
In order to help manage anemia, follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and wash your hands often to avoid infection. Talk to your doctor(s) about any changing symptoms, and perhaps keep a diary of your symptoms over time. Additionally, avoid certain foods and drinks while battling anemia, including coffee, tea, milk, egg whites and soy protein.