Foods to Increase Hemoglobin Levels

To increase hemoglobin levels, we should try to eat a balanced and varied diet. We'll tell you some more tips and provide you with a list of healthy foods in this article.
Foods to Increase Hemoglobin Levels
José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli

Reviewed and approved by the doctor José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

In order to increase hemoglobin levels in your body and regain your overall health and well-being, it’s essential to adopt and maintain a balanced diet. This diet should include foods from all of the various food groups in sufficient quantities. Of course, it’s also advisable to take advantage of natural and healthy sources of iron.

In this article, we’ll discuss what these sources are and what other contributions they can provide when included regularly (and in moderation) in your diet.

Hemoglobin, anemia, iron, and your diet

Experts from the Spanish Association of People Affected by Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia (AEAL) point out that hemoglobin is a substance rich in iron whose function is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body’s cells.

In order to perform its functions correctly and have adequate hemoglobin levels, the body needs to obtain iron through food. Otherwise, anemia occurs.

To find out whether your body’s hemoglobin levels are normal or altered, a doctor must order a blood test. This test is usually necessary when the person reports symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, cold, irritability, tiredness, lack of energy, sleepiness, etc.

Blood tests are routinely indicated to evaluate the state of a person’s health and to detect problems such as anemia in time.

How to increase hemoglobin levels in the body naturally

If the doctor confirms that the person has anemia and prescribes a treatment, she or he will indicate the changes to be made to the diet to get more iron. Bearing this in mind, these are some of the most appropriate measures.

Eat enough foods that contain a good supply of iron

To increase your body’s hemoglobin levels and leave anemia behind, it’s essential to improve your eating habits and try to integrate more healthy sources of iron into your diet. 

These include the following:

  • Foods of animal origin: These foods provide an abundant amount of iron, and the good thing is that thanks to these foods, the body has an easier task of absorbing the nutrient it needs so much. Animal protein is easier for the body to access than most plant proteins, in this sense. Lamb, beef liver, minced meat, clams, shrimp, chicken liver, and oysters are some of the recommended foods that are abundant in iron.
  • Vegetables: Vegetarians or vegans don’t need to worry about their iron intake if they eat the right foods, especially leafy greens like chard and spinach and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. However, don’t forget to eat potatoes with their skin, beets, tomatoes, and pumpkin, as well.
  • Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas are some great examples of legumes that can help you increase iron levels.
  • Fruits: Bananas and grapes top the list of fruits that can help increase the body’s iron levels, followed by figs. These three fruits are delicious, can be consumed in countless recipes and desserts, and increase the amount of iron and hemoglobin levels in the body.
  • Other foods and supplements: Tofu, barley, flaxseed, and milk are also great to include in your diet to improve your iron levels.

We think you might find this interesting: Iron and Calcium: Their Importance in a Woman’s Life

Avoid excess sugar to increase hemoglobin levels
Avoiding extra sugar can help to increase hemoglobin levels in the body.

Improve iron absorption to increase hemoglobin levels

Next, it’s important to remember that some food combinations are beneficial, and others are more detrimental to increase or decrease iron absorption. For example, citrus fruits (and any food containing vitamin C) help to improve iron absorption.

On the contrary, dairy products cause the body to reduce its absorption capacity, so it’s recommended that you eat milk and cheeses one hour before consuming foods that contain a lot of iron, like meat.

Also, soda and soft drinks, chocolate, and coffee hinder iron absorption. Hence, it’s not advisable to consume them together with your main meals, but some time after (from 40 minutes onwards and always in moderation).

Foods that provide folic acid to increase hemoglobin levels

Folic acid (or vitamin B9) helps the body to produce red blood cells, and therefore, it also has an important role in hemoglobin values. It’s present in the following foods:

  • Beans and peas
  • Nuts
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Fruits such as oranges, lemons, bananas, or melon

Other healthy foods to increase hemoglobin levels

  • Almonds contain a lot of copper. This, together with iron and some vitamins, exerts its catalytic power in the synthesis of hemoglobin. You can even make an almond paste to add to your diet. To do this, soak seven almonds for two hours and then grind them and remove their thin red skin. Eat this paste once a day, on an empty stomach.
  • Sesame seeds: These seeds are a rich source of iron. In addition to adding them to your recipes, you can also place a tablespoon of seeds in a cup of hot water for a few hours and then grind and filter them. Mix the crushed seeds in a cup of milk with sugar and drink daily.
  • Spinach is rich in iron, which forms hemoglobin and red blood cells. In fact, it can be used to prevent anemia and treat it.
Spinach is very healthy
Spinach provides countless benefits for increasing the body’s iron and hemoglobin levels. Make sure it’s a part of your diet!

A healthy diet helps us to have normal hemoglobin levels

As you’ve seen, it’s essential to eat healthy to have normal hemoglobin levels. Of course, it’s also very important to maintain other good lifestyle habits and avoid excesses.

Remember that if you have anemia, it’s not recommended to consume coffee or tea in large quantities. If you are going to do so, try to drink it 40-45 minutes after your main meal so that you don’t impair your body’s absorption of iron and other nutrients.

Finally, keep in mind that if you have any questions or concerns about following a diet according to your needs, you can always consult your doctor. A professional will know how to guide you to start improving your diet and get the most out of it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.