How to Increase Red Blood Cells

There are between 4,500,000 and 5,400,000 red blood cells in a typical human adult. A deficiency of such is called "anemia" and an excess "polycythemia".
How to Increase Red Blood Cells

Last update: 11 August, 2022

Red blood cells are a major component of the makeup of your blood. Therefore, it’s essential to keep them at healthy levels. However, it’s important to understand how they work before knowing how to increase them naturally.

Also called “erythrocytes”, these the cells you have most in your blood. Their main component is hemoglobin and they obtain metabolic energy through lactic fermentation.

Here are some interesting facts about blood:

  • Red blood cells live approximately 100 or 120 days. After that time, the bone marrow produces another “group” of erythrocytes.
  • Each molecule of hemoglobin has 4 iron atoms which bind to the oxygen molecules.
  • Each erythrocyte is 33 percent hemoglobin.
  • Normal values ​​of hemoglobin are 14 g./dl. in women and 15.5 g./dl. in men.
  • Red blood cells eliminate carbon dioxide.

How to increase red blood cells

In order to increase them in an easy, healthy, and natural way, we recommend making some changes in your diet.

Eating foods rich in iron allows your body to rebuild and replace lost nutrients. Iron increases red blood cells and also helps them fulfill their function.

1. Consume foods that are rich in iron

A bowl of mixed nuts to increase red blood cells.

Some foods that are richest in iron are:
  • Egg yolks
  • Meat (liver)
  • Legumes (lentils, beans)
  • Vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Nuts (plums and raisins)

2. Consume more copper to get more red blood cells

Adults need between 8 and 18 mg. of this mineral every day. Women need more than men during their reproductive years since they lose copper during menstruation.

It’s an essential nutrient for cells to access iron. The foods that contribute the most are nuts, beans, liver, poultry, and more.

3. Get more folic acid

Leafy Green Vegetables

Vitamin B9 helps the production of red blood cells. You can suffer from anemia if you don’t have enough folic acid.

In addition, it plays an essential role in the function of DNA. About 400 mcg. is recommended for women during their reproductive years and 600 mcg. when they’re pregnant.

So, where can you get folic acid? Mainly from whole grains, beans, nuts, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach or Swiss chard.

4. Get more vitamin A for more red blood cells

Vitamin A, also called “retinol”, is a very important compound for the development of red blood cell stem cells in bone marrow.

It ensures hemoglobin is processed by allowing iron in. Among the foods that provide the most vitamin A are citrus, carrots, zucchini, and green leafy vegetables.

5. Increase your vitamin C intake

Fruits Full of Vitamin C

This nutrient has many properties such as strengthening your immune system and preventing infections and various diseases.

In addition, vitamin C stimulates the body’s ability to absorb iron and, consequently, increases the amount of these cells. Citrus fruits are the ones that provide most of this vitamin.

6. Incorporate more vitamin B12

A good amount of this nutrient favors the production of erythrocytes in bone marrow and increases their presence in the blood. In order to provide your body with vitamin B12, we recommend you consume these foods:

  • Eggs
  • Veal
  • Wheat germ
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Mushrooms
  • Soy (in any form)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, etc.)
  • Dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese, better if they’re skim and sugar free)

7. Exercise

Woman Doing Exercises

A sedentary lifestyle has many negative effects on your health. Not only does it reduce your number of red blood cells, it also doesn’t allow for the creation of new copies.

Exercise is essential to having health iron levels and for your overall quality of life. Routines that include at least a few minutes of cardio (running, jogging, cycling, etc.) are recommended because they favor oxygenation of the entire body.

8. No smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits people have, especially taking into account that nicotine and other chemicals present in cigarettes reduce oxygen and don’t allow adequate blood flow.

In short, smoking “squeezes” blood vessels and hinders the work of red blood cells.

9. Drink less alcohol for more red blood cells

Do not drink alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages convert blood into a thicker, slower liquid with less oxygen that can’t be transported properly.

In addition, alcohol produces immature red blood cells without enough hemoglobin. Therefore, drinking too much alcohol is another habit that’s harmful to your health and has a negative impact on erythrocyte levels.

10. Get routine checkups

Go at least once a year to get complete blood tests. With a sample, it’s possible to analyze the general conditions and the levels of not only your red blood cells but also of cholesterol, iron, urea, creatinine, glucose, etc.

Consulting your doctor is essential

It’s very important to track data that’s outside of normal levels. Finally, if there’s any disorder or irregularity, your physician will prescribe the most appropriate treatment to resolve it.