If you don’t want to suffer from anemia, it’s necessary to maintain normal hemoglobin levels in your blood. There are foods that can help you with this task and we will share them with you here.
But before that, we will show you the basic things that you should know about this vital protein and how it functions in your body.
What is hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is a protein that is found inside your red blood cells. Its function is to move oxygen from your lungs to your tissues, and carbon dioxide (CO2) from your tissues to your lungs.
Hemoglobin levels are different between men and women. In men, normal levels are 13.8 or 14 g/dl, while for women normal levels are 12.1 or 15 g/dl.
When a woman is pregnant, her hemoglobin levels should be at or above 11.0 g/dl.
For children, the levels vary depending on their age. It’s very important that their levels are normal for healthy growth:
- Children 6 months-4 years: 11 g/dl
- From 5-12 years: 11.5 g/dl
- From 12-15 years: 12.0 g/dl or more
Hemoglobin is the most valued reference to diagnose anemia. When hemoglobin levels are below the normal values, you could be anemic.
Hemoglobin is what gives your blood its red color. It has important functions for your body, which is why it should maintain stable levels.
To know and control your hemoglobin levels, you can do a blood test. It is called a hemogram, or “blood count.” To do this, they measure all of the components of your blood.
Deficiency of this protein is directly related to iron deficiency.As you may know, this could cause you to suffer from iron deficiency anemia (iron reduction in your body). In addition, it also isn’t good to have high hemoglobin levels because this could also cause severe damage.
Your hemoglobin levels depend on a proper diet, as well as regular exercise. However, these aren’t the only factors that can change your hemoglobin levels.
What Happens when You Have Low Hemoglobin Levels
Low hemoglobin levels can cause several problems. They may cause:
- Iron-deficiency anemia due to lack of iron. This is caused by poor iron absorption or not following a balanced diet.
- Heavy menstruation.
- Radiation therapy.
- Various types of cancer.
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Levels
Meanwhile, there are several symptoms of low hemoglobin levels. These include:
- Weight loss
- Pale skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Arrhythmia problems from irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating
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What Happens when You Have High Hemoglobin Levels?
On the other hand, when your hemoglobin levels are too high, you should be alert. After all, it could be an indicator of more serious health problems.
Next, we will tell you some possible causes:
- Brain tumors
- A stroke, caused by a cardiovascular accident
- Exposure to high altitutes
- Heart problems
- Lung problems
- Use of certain medications
Symptoms of High Hemoglobin Levels
Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Changes in skin color
- Difficulty breathing
- Issues with blood clotting
- Excessive bleeding
- Swelling of the spleen
- Redness in your face
- Burning or stinging
- Abdominal pain
What to Eat to Have Normal Hemoglobin Levels
A balanced diet that contains lots of iron helps to improve the production of this compound. Therefore, it normalizes your hemoglobin levels.
When your body doesn’t have enough iron, it looks for it from other sources and causes your hemoglobin level to drop. Therefore the foods you eat should have the appropriate levels of vitamin B-12, folate and iron.
Next, we’ll share the foods that you should include in your daily diet to maintain proper hemoglobin levels:
1. Foods Rich in Iron
You should eat the following foods to ensure you’re getting enough iron (while naturally being careful to avoid any allergic reaction):
- Red meat
- Legumes, such as lentils
- Vegetables, especially those with a dark green color
- Tree nuts, especially almonds
2. Foods that Give You Folic Acid
Folic acid is very important in the production of red blood cells. Some foods that contain it include:
- Fortified cereals
- Wheat germ
- Beef liver
- Black beans
3. Foods that Give You Vitamin B-12
- Animal products
- Fortified cereals
4. Food that Give You Vitamin C
Vitamin C facilitates iron absorption in your body. You can get vitamin C from these fruits and vegetables:
- Collard greens
- Bell peppers
Note: When your diet is high in vitamin C, it’s recommended that you consume a little more folic acid.
If you have low hemoglobin levels, you can increase them by making changes to your diet. There is also the alternative of taking natural remedies and if necessary, you can turn to a medical treatment.
Juices Good to Increase Hemoglobin
The juices that help to increase your low hemoglobin levels are made with red beets, carrots, lemons, and oranges.
Beet juice is good for your blood. Plus, it’s very helpful in cases of anemia that come from by problems in your bone marrow.
You can also mix beet juice with carrot juice or orange juice to increase low hemoglobin levels in an efficient manner.
Herbs that Have Special Properties to Increase Hemoglobin
- Dandelion: you can eat these flowers in salads or teas.
- Dill is good for when hemoglobin is low due to blood loss. Grind the seeds and use them as a condiment in other foods.
- Nettle contains a lot of iron and vitamins. Naturally, this makes it a great food to raise hemoglobin levels. You can eat its leaves in salads.
Foods that Alter Your Hemoglobin Levels
However, not all foods are good to eat when you are trying to maintain the adequate amount of hemoglobin. Some of the foods that you should avoid include:
Foods that Block Iron
These could inhibit your body from absorbing iron. Some of them are sodas, teas, parsley, milk, coffee, antacids, and foods with a lot of calcium and fiber.
Eat Less Gluten
Gluten can damage the lining of your small intestine in people that are sensitive to gluten. It can cause a deterioration in the absorption of nutrients like iron and folic acid, among others.