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Ways to fight anaemia

health-and-fitness Updated: Feb 06, 2013 17:59 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Hindustan Times
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I have recently been diagnosed as anaemic, even though I’ve always maintained a balanced diet. How does one get anaemia?
Possible causes of anaemia are intestinal parasites, lack of vitamin B12, folic acid in the diet, infections, drugs which affect RBC formation, excessive bleeding due to injury, bleeding piles or excessive menstruation, leukemia and inherited diseases like thalassemia. Emotional strain, anxiety and worry, which hinders the production of hydrochloric acid needed for digestion of iron and proteins in the body, could also lead to anaemia.

Are there any food supplements that I can take to increase iron content in my body?
Iron can be taken as a supplement. Most commonly and readily bio-available forms include ferrous sulphate, ferrous fumarate and ferrous gluconate. To maximise its bio-availability, it is advisable to take an iron supplement with vitamin C. Use iron supplements only if required and avoid taking them for a long time as they might store excess iron in the body.

How does vitamin C help get rid of anaemia? What foods have high vitamin C content?
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Good dietary sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits (like oranges, grapefruits), mangoes, apricots, strawberries and watermelons. Vegetables rich in vitamin C include broccoli, capsicum, tomatoes, cabbage, radish, potatoes and leafy green vegetables like fenugreek and spinach. Amla (Indian gooseberry) is the richest source of vitamin C.

My mother has been detected with lumps in the breast, which can cause cancer. I have heard that cabbage has cancer–fighting properties. Is it true?
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is to improve your mother’s immune system. Yes, most cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) have great health benefits. These vegetables help fight cancer because they have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Red as well as green cabbage helps to prevent cancer. You need to eat it partially cooked (stir–fried), raw (as a salad) or as a juice. You may also choose to steam it slightly to receive its health benefits. Apart from cancer prevention, cabbage offers cardiovascular support, aids digestion and is a good source of vitamin C, fibre, heart–healthy folate, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and potassium, among others. Consume cabbage two to three times per week to enjoy its health benefits.