Foods to Treat Anemia

Anemia occurs when your blood has an insufficient number of red-blood cells. This condition also can develop if your red-blood cells don't contain enough of the iron-fortified protein haemoglobin that helps red blood cells move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Anemia can be short-lived or chronic and may be caused by a variety of factors.A healthy diet may enough to prevent and even treat anaemia.

Signs & Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, anaemia may be asymptomatic when it first develops. As the condition progresses, some of its signs may include tiredness and a quick or sporadic heartbeat. Other symptoms associated with anaemia are chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, cold hands and feet, and pale skin.

Iron & Vitamin Deficiency

The Mayo Clinic reports anaemia that is caused by an iron deficiency is common, striking up to 2 per cent of adults in the U.S.

A diet low in folate and vitamin B-12 also make conditions ripe for anaemia to develop. A deficiency of these nutrients can lead to a decline in the creation of red-blood cells.

Poor Diet & Anemia

People of all ages who regularly eat a diet lacking in adequate amounts of iron and vitamins are in danger of becoming anaemic. Your doctor may recommend dietary changes in addition to taking vitamins or iron supplements. Vitamin C helps the body soak up iron.

Meat & Dairy Products

The National Institutes of Health says red meats, especially beef or liver can help treat anaemia. Chicken, pork, turkey, fish and shellfish may also be beneficial because they too are good sources of vitamin B12. Dairy products including eggs, milk yoghurt and cheese are also full of B12.

Fruits & Vegtables

The NIH recommends eating plenty of dried fruits such as raisins along with apricots, bananas, oranges and peaches to counteract the effects of anaemia. Other dietary remedies for anaemia include dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, as well as peas and white, red and baked beans. These foods are rich in folic acid, a form of vitamin B, and vitamin C.

Iron-Rich Foods

According to the NIH, iron is added to bread, cereal and pasta. The nutritional information label on the item will say exactly how much iron it contains. The amount is given as a percentage of the recommended daily intake of iron.


Many types of anaemia can't be prevented. However, you can help avoid iron-deficiency anaemia and vitamin-deficiency-induced anaemias by eating a healthy and varied diet.

The Mayo Clinic reports no treatment for anaemia that develops as a result of chronic disease. In cases of aplastic (bone-marrow failure) anaemia, a blood transfusion may be necessary to increase red-blood cell levels.

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About the Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.