G6PD deficiency is a heritable condition in which the body has a deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, which is an enzyme that aids red blood cells in their daily functioning and helps the body process carbohydrates into energy. This deficiency has been known to lead to hemolytic anaemia. Including more of certain foods and limiting certain foods can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of G6PD deficiency.
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Eating plenty of antioxidants can minimise red blood cells' susceptibility to damage due to G6PD deficiency. The kinds of foods that are richest in antioxidants are berries, cereals, vegetables, roots, seeds and nuts. For berries, try sour cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and black currants. Buy cereals that contain oats, barley, millet or corn. The vegetables highest in antioxidants are peppers, artichokes, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, parsley and red cabbage. Ginger and red beet roots are rich in antioxidants and so are sunflower seeds and walnuts.
Including the proper amount of vitamins in our diet is essential for good health, especially for someone with G6PD deficiency. It is important to ingest a certain amount of each vitamin each day either by eating vegetables and other foods high in vitamins or by taking a vitamin supplement. On a daily basis, an adult needs 50mg of vitamin B1, 50 mg of vitamin B3 and 50 mg of vitamin B6. Vitamin B12 should be taken twice a day in 500mcg (microgram) doses. It's also important to get plenty of folic acid.
A person with G6PD deficiency usually has difficult digesting fats, which causes problems with a low cholesterol level. A healthy level of cholesterol is essential for nerve health. A person who has an extremely low cholesterol is in danger of developing nerve problems such as multiple sclerosis. It's important for someone with G6PD deficiency to have a diet that is rich in fats such as animal fat and oils such as palm, coconut and olive.
Things to Avoid
A person with G6PD deficiency needs to avoid a diet high in iron, sulphites and carbohydrates. Because this deficiency can lead to hemolytic anaemia, which releases iron into the blood stream, there is a risk for a dangerous rise in the body's iron levels which can be fatal. However, iron levels should be regularly tested to make sure there aren't any problems. A person with G6PD deficiency should also avoid carbohydrates like those in white flour and refined sugar. Sulphites should also be avoided because they cannot be converted to any usable source for the body.
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