When you go to donate blood, the doctor will prick your finger, take a drop of your blood, and in a few moments, he will tell you whether you can donate blood or not. What they’re checking is your hemoglobin. When your hemoglobin is low, they will tell you that you cannot donate blood.
Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells which transports oxygen in your blood. It carries the oxygen that enters your lungs to the rest of your body.
The normal amount of hemoglobin that a person should have depends on their age and gender. If you have a low hemoglobin level, it means you have a lower number of red blood cells than is normal. So your hemoglobin reflects the number of red blood cells that are present in your body. This condition is called anemia or low red blood count.
If you have low hemoglobin, you might feel unusual tiredness, headaches, dizziness, dry and damaged skin and hair. You might even face some shortness of breath.
Natural Way to Increase Your Hemoglobin
Low hemoglobin also means that you have an iron deficiency. So one of the ways that you can increase your hemoglobin is by taking an iron supplement, or by eating foods that are rich in iron. Iron boosts the production of hemoglobin and thus the production of red blood cells. Some foods that are rich in iron include meat and fish, eggs, dried fruits, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and also peanut butter.
Folate (Vitamin B)
A person also needs folate to help in the production of hemoglobin. Folate is a type of vitamin B that helps in the production of hemoglobin. If you do not get enough folate, your red blood cells will not be able to mature which could lead to low hemoglobin and anemia. Some of the food that you can include in your diet is beef, lettuce, avocados, kidney beans, peanuts, rice, and spinach. There are also folate supplements that you can take in case you aren’t getting enough folate from your food intake.
It is important that a person must have a combination of both iron and Vitamin C, as Vitamin C is what you can call a carrier rich molecule which helps the body to better absorb the iron from the food that you eat. You can eat foods like oranges, lemons, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, and even tomatoes to get your fill of Vitamin C that the body needs.
You may definitely have heard of the saying, ‘An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away’. Well in this case too, as in many other cases, it is true. An apple contains iron and other healthy components that help maintain a normal and healthy haemoglobin count. There are two ways to do this. Either you can have a whole apple every day, or you can have a half a cup of apple juice and half a cup of beetroot juice every day.
The alternative to eating an apple is having pomegranate which is also rich in iron, calcium, fiber, and protein. This high nutritional value of pomegranates can help increase your haemoglobin and promote healthy blood flow throughout your body.
Doctors have also suggested drinking nettle tea to increase hemoglobin. Nettle is a herb that is rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, and Iron. These as you now know, play a key role in raising your hemoglobin level. Here’s what you need to do. Take 2 teaspoons of dried nettle leaves and add it to a cup of hot water. Let it soak for 10 minutes before straining it and adding honey to it. Having this twice a day, daily can help increase your haemoglobin levels.
Now coming to the food you must not consume. You must avoid iron blockers. There are some foods that can block your body’s ability to absorb iron. You must avoid these foods especially if you have low hemoglobin. Drinks like coffee, tea, wine, beer, and all aerated drinks are iron blockers and you must avoid this at least till you are able to raise your hemoglobin level.
And last but not least is exercise. You probably thought changing your diet would be enough but here comes exercise to ruin that thought. Exercise is a great way to increase your hemoglobin because your body will automatically produce more hemoglobin to meet the increasing demand for oxygen that your body now has when you do moderate to workouts. So it can be really helpful to fit in some exercise into that busy schedule of yours when you have low levels of haemoglobin.
Having low haemoglobin levels can cause a lot of hindrance and hamper your daily activities, so it is wiser to keep an eye out for any such deficiencies and in the meantime include some of these foods and some exercise into your diet and schedule so that you may not have to one day worry about having a low hemoglobin.
Kaitlyn Kristy is a Content Strategist. She graduated from Hamilton College, New York with Bachelor’s Degree in Creative writing. She lives in New York, with her family. She researches and writes custom content. She loves to write on health, lifestyle, fitness and exercise, food, relationship, and parenting. Kaitlyn loves reading, cooking, and traveling.