Haemoglobin is the protein molecule that is found in the blood’s red cells, and is responsible for the transportation of oxygenated blood from the lungs to the different tissues and organs in the body.
Once the blood reaches the designated tissue, there is an exchange and the haemoglobin then carries de-oxygenated (full of carbon dioxide) blood from the tissues and back to the lungs. This function is enabled by the presence of an iron atom that is contained in the Heme part of the cells. It is this iron that gives blood its characteristic red colour.
It is obvious therefore, the main role that Haemoglobin plays in the body. For this reason, it is important that the body maintains healthy levels of haemoglobin in the blood. Normal values have a slight variation between men and women.
They range between 12 -16g/dl in adult women 14-18g/dl in adult men. It is very important to note that these values are indicated for adults as infants and children levels tend to change as they grow up. More importantly, these values may have a slight variation depending o the specific tests and measurement methods used.
When one has low haemoglobin levels, the body starts to show symptoms that include extreme fatigue, dizziness, consistent headaches as well as shortness of breath even after doing a seemingly simple task. Some affected persons will also start to experience increased heart rate, poor appetite as well as pale skin. When haemoglobin levels are considerably low, then anaemia sets in with more intense symptoms.Women are particularly predisposed to low haemoglobin levels owing to natural biological processes in the body, including menstrual cycle, pregnancy and child birth.
Other causes of low haemoglobin levels include blood loss from a surgical procedure, conditions that affect the bone marrow, diabetes as well as diseases that target the digestive system. As a general guide, it is important to get medical attention to establish the cause of the low levels at your doctor’s appointment. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend medication. In mild cases, there are a number of natural remedies that may be used to increase haemoglobin level.
1. Increase Your Intake of Foods Rich in Haemoglobin:
Time Required: Varies depending on food preparation
What You Need: Foods that have a high concentration of iron.
One of the most ubiquitous ways of increasing haemoglobin levels in the body is to increase one’s intake of foods that are rich in iron. This is important for the simple reason that low haemoglobin levels have been associated with iron deficiency in the body. Additionally, iron is important for the synthesis of haemoglobin. To ensure that the body does not suffer iron deficiency, it is important to take foods that are extremely rich in iron on a regular basis.
- Some of the foods that are recognized for their high concentration of iron include green leafy vegetables such as fresh spinach, broccoli, fenugreek leaves and kale.
- Fruits and nuts that are excellent sources of iron include apricot, apples, raisins, almonds and watermelon.
- Other foods that are rich in iron and which make for a great addition to your diet include chicken liver, oysters, tofu, whole egg, millet and jaggery.
- You may also opt for iron supplements, but you need to check with your personal doctor because extremely high levels of iron are toxic to the body’s internal structure.
2. Add Folic Acid to Your Diet:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific food.
What You Need: Foods that are rich in folic acid.
Adding folic acid to your diet is one of the natural ways in which you can increase haemoglobin levels in the blood. There is a simple connection between the two. Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin that is required for the production of red blood cells. In its absence, the body is not able to produce adequate amounts of haemoglobin. As is the case with iron deficiency, to cater for this, you will need to take foods that are rich in folic acid. This is especially important for pregnant women as the strain caused by the growing child on the mother’s nutrients increases the need for folic acid.
- Take foods that are rich in folic acid to prevent low levels of haemoglobin. Excellent food sources include green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, wheat germ, dried beans and liver. Fortified cereals are also an excellent way to snack while increasing folic levels in the body. You may also add peanuts and brussel sprouts.
- Folic acid supplements are also an option, but check with your doctor to get the recommended dosage, especially for expectant women taking antenatal clinics.
3. Increased Vitamin C Intake:
Time Required: Varies depending on the preferred method of preparation.
What You Need: Foods and fruits that are rich in Vitamin C.
Low haemoglobin levels have been linked to low levels of Vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays a key role in the proper absorption of dietary iron, which is in turn required for the production of haemoglobin by the body. In fact, dietary iron cannot be optimally absorbed by the body in the absence of Vitamin C. For this reason, it is advisable to take foods that are rich in both Vitamin C and iron to ensure optimal absorption of the iron required. Vitamin C also has the advantage of boosting the immune system, and this comes in handy in cases where low haemoglobin levels are attributed to infections and surgery.
- Take foods and fruits that are rich in Vitamin C. the most popular groups of fruits in this regard is the citrus fruits that include oranges, tangerines, lemons and lime. Other fruits that have a high concentration of vitamin C include strawberries, grapefruits, papaya and kiwi. You may prepare a fruit salad that includes a number of the fruits mentioned above for a powerful remedy to increase haemoglobin levels in the body. Other sources of Vitamin C include broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes and bell pepper.
- The other option involves taking Vitamin C supplements. Follow the dosage provided after consulting with your doctor.
4. Blackstrap Molasses:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon each of blackstrap molasses and apple cider vinegar each as well as 1 cup of warm water.
Blackstrap molasses are a nutritious inclusion for anyone with low haemoglobin levels. This is because the molasses are extremely rich in iron and folic acid, both of which are required for the synthesis of haemoglobin in the body. What’s more, the molasses also contain B vitamins that are helpful in the optimum production of red blood cells. You will need equal amounts of the blackstrap molasses and apple cider vinegar for easy preparation of this remedy as follows.
- Mix the blackstrap molasses with the apple cider vinegar and stir well.
- Add the mixture to a cup containing warm water.
- Take this remedy once daily in order to enjoy its benefits in increasing haemoglobin levels.
5. Beet Roots:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Medium-sized beetroot, 3 fresh carrots and a small piece of sweet potato. You will need a juicer for this remedy. Gloves (optional).
Beetroot is one of the remedies recommended for increasing haemoglobin levels, thanks to its high concentration of iron and folic acid, both of which are required for its synthesis in the body. This nutritional value also has a tremendously positive effect on the red blood cell count.
Other benefits of using beetroot is that it is rich in fiber and potassium. For this remedy preparation, you will need to juice the beetroot alongside the carrots and sweet potato. The carrots are a natural sweetener, and are packed with antioxidants which ensure optimal cell function. The sweet potato makes the juice more viscous and is also packed with nutrients that add to the body’s fiber intake.
- Peel the beetroot and then proceed to clean it. You may prefer to wear gloves because beetroot has a very intense colour which may easily stain your hands.
- Chop the beetroot into small pieces, or use a grater to get medium sized shavings.
- Peel and clean the carrots and then cut into similarly sized pieces.
- Do the same for the sweet potato.
- Transfer everything to the juicer and turn on.
- Enjoy this beetroot juice once daily to increase your haemoglobin levels.
6. Apple Juice:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Apple, 1 small-sized beetroot, a dash of freshly grated ginger and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional).
It is said an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and research shows that an apple a day has excellent benefits for your haemoglobin levels. Apples are very rich in iron, which is known to play a key role in Haemoglobin production in the body. Apples also have a high concentration of antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the blood stream. To prepare the juice, you will need an apple and beetroot for combined effect. Ginger and/or lemon juice may be added to enhance the taste.
- Peel and clean both the apple and beetroot before chopping into small pieces.
- Mix the tow and proceed to juice them.
- You may add some freshly grated ginger and/or the juice of one lemon.
- Stir and take this remedy at least twice daily, preferably on an empty stomach.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Medium sized pomegranate.
Pomegranates are a delicious class of fruit that are rich in iron and calcium, and which come in handy in increasing haemoglobin levels. Its deep intense colour also makes the fruit appealing, and there is no better way than to enjoy this remedy in its natural form. The fruits are also rich in fiber, which aids in proper digestion and allows absorption of iron from the gut.
- Enjoy a medium sized pomegranate daily. You may also choose to take pomegranate juice daily at breakfast for a healthy addition and effective remedy.
8. Engage in Physical Activity:
Time Required: Varies depending on your routines.
What You Need: To create an exercise routine.
One of the ways to increase haemoglobin levels in the long run is to engage in physical activity on a regular basis. The logic behind this is that the more the body exercises, the more it creates a need for increased haemoglobin. This is done to meet the higher demand of oxygen across the body. Take note however, that the intensity of the exercises should be dependent on one’s state of health. If there are any pre-existent conditions, then that must be factored in before creating a routine.
- Start off with gentle exercises and build up on these to moderate exercises. Cardio workouts and aerobic exercises are recommended.
Time Required: 20 Min
What you Need: 1 Tablespoon of dried nettle leaves, 1 cup of hot water, a strainer and a tablespoon of honey.
Nettle is a herb that has long been used to treat different conditions thanks to its diverse healing properties. When used to increase haemoglobin levels, the herb is preferred because it is a rich source of iron, Vitamin C and the B-group of vitamins, all of which, as explained above, play an integral role in the production of haemoglobin. You will need dried nettle leaves to prepare the nettle tea by following the simple directions below.
- Place the dried nettle leaves in a cup of hot water and allow steeping for 10-15 minutes.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer and then stir in some honey.
- Drink the nettle tea twice every day.
In addition to the remedies above, it is also important to reduce or completely eliminate your intake of foods that contain iron-blockers. These are typically foods which, when consumed alongside those rich in iron, counter tits absorption in the body eventually leading to low haemoglobin levels. Some of the foods and drinks in this category include caffeinated beverages, alcohol, antacids and foods that are rich in Calcium.
It is also recommended that one avoids gluten-rich foods as these interfere with iron absorption. Women are advised to take iron-rich foods during their menses as well as during pregnancy. In the event that these remedies do not help improve the condition, make sure you get medical attention.