What is haemoglobin and how to increase it?
A red pigment called haemoglobin is present in the blood. NCBI states that haemoglobin is a two-way respiratory carrier, transporting oxygen from the lungs to all organs and tissues of the body and carrying back the carbon dioxide from those organs to the lungs.
“In the arterial circulation, haemoglobin has high affinity for oxygen and low affinity for carbon dioxide including hydrogen, chloride ions, etc., and vice versa in the venous circulation,” says an NCBI article titled “Structure, function relations of human haemoglobin”.
Haemoglobin consists of an iron-containing compound called heme (a porphyrin class) and a protein component called globin. Oxygen is attached to the iron ion during the respiratory process, forming oxyhaemoglobin.
The attached oxygen is then supplied to the organs and tissues of the body. Some amount of carbon dioxide is transported back to the lungs via haemoglobin as carbamino-haemoglobin.
When your body lacks iron, it results in a decrease in haemoglobin production. The bone marrow in your body needs sufficient iron to produce enough haemoglobin for red blood cells.
If there is no sufficient haemoglobin produced (anaemia) in your body, it results in a rapid or irregular heartbeat in your body. This condition is called arrhythmia.
Types of anaemia
- Iron-deficiency anaemia
- Pernicious anaemia (vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia)
- Aplastic anaemia (production of new blood cells stopped)
- Hemo-lytic anaemia (destruction of RBC faster than it is replaced)
7 ways to increase haemoglobin naturally
The following home remedies can be followed to prevent anaemia.
- Consume iron-rich foods
- Increased consumption of vitamin C
- Folate intake
- Apple and haemoglobin
- Nettle tea
- Avoid iron blockers
- Iron supplements
1. Consume iron-rich foods
- Red meat and poultry
- Green leaves
- Dry fruits, including apricots and figs
- Cereals and bread rich in iron, etc.,
All these foods will increase your body’s haemoglobin levels and provides instant energy to do your work.
2. Increased consumption of vitamin C
On account of NCBI,
- Peppers etc., are fruits and vegetables with more vitamin C nutrients. When heated or stored, vitamin C degenerates gradually. Vitamin C is found in canned food, but it gives no benefit as the pressure canning process degenerates the vitamin C in it. A few canned foods like tomatoes, spinach, and green beans are lost vitamin C in the process of canning.
People from Arctic regions will consume vitamin C through herbal teas (medicinal herbs from rose dips, barks of trees and pine needles) and animal organs like the liver and the whale’s skin.
3. Folate intake
Folate (Vitamin B12) deficiency in the body produces large red blood cells that cannot function properly. This deficiency is caused when your body’s immune system attacks the stomach’s healthy cells and vitamin B12 absorption from the food you eat is averted.
Folate deficiency can be treated with injections at first for people unable to cure it through home remedies. Then depending on the deficiency of vitamin B12 in your diet, you may require B12 tablets in between meals or require injections.
Folate or vitamin B12 is present in meat, egg, fish, dairy products, and fortified foods (folate-rich foods).
4. Apple and haemoglobin
According to the NDTV report of fruits for anaemia, apples are rich in iron and are a good option for increasing haemoglobin levels. An apple a day is enough to maintain the normal haemoglobin level in your body.
5. Nettle tea
Nettle tea is rich in
- Vitamin C, D, and K
- Iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium
- Antioxidants like polyphenols, carotenoids, and terpenoids.
- Sterols etc., are in nettle tea.
Vitamin C is present in nettle tea, which increases iron in the body as it helps to increase iron absorption. The iron content in nettle tea may help people prone to anaemia.
6. Avoid iron blockers
A research paper by NCBI states that the intake of tea will block the absorption of iron in your body. Dietary polyphenols also interfere with the absorption of heme and non-heme iron in the body. Apart from tea, the following foods will also block iron absorption in your body.
- Milk and dairy products
- Grapes, corn, and sorghum-rich in tannins
- Phytate foods or foods containing phytic acids
- Oxalic acid foods like peanuts, parsley, and chocolate
- Aerated drinks (adding gas to drinks)
7. Iron Supplements
Foods rich in oxalates are suitable to consume as they stimulate iron absorption. Some iron supplements are
- Collard greens (greens that have large green leaves and tough stems are removed before eating)
- Citrus fruits
- Red and yellow peppers
- Nuts and seeds
- Meat and fish
- Beans and pulses
- Iron-fortified cereals and bread
Foods that can increase haemoglobin levels
An NCBI research paper states that the majority of iron in eggs is found in the yolk. Intake of eggs will increase iron absorption in the body and increases haemoglobin production..
- Dried fruits
As dried fruits like raisins, apricots and prunes are rich sources of Vitamin C, along with iron, it improves your body’s haemoglobin production.
Vitamins B12, C and K are found in broccoli, providing ample iron to the body in one serving. Eating broccoli controls blood sugar levels, maintains bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, etc., are noticed. Along with such benefits, broccoli also increases haemoglobin levels in your body.
Peanuts contain iron, vitamin E, magnesium and folic acid, which help to stimulate red blood cell production in the body. It also lowers blood cholesterol levels and improves heart health.
Pomegranates are rich in calcium, iron, proteins and fibre. As it is high in nutritional value, it is recommended for people with low haemoglobin levels. Pomegranates can be consumed with oatmeal or a bowl of cereal, or added to your salads, or consumed as smoothies or fruit juices.
Lettuce is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, folic acid, etc., which aids in increasing your haemoglobin levels. Regular consumption of lettuce results in high haemoglobin production with other health benefits.
Omega-3 fatty acids and iron content are rich in oily fishes. Eating fish boosts the haemoglobin production in your body.
Beta carotene is present in carrots that converts into retinol (vitamin A). The converted vitamin A or retinol in the body, absorbs the iron contents and boosts the production of haemoglobin in the body.
When to consult a doctor?
When symptoms like prolonged fatigue, rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, and other signs of anaemia are noticed, make an appointment with your doctor.
Complications of low haemoglobin
- Fatigue – anaemia can make you tired so that you may not be able to achieve your daily tasks
- Complications in pregnancy – premature birth is one of the complications observed in pregnant women with Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia.
- Heart issues – anaemia can lead to arrhythmia. As the shortage of oxygen transportation to other parts of your body, your heart pumps more blood to make up the lack of oxygen in your blood. This may result in an enlarged or failure of the heart.
Lack of haemoglobin will result in a decreased or irregular heartbeat with some concerning side effects. Following the preventive tips will boost your haemoglobin production and maintains it at normal levels.
What are the drinks that increase haemoglobin?
The following drinks are rich in iron, which increases haemoglobin.
1. Dried plums juice
2. Beetroot juice
3. Pumpkin juice
4. Beetroot and orange smoothie
5. Pea protein smoothie, etc.
Which foods can increase haemoglobin naturally?
The following foods will increase haemoglobin naturally.
1. Meat and fish
4. Green leaves
5. Nuts and seeds
6. Vegetables and Fruits
Does consuming banana increase haemoglobin levels?
Banana is rich in iron content. It induces the production of haemoglobin in the blood. As banana has a good amount of folic acid (a B-complex vitamin), are required to make red blood cells.
Does drinking water increase haemoglobin levels?
A steady intake of water will increase haemoglobin levels. There is no significant increase in the haemoglobin levels, but sufficient water intake helps haemoglobin synthesis by increasing mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) levels.