Hemoglobin (Hb) is the protein molecule in RBCs or red blood cells. They transport and return oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the body’s tissues. Therefore, many people try to elevate their optimum Hb levels. They do so by consuming required foods for increasing Hemoglobin or by taking supplements.
The structure and function of Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin has 4 different protein molecules. These protein molecules are interconnected globulin chains of 2α chains and 2β chains.
Hemoglobin molecules in foetuses and babies typically have four 2α chains, 2 gamma chains and no β chains. The gamma chains progressively give way to beta chains as the newborn develops. This forms the mature hemoglobin structure.
But why is Hemoglobin important?
Every globulin chain of hemoglobin has an essential iron-containing porphyrin molecule. This is known as heme. There is an iron compound inside the heme molecule. This is critical for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood. This iron atom also causes the red color of blood.
Hemoglobin also maintains the structure of red blood cells. Red blood cells are spherical with thin centers, like a doughnut without a hole. Abnormal hemoglobin morphology can alter the form and function of RBCs. This limits their ability to pass through blood arteries.
What is a normal hemoglobin level?
Hemoglobin is measured in grams (gm) per deciliter (dL) of total blood. The normal levels for Hemoglobin vary depending on the age and gender of the person. The hemoglobin range for females may vary from the hemoglobin for males.
The normal hemoglobin level by age are:
|Newborns||17 to 22 gm/dL||One week of age||15 to 20 gm/dL|
|One month of age||11 to 15 gm/dL||Children||11 to 13 gm/dL|
|Adult males||14 to 18 gm/dL||Adult women||12 to 16 gm/dL|
|Men after middle age||12.4 to 14.9 gm/dL||Women after middle age||11.7 to 13.8 gm/dL|
Some of these numbers may be off from one lab to the next. Regarding hemoglobin levels, some labs do not distinguish between adults and “beyond middle age.”
The normal range of Hemoglobin in pregnancy is 11.5-13.0 (13.5) g/dl. High and low hemoglobin levels are risky for pregnant women. It can cause stillbirths, preterm birth or low birth weight infants.
What does a low hemoglobin level mean?
When hemoglobin levels are lower than usual, anemia occurs. This is an abnormally low amount of red blood cells. Now one can always avoid anemia by eating foods to increase hemoglobin level in their blood.
Reasons for low Hemoglobin
These are some of the most common causes of anemia:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Renal disease
- Hemorrhage or blood loss
- A lack of essential nutrients (iron, vitamin B12, folate)
- Chemotherapeutic medicines reduce the production of RBCs
- Bone marrow complications (replacement of bone marrow by cancer)
Additionally, some persons are born with low hemoglobin levels without known reason. Some people have low Hemoglobin yet show no signs of it.
Symptoms when Hemoglobin is low
When hemoglobin levels drop, the body’s organs have a more challenging time getting adequate oxygen.
This results in tiredness, breathlessness, disorientation, headaches, and chest discomfort.
Low Hemoglobin also causes anemia, which is affected by several variables.
How can hemoglobin be increased?
Low hemoglobin level is quite common in India, especially in women. Find out whether you’re anemic by having a CBC (Complete Blood Count). It would help if you did everything you can to boost your hemoglobin levels. Your diet can affect hemoglobin production and optimal levels. Hence you should always try to include healthy foods for increasing hemoglobin in your diet. Apart from that you should maintain a healthy lifestyle. And have your Hb levels checked from time to time.
Foods for increasing Hemoglobin
Many people have this question in their mind. What are the foods for increasing hemoglobin? There are various foods rich in iron that can help you to increase your Hb levels. Here are some of the best ones:
Beets are rich in magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and copper. They also have vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C. Beetroot helps to increase Hemoglobin and RBC regeneration. You can consume it directly in a salad or cooked.
2. Leafy greens
Vegetarians may obtain plenty of iron through leafy greens, including spinach, mustard greens, lettuce, and crucifers. If you want to consume foods for increasing hemoglobin levels, include more leafy green veggies in your diet.
They are an excellent provider of vitamins B12 and folic acid. Broccoli is also a good source of magnesium, vitamin A, and C. Green vegetables are low-calorie and high in fiber. So, they aid in weight loss and digestion too.
3. Moringa Leaves
There are several minerals and vitamins in Moringa leaves. These include copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Mix chopped moringa leaves with a teaspoon of jaggery powder to make a churna. This churna will help you to improve your hemoglobin and RBC count.
4. Red Meat
Red meats like beef, low in fat, are one of the best foods for increasing hemoglobin and treating anemia. Beef supplies around 2.1 mg of iron per 85gm serving. Red meats include heme iron. Blood absorbs this heme iron quickly and boosts hemoglobin levels. Choose lean beef-like ground and sirloin.
5. Figs, Raisins, and Dates
In addition to providing iron, dates and raisins also contain Vitamin C. Figs include vitamin A, magnesium, iron, and folate. A handful of dried raisins, figs, and dates in the morning can give you instant energy. It is also one of the best foods for increasing hemoglobin.
Fig milk at night twice a week can raise Hemoglobin. If you have diabetes, you should only eat dried fruits in moderation.
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolates with above 80% cacao are among foods to increase hemoglobin organically. A medium-sized bar of chocolate contains 6.9% of the daily recommended iron consumption. This makes it an excellent source of the mineral. There is also an abundance of anti-inflammatory flavonoids in these fruits.
7. Brown Rice
There are several health benefits of brown rice. It helps to lower cholesterol and alleviate stomach issues. However, they also contain a lot of iron and help increase hemoglobin levels. The iron content of 100 gms of brown rice is 0.52 mg. It can help you shed pounds, too.
8. Sesame Seeds
Black sesame seeds can also increase your iron consumption. They are abundant in magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, E, folate and many other nutrients. You can soak them overnight in some water and eat them the next day. You can also sprinkle it on cereal, oatmeal, yoghurt, and fruit salad.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
In terms of vital elements, pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, zinc and iron. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of iron.
They are one of the best foods for increasing hemoglobin used by vegans and vegetarians. Since they are rich in chlorophyll, they alkalise and cleanse the body naturally.
10. Dried Fruits and Nuts
Dried fruits are healthy vegetarian/vegan weight-loss snacks. Iron is abundant in raisins. Nuts are also high in iron, with an ounce of almonds providing 6% of the daily need.
Add some to your favorite breakfast cereal, oats, or ice cream for a tasty treat. You can use raisins to replace sweets in weight-loss recipes too. They’re high in nutrients and fibber, making you feel fuller for longer. This makes them ideal for weight loss.
11. Seafood and Oysters
Overall, seafood is good for your health since it is high in proteins. Sardines, mackerel, and Indian salmon are all excellent sources of iron. Other shellfish that are rich in iron include oysters, mussels, clams, and prawns. Antioxidants found in oysters are also beneficial for skin and cardiovascular health.
Ancient wisdom says one apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are iron-rich. Therefore they help preserve blood hemoglobin levels. Apples also help in weight reduction.
Other tips to increase your hemoglobin levels at home:
Cooking with iron utensils is a good way to eat healthily. People with low hemoglobin levels benefit from iron-fortified foods. You can prepare them with an iron utensil.
Incorporate vitamin C into your diet since it aids in iron absorption.
Minimize consuming foods high in polyphenols, tannins, phytates, and oxalic acids. Some of these foods are tea, coffee, chocolate, soy products, wine, beer, cola, and aerated beverages.
Exercise with a level of intensity that is between moderate and high.
When dietary changes aren’t enough to raise your hemoglobin levels, consider taking supplements.
Consult a Doctor when:
Nutrition and vitamins alone aren’t enough to treat certain cases of low Hemoglobin. Consult a doctor if you experience any of the following when trying to improve your hemoglobin level:
Gums and skin are pale
A pulsating or erratic pulse
Muscular ache and exhaustion
A lack of Hemoglobin might have negative impacts on your health. Thus it’s important to keep them stable. To keep healthy, you must eat a diet rich in iron, vitamin C and B12. You should try to include foods for increasing hemoglobin in your diet. Hemoglobin levels are related to the following dangers:
Never diagnose or treat low Hemoglobin without a doctor’s supervision.
If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t eat a lot of iron since a high amount of Hemoglobin can put your baby at risk.
You may increase your hemoglobin level by altering your diet and using supplements. Maintain regular contact with your physician while you work to increase your hemoglobin levels. Pregnant women and others with pre-existing medical conditions may need further care. This can also include an iron transfusion.
It may take anything from some weeks to roughly a year to boost your hemoglobin count. It depends on the root cause and the modifications you make.
Disclaimer: The material in this post, especially advice, is only intended to serve as a general guide. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice in any manner. For further information, go to a professional or your primary care physician. The writer disclaims all liability for this content.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which fruit is best for Hemoglobin?
There are many. But some of the best ones are apples, pomegranate, watermelon, and citrus.
What foods to avoid if you have low Hemoglobin?
Foods to avoid if you have low Hemoglobin are tea and coffee, milk, dairy products and foods that contain tannins, phytates, and oxalic acid.
How can I raise my Hemoglobin fast?
Vitamin C-rich foods, iron supplements, and a proper diet can help increase Hb levels fast.
What can I drink to increase Hemoglobin?
Iron-rich drinks, beetroot juice, prune juice, and green leafy vegetable juice.
Does drinking water increase Hemoglobin?
Consistent water intake raises hemoglobin indicators like the MCH and MCHC and lowers the MPV.
How can I check my Hemoglobin at home?
A hemoglobin test can determine the hemoglobin level in a person's body.
Does low Hemoglobin affect sleep?
Yes, it does. Several studies show a link between iron deficiency and sleep issues.
How long does it take for Hemoglobin to return to normal?
Depending on your condition, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year.