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ANAEMIA

Anaemia, which means "lacking in blood" is among the most common diseases affecting human beings. It denotes a shortage of rich red blood cells and colouring matter and usually results from consumption of refined foods.

Symptoms

A haggard look, with lines of strain, premature wrinkles, greyish skin, and dull and tired looking eyes are the main symptoms of anaemia.

Other symptoms include poor memory, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, shortness of breath on exertion, slow healing of wounds, headaches, mental depression, pale fingers, lips and ear lobes. The patient usually complaints of weakness, easy fatigue, lack of energy and dizziness.

The most obvious symptom which denotes anaemia is a discolouration of the sacs under the eye ball as pictured below shows.

anaemia symptom

 

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The blood flowing in the veins and arteries is really living tissue. Nearly half of it consists of red blood cells which carry oxygen to the tissues. Approximately one trillion (10,000 million) new blood cells are formed in the bone marrow daily. The raw materials required in the production of these cells are iron, proteins and vitamins, especially vitamin B9 (folic acid) and B12.

 

The red colouring matter, called haemoglobin is a protein which is composed of an organic iron-compound called "heme". The globin is a sulphur bearing protein which makes up 96 per cent of the molecule. The formation of haemoglobin depends on adequate dietary supplies of iron and protein.

 

Red cells have a lifespan of approximately 120 days and are destroyed and replaced daily. Each person should have 100 per cent haemoglobin or about 15 grams to 100 cc of blood, and a blood count of five million red cells per millimetre. A drop in the haemoglobin content results in anaemia and a consequent decreased ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues.

Causes of Anaemia

There are two principal causes of anaemia. It can result from reduced or low formation of red blood cells either due to defects in the bone marrow or an inadequate intake of iron, vitamins (especially B vitamins) and protein.

Heavy loss of blood due to injury, bleeding piles and heavy menstruation may also cause anaemia. A lack of digestive acid of hydrochloric acid needed for digestion of iron and proteins may also result in anaemia.

Drinking coffee, emotional strain, anxiety and worry usually interfere with the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in the body. See the Dangers of Coffee.

Anaemia can also be caused by a variety of drugs which destroy vitamins or by others which inactivate the nutrients needed in building blood cells such as the B complex of vitamins. See the Medications dangers.

Too much alcohol can also affect the body's ability to produce red blood cells. See the Dangers of Alcohol.

Chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, when accompanied by haemorrhage, may also result in anaemia.

If ingested in excessive quantities, foods containing tannins inhibit the absorption of minerals such as iron, which may, if prolonged, lead to anaemia. In order to prevent these problems, it is advised to drink tea between meals, not during. Foods rich in vitamin C help neutralize tannin's effects on iron absorption. Adding lemon juice to tea will reduce the negative effect of tannins in iron absorption as well. See tannins to learn more and which foods to avoid.

Other little-known causes of anaemia are intestinal parasites or worms. Hookworm, pinworms, round worms, toxoplasmosis and tapeworms feed on the blood supply as well as on the vitamins. Twenty-five hookworms can consume fifteen grams of blood every 24 hours; a tapeworm can cause acute shortage of vitamin B12. Symptoms of intestinal worms are itching at the rectum, restlessness at night with bad dreams, diarrhoea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes and a constant desire for food. Garlic and coconut can help get rid of some types of intestinal parasites. Fresh papaya and grated raw carrot are also effective. After successful treatment for intestinal worms, perfect cleanliness should be observed to prevent recurrence.

See Parasites to learn more and find out more natural remedies and cures.

 

Anaemia of chronic disease

People with chronic kidney disease or other chronic diseases tend to develop anaemia. It does not usually require treatment except a healthy diet of natural foods. Blood transfusions may be necessary in some people with this form of anaemia.

Aplastic anaemia

In people with aplastic anaemia, the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells, including red blood cells. A viral infection, drug side effect or an autoimmune condition can cause it. Blood transfusions and even a bone marrow transplant may be required to treat aplastic anaemia.

Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia

In people with this condition, an overactive immune system destroys the body's own red blood cells, causing anaemia.

Pernicious anaemia (B12 deficiency)

Is an autoimmune condition that prevents the body from absorbing enough vitamin B12 in the diet. Besides anaemia, nerve damage (neuropathy) can eventually result. High doses of B12 prevent long-term problems.

Pernicious anaemia can result from cobalt deficiency, for which vitamin B12 is a well-known treatment, being an organic complex with cobalt.

Highest sources of vitamin B12 in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Clams 98.9 μg

  • Liver 83.1 μg

  • Barley grass juice 80 μg

  • Nori seaweed 63.6 μg

  • Octopus 36 μg

  • Caviar/fish eggs 20.0 μg

  • Ashitaba (dried powder) 17.0 μg

  • Herring 13.7 μg

  • Tuna fish 10.9 μg

  • Crab 10.4 μg

  • Mackerel 8.7 μg

  • Lean grass fed beef 8.2 μg

  • Duck eggs, goose eggs, rabbit 6 μg

  • Crayfish, pork heart, rainbow trout 5 μg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 4.8 μg

  • Lobster 4 μg

  • Lamb, venison 3.7 μg

  • Swiss Cheese 3.3 μg

  • Salmon 3.2 μg

  • Whey powder 2.37 μg

  • Golden chanterelle mushrooms 2 μg

  • Tuna 1.9 μg

  • Halibut 1.2 μg

  • Chicken egg 1.1 μg

  • Chicken, turkey 1.0 μg

  • Anchovies 0.9 μg

  • Ashitaba leaves 0.4 μg

NOTE: One μg is one microgram.

Daily recommended amount for an averagely active adult is 2.4 μg daily.

Fungi, plants and animals are incapable of producing vitamin B12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis, although many foods are a natural source of B12 because of bacterial symbiosis. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and secreted in the bile as a coenzyme.

Re-absorption takes place in the body and, as long as there are no digestive/absorption issues or liver disorders, both meat eaters and vegetarians will gain enough from a balanced and varied diet which includes raw organically grown vegetables and seeds and nuts which contain vitamin B12 from microbial action in the soil.

Root vegetable with stained spots due to contact to soil, are a good supply of vitamin B12 however, once they are peeled or scrubbed they will no longer contain any vitamin B12. Barley grass is one very good plant source of vitamin B12.

Highest sources of cobalt in alphabetical ordert

Note: Ingestion of above 30 mg of cobalt can cause crop swellings, decreased thyroid gland function and cause heart arrests.

Sickle cell anaemia

A genetic condition that affects mostly Africans. Periodically, red blood cells change shape and block blood flow. Severe pain and organ damage can occur.

Thalassemia

This is a genetic form of anaemia that mostly affects people of Mediterranean heritage. Most people have no symptoms and require no treatment. Others may need regular blood transfusions to relieve anaemia symptoms.

Nature Cures Anaemia

Consume a wide variety of the foods below in the daily diet to benefit from their powerful properties. Try steaming a wide selection of the vegetables listed with the herbs and spices listed and a tablespoon or two of bottled or filtered water (fastest in the in the microwave 8 minutes approx.) then place in a blender for a deliciously healthy potage soup and eat a small bowl before each meal. Similarly blend a wide selection of the fruits together with nutmeg, cinnamon and honey to provide a tasty nutritious 'smoothie'. Add live probiotic organic yoghurt to make the 'smoothie' or soup creamy.

Beetroot

Mention must be made of beetroot which are extremely important in curing anaemia. Beetroot juice contains calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulphur, zinc, carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin C and vitamin P (citrin bioflavonoid). With its high iron content, beetroot juice regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells, supplies the body with fresh oxygen and helps the normal function of vesicular breathing.

Consuming plenty of oily fish such as anchovies can help to prevent anaemia.

Raw Juice Therapy can successfully treat anaemia. The best natural foods to juice are: apricot, banana, beetroot, carrot, celery, prune, red grapes, strawberry and spinach

Drink at least six glasses of bottled natural mineral water daily with one being just before bed.

Meat and eggs (Three times a week)

Beef (organic lean grass fed), game birds, lamb, poultry, organ meats, rabbit and venison.

Fish (Three or four times a week. Naturally fed farmed fish is usually not contaminated by mercury and other ocean pollutants like deep sea caught fish can be however, farmed fish often lacks in vitamin D compared to wild fish)

Anchovies, bloater fish, carp, eel, halibut, herring, hilsa fish, kipper, mackerel, menhaden, octopus, pilchards, salmon, sardines, shellfish, sprats, squid, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh only) and whitebait.

Dairy

Yoghurt (with live cultures) and kefir milk daily, cheese three or four times a week.

Vegetables (A selection of at least three or four different colours per day)

Alfalfa, ashitaba, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, bell peppers (all colours), broccoli, Brussel sprouts,, cabbage, carrot, celery, chicory, collard greens, courgettes, cress, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, kelp, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsnips, radish, seaweed, spinach, squashes, Swede, sweet potato, turnips (roots and greens) and watercress.

Legumes (Two or three times a week)

Black beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, legumes, lentils, lima bean, mung beans, navy beans, peas, pinto bean, red kidney beans, soya beans, winged beans

Grains and pseudo-grains (at least one whole grain everyday, one teaspoon of psyllium husks daily)

Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, kamut, oats, psyllium husks, quinoa, rice (brown), rye and teff.

Fruit (A selection of tow to three colours fresh or juiced, per day)

Apples, apricot, avocado, bananas, berries, cherries, lemons, limes, grapefruit, peaches, pears, plums, grapes (black),  peaches, papaya, mango, melon, mosambi juice, oranges, pomegranate, soursop, strawberries, tangerines and watermelon.

Dried fruit (As snacks or added to meals daily)

Apricots, dates, figs, goji berries, prunes, raisins, sultanas

Seeds (as snacks or added to meals daily)

Butternut squash, flax, hemp, nasturtium, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, watermelon

Nuts (a small mixed selection as snacks or added to meals daily)

Almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, coconut (flesh and juice), hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts.

Oils (Add to vegetables and salad dishes)

Coconut, flaxseed, nut, fish, olive, rapeseed, rice bran, sesame and sunflower.

Sprouts (see Sprouting page to find out how to grow your own in a jar on the windowsill then add to meals and snacks daily)

Alfalfa, almond, amaranth, barley, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, chickpea, corn, hazelnut, fenugreek, flaxseeds, hemp, kamut, leek, lemon grass, lentil, lettuce, milk thistle, mizuna, mung beans, mustard, oat, onion, pea, peanut, radish, rice, rocket, rye, quinoa, sesame, spinach, spring onions, sunflower, turnip, watercress and wheat.

Common herbs and spices (To be used in meals or consumed as teas as often as possible daily)

Basil, black pepper, cardamom, chilli pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, dill, fennel, Himalayan pinks salt crystals, lemongrass, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, safflower, sage, tarragon, thyme and turmeric.

Medicinal herbs (Consume as teas or add to meals as required)

Miscellaneous (to be consumed and used as desired on a daily basis)

NOTE: Foods containing the fat-soluble nutrients lincluding carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K must be consumed with some fats at the same time in order to be absorbed. This fat can be from avocado, butter, egg yolks, nuts, oily fish, soybeans or virgin cold pressed plant and seed oils.

To find out which foods these are follow the blue links below:

NOTE: Non-heme iron is found in vegetables like spinach and kale. Tea, as well as green leafy vegetables has oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron from tea and those healthy green leafy vegetables, eat a couple of strawberries, an orange, tangerine or some mango if having green leafy vegetables or tea with a meal or snack.

AVOID

Plums and prunes if suffering with kidney or gall stones, joint problems, or osteoporosis
Seeds and nuts if suffering from diverticulitis
Cabbage and kale if suffering from thyroid gland problems, kidney or gallstones
Rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding or suffering from high blood pressure
Turmeric, ginger, Japanese knotweed and motherwort if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy
 

Note: motherwort may be habit forming

CUT OUT
white flour (use whole grain and coconut flours instead), white rice (use brown rice instead), table salt, (use refined sea salt instead), coffee (drink teas at the same time as foods rich in vitamin C), animal fats (use coconut oil, rice bran oil, olive oil or rapeseed oil instead) and sugar (use honey instead). Only eat fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticide, herbicides and fungicides.

Nutrients required to avoid and treat anaemia

Anaemia is much more easily prevented than corrected. A liberal intake of iron in the formative years can go a long way in preventing iron deficiency anaemia.

Diet is of the utmost importance in the treatment of anaemia. Fibre and almost every phytochemical and many minerals are needed for the production of red blood cells, haemoglobin and the enzymes, required for their synthesis. Refined food like white bread, polished rice, sugar, snacks, cakes and desserts rob the body of the much needed iron. Iron should always be taken in its natural organic form as the use of inorganic can prove hazardous, destroying the protective vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids, causing serious liver damage and even miscarriage and delayed or premature births.

It has been proved that a generous intake of iron alone will not help in the regeneration of haemoglobin. The supplies of protein, too, should be adequate. Copper is also essential for the utilisation of iron in the building of haemoglobin.

One common cause of anaemia is intestinal putrefaction, which is primarily brought on by a high meat and low fibre diet. Moreover, all meats are becoming increasingly dangerous due to widespread diseases in the animal kingdom. There are, however, other equally good alternative sources of vitamin B12 such as goat's and soya milk, eggs, barley grass powder, cheese and peanuts. Wheat germ, quinoa and soybeans also contain some B12. Vegetarians should include sizeable amounts of milk, milk products, eggs, whole grains and legumes in their diet.

For prevention of anaemia, it is essential to consume the entire B-complex range which includes B12, as well as the natural foods mentioned above. Eating lacto-avo products, which are complete proteins, and which also contain vitamin B12 is good insurance against the disease.

A liberal intake of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is necessary to facilitate absorption of iron. At least two helpings of citrus fruits and other ascorbic acid rich foods should be taken daily when eating iron rich foods. Too much vitamin E can reduce the body's stores of iron.

Water treatment

A cold water bath is among the most valuable curative measures in anaemia. The patient should be given carefully graduated cold baths twice daily. Cold friction, hot Epsom salt bath for five to 10 minutes once a week and an occasional cabinet steam bath are also recommended. Full sun baths are especially beneficial as sunlight stimulates the production of red cells. There are other important factors which are helpful in curing anaemia. Deep breathing and light exercise like walking and simple yoga should be undertaken to tone up the system. Sarvangasana paschomittanasana, uttanpadasana and shavasana are recommended. Massage also helps to keep the blood level high.

Associated articles

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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