Haemoglobin is a complex protein made up of four subunits, each of which contains an iron molecule. Haemoglobin is found in the red blood cells produced in your bone marrow. Haemoglobin plays a crucial role in your body by carrying oxygen from your lungs to your tissues and organs. Without enough haemoglobin, your cells will not get enough oxygen to function properly.
Various factors, including diet, exercise, and underlying health conditions, can affect haemoglobin levels. However, your haemoglobin levels are too low. In that case, you may be at risk for anaemia, in which you do not have enough red blood cells to process oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Eating a balanced diet, taking supplements, exercising, and treating underlying health conditions can increase your haemoglobin levels and improve your overall health.
1. Normal Haemoglobin Levels
2. Consequences of Low Haemoglobin
3. Ways To Increase Haemoglobin?
4. 7 Foods Which Help Increase Haemoglobin Levels
5. Boost Your Haemoglobin Levels While Pregnant
6. Dietitian’s Recommendation
7. The Final Say
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR, RDA 2020) has established normal haemoglobin level ranges for the Indian population.
1-3y- 8 mg/dl
4-6 y- 11 mg/dl
7-9 y- 15 mg/dl
Boys- 10-12 Y- 16 mg/dl
Girls- 10-12 Y- 28 mg/dl
Boys- 13-15 Y- 22 mg/dl
Girls- 13-15 Y- 30 mg/dl
Boys- 16-18 Y- 26 mg/dl
Girls- 16-18 Y- 32 mg/dl
It is important to note that haemoglobin levels depend on several factors, such as gender, age, altitude, and health status. Therefore, the normal ranges mentioned above are just general guidelines. Suppose you have concerns about your haemoglobin levels. In that case, it is best to take advice from a healthcare professional for advice and guidance.
Low haemoglobin, also known as anaemia, can have several consequences on the body. First, haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and organs in the body, so when haemoglobin levels are low, the body does not get enough oxygen.
Here are some consequences of low haemoglobin:
One of the most common low haemoglobin symptoms is feeling tired and weak. This is because the body does not have enough oxygen to support its energy needs.
When there is insufficient oxygen, breathing can be difficult, especially during physical activity.
Low haemoglobin can cause headaches and dizziness because the brain lacks oxygen.
Haemoglobin give blood its red colour, so low haemoglobin can cause the skin and gums to appear pale.
The heart may have to work harder to pump oxygenated blood to the body when haemoglobin levels are low, which can lead to an irregular heartbeat.
Low haemoglobin levels can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy, including preterm birth and low birth weight.
Haemoglobin is important for a healthy immune system. Conversely, low haemoglobin levels can impair immune response and increase infection risk.
If you have low haemoglobin, seeing a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment is important. Treatment may involve addressing the underlying cause of the anaemia, such as iron deficiency. It may also include dietary changes, supplements, and other medications as needed.
Several foods can help increase haemoglobin levels. ToneOp enlists some examples so that you incorporate them into your diet:
It is rich in heme iron, which is easily absorbed by the body and helps increase haemoglobin levels.
Poultry and seafood are also good sources of heme iron and other nutrients like vitamin B12 and zinc that are important for producing red blood cells.
Beans like french beans and lentils are a great source of non-heme iron, which is not as easily absorbed as heme iron but can help increase haemoglobin levels over time.
Dark leafy greens like collard greens, spinach and kale are rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin C, all important for haemoglobin production.
Nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, almonds, and cashews are a good source of non-heme iron and other nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium that are important for overall health.
Some cereals are filled with iron and other nutrients, which makes them a convenient and easy way to increase haemoglobin levels.
Fruits like apples, pomegranates, and apricots are good sources of iron and vitamin C, which can help improve haemoglobin levels.
It is important to note that consuming these foods alone may not be enough to significantly increase haemoglobin levels, especially if anaemia is caused by an underlying medical condition.
During pregnancy, it is important to have adequate haemoglobin levels to support the growing foetus and prevent complications like preterm birth and low birth weight. Here are some tips to boost haemoglobin levels during pregnancy:
Consuming foods that are rich in iron can help increase haemoglobin levels. Good sources of iron include poultry, red meat, seafood, beans, lentils, tofu, and dark leafy greens like spinach.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so consuming foods rich in vitamin C can help increase the effectiveness of iron-rich foods. Some vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Prenatal vitamins contain iron and other important nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy. It is important to take prenatal vitamins as directed by a healthcare professional.
Tea and coffee contain compounds inhibiting iron absorption, so avoiding them or limiting their intake during meals is best.
Iron supplements may sometimes be necessary to meet the increased iron needs during pregnancy. However, consulting with a healthcare professional before taking iron supplements is necessary, as too much iron can be harmful.
Low haemoglobin levels during pregnancy can be caused by underlying conditions like iron deficiency or thalassemia. Treating these conditions can help improve haemoglobin levels.
Drinking plenty of water can help prevent dehydration, which can worsen anaemia.
It is important to discuss any concerns about haemoglobin levels with a healthcare professional, as they can provide personalised recommendations for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
It is recommended to have a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods rich in iron and other nutrients important for haemoglobin production and iron absorption. This could include red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, lentils, tofu, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fortified cereals, and fruits.
Combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C improves absorption, limits or avoids tea and coffee during meals, and stays hydrated. In some cases, an iron supplement may be recommended. Still, consulting with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements is important. In addition, addressing underlying medical conditions like iron deficiency or thalassemia is important for improving haemoglobin levels.
-Dietitian Aditi Upadhyay
The Final Say
There are several ways to increase haemoglobin levels through lifestyle and dietary changes. Consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of iron-rich foods and vitamin C-rich foods can help boost haemoglobin levels. In addition, staying hydrated, limiting tea and coffee consumption during meals, and addressing any underlying medical conditions causing low haemoglobin levels are essential.
1. What are some foods that can increase haemoglobin levels?
Foods rich in iron and other nutrients, such as red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, lentils, tofu, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fortified cereals, and fruits, can help increase haemoglobin levels.
2. How can I improve the absorption of iron in my diet?
Consuming foods high in vitamin C can help improve iron absorption in the diet. Examples include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
3. Is it necessary to take supplements to increase haemoglobin levels?
Iron supplements are sometimes necessary to meet increased iron needs. Still, consulting with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements is important.
4. Can dehydration affect haemoglobin levels?
Yes, dehydration can worsen anaemia and decrease haemoglobin levels. So it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
5. Can underlying medical conditions affect haemoglobin levels?
Medical conditions like iron deficiency or thalassemia can cause low haemoglobin levels. Therefore, addressing any underlying conditions to improve haemoglobin levels is important.
6. Can lifestyle changes help increase haemoglobin levels?
Yes, lifestyle changes like a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and limiting tea and coffee intake during meals can help increase haemoglobin levels. Regular exercise and adequate sleep can also contribute to overall health and well-being.
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