The significance of haemoglobin in today’s world cannot be understated. It is a vital protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It is essential for the proper functioning of organs and tissues in an individual.
Since haemoglobin is an essential element of the body, low haemoglobin levels can bring out various health ailments, like anaemia, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating etc.
For athletes and people who engage in physical activities, haemoglobin is essential for providing the body with enough oxygen to sustain performance. Pregnant women also require healthy levels of haemoglobin to avoid any potential complications during their pregnancy.
As a critical component of the respiratory system, haemoglobin is essential for the proper functioning of the body’s organs and tissues. Unfortunately, pressure from our busy lifestyles, stress and anxiety can cause a decrease in haemoglobin levels. In extreme cases, haemoglobin deficiency can cause anaemia, one of India’s most significant public health problems.
Maintaining healthy haemoglobin levels may not be easy, but it is possible with the right dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Therefore, one should consider making dietary modifications and incorporating lifestyle changes to promote healthy haemoglobin content.
Read on to discover ways to naturally boost your haemoglobin levels, including tips for dietary changes, vitamins, and more.
What are Normal Haemoglobin Levels?
Age, gender, and medical history can affect a person’s haemoglobin concentration. This concentration is typically a component of a routine complete blood count (CBC). It is expressed in grams per deciliter (g/dL) of whole blood, where a deciliter is equal to 100 millilitres.
On average, infants have higher haemoglobin levels than adults due to the greater oxygen levels in the womb, necessitating more red blood cells to deliver the oxygen.
After a few weeks, however, this level begins to decrease. In terms of adults, generally, adult males tend to have higher haemoglobin levels than adult females.
Normal Haemoglobin Levels by Age and Gender
Haemoglobin levels vary with age and gender; typically, men have higher levels than women, while children tend to have higher levels than adults. It is due to men’s higher average haemoglobin levels and the increased oxygen demands of growing bodies.
The generally accepted standard range of haemoglobin levels for adults is 13.8 to 17.2 g/dL for men and 12.1 to 15.1 g/dL for women. However, as per the National Health Portal (NHP), here are some general guidelines for normal haemoglobin levels by age and gender:
|Women||12.1 – 15.1|
|Men||13.8 – 17.2|
|Children||11 – 16|
|Pregnant Women||11 – 15.1|
It is essential to be aware that these are merely general indications and that haemoglobin levels may vary based on various elements, including nutrition, altitude, and general health. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult a healthcare provider to determine what is considered a typical range for you.
Consequences of Low Haemoglobin Levels
Low haemoglobin levels, causing anaemia, can have various impacts on the body. The most widely experienced consequence of anaemia is fatigue, as the body’s tissues and organs do not get sufficient oxygen to function correctly.
Other potential repercussions of anaemia could include cognitive and physical developmental delays in children, trouble concentrating and decreased physical performance in adults, and an increased risk of infection.
|Shortness of breath||Lack of oxygen in the body due to anaemia|
|Dizziness||Low oxygen levels in the brain due to anaemia|
|Headache||Decreased oxygen supply to the brain due to anaemia|
|Cold hands and feet||Poor circulation caused by anaemia|
|Pale skin||Reduced oxygen supply to the skin due to anaemia|
|Weakness||Decreased oxygen supply to the muscles due to anaemia|
If left untreated, low haemoglobin levels can cause severe complications like heart issues, weakened immunity, and difficulty focusing. Research proves the role of low haemoglobin levels in cardiovascular problems.
Hence, it is essential to address low haemoglobin levels without delay. Treatment for anaemia involves changing one’s lifestyle, like improving the diet to get more iron and other vitamins.
How to Increase Haemoglobin?
If you are not experiencing any medical issues and are looking for ways to increase your haemoglobin levels, here are a few ideas:
Consume Iron-Rich Foods
Consuming iron-rich foods is one of the best ways to increase haemoglobin levels. Heme iron (also known as organic iron) is the most easily absorbed form of iron, and the body can absorb it at approximately 20%.
It is found in poultry, seafood and meat. Furthermore, studies have suggested that consuming heme iron foods can aid the absorption of iron from non-heme meals, which can typically only be absorbed at a rate of 2% or less.
To ensure that you are getting a balanced diet, it is essential to mix heme iron sources with other iron sources.
Increase Your Folic Acid Consumption
A lack of folic acid can lead to low levels of haemoglobin in your body. To support oxygen delivery, your body needs folate to produce heme, a component of haemoglobin.
Studies have shown that folic acid is necessary for your body to create new cells, including red blood cells. Therefore, increasing folate intake can help to raise haemoglobin levels.
Focus on Enhancing Iron Absorption
Iron is an essential nutrient for the body, and consuming it through food or supplements is necessary. However, the body cannot absorb all of the iron, which is why it requires assistance. Several factors can influence how much iron the body absorbs.
As per research, vitamin C is an essential component in this process, as it is a potent enhancer of nonheme iron absorption. Additionally, research has shown that vitamin A and beta-carotene, that the body uses to produce vitamin A, can help the efficient absorption of iron in the body.
Avoid Using Iron Blockers
If you have a low haemoglobin count and want to maintain a healthy level, you must be mindful of the meals you consume. Certain foods can impede the body’s capacity to store iron, such as those high in phytates, calcium (milk and dairy), and polyphenols (tea and coffee).
Research shows that even calcium from dietary sources can block iron absorption. Therefore, it is necessary to consume calcium in moderation as it is a vital nutrient.
Another study has found that phytic acid can reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron, mainly if you don’t consume meat. However, this only applies to a single meal; its effects do not stay throughout the day. Therefore, if you are vegetarian or vegan, it is best to avoid eating meals high in phytic acid with iron-rich foods.
The HealthifyMe Note
Low levels of haemoglobin in your body can cause anaemia, which can be dangerous as haemoglobin helps transport oxygen to the tissues and take away carbon dioxide. You can increase your haemoglobin count by making dietary changes and taking supplements. Eating more foods high in iron or avoiding items that can stop iron from being absorbed are two ways to increase your haemoglobin. In addition, other vitamins and minerals that help your body use iron, such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin C, are essential for keeping your overall haemoglobin count in check.
Foods to Increase Haemoglobin Levels
The best way to increase your haemoglobin levels is by consuming a healthy diet high in iron and folate. Here are some of the most beneficial foods for boosting haemoglobin:
Leafy Green Vegetables
Green veggies should be a regular part of your daily diet if you want to increase your haemoglobin levels. They are one of the finest haemoglobin foods, containing folate, which improves iron absorption and haemoglobin formation in the body.
Additionally, green veggies are a natural source of vitamin B12, folic acid, and other essential minerals. The best green leafy vegetables to increase haemoglobin levels are the following.
- Swiss chard
- String beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
The HealthifyPro Tip
Eating dark, leafy vegetables as part of a diet to manage anaemia is generally beneficial; however, there is a catch. Studies have shown that oxalates in vegetables such as spinach and kale can bond with iron and reduce its absorption. It means that while one should still include these vegetables in an anaemic diet, they should not be your only source of iron.
Incorporating fruits into one’s diet can help increase haemoglobin levels. Apples, for instance, are a delicious and iron-rich fruit, making them an ideal choice. Pomegranate is also beneficial, as it is high in iron, calcium, protein, and fibre.
Citrus fruits, abundant in vitamin C, may also help reduce the effects of phytates, compounds that inhibit iron absorption and hinder its absorption into the blood.
The following are the best fresh fruits for raising haemoglobin levels.
Dried figs, dates, and raisins are all highly nutritious and provide a great energy source. Not only are they packed with iron and vitamin C, but figs are also rich in magnesium, vitamin A, and folate.
Therefore, eating a small handful of these dried fruits each morning can help to increase your haemoglobin levels. Additionally, having fig milk twice a week before bedtime can also help to boost your haemoglobin levels.
Seafood, Poultry, And Meat
Consuming heme iron found in meat, fish, and eggs can help increase haemoglobin production as the body easily absorbs it.
To get the most out of the nonheme iron in leafy greens and vitamin C-rich fruits, combine them with meat or poultry to boost iron absorption.
Grains and Legumes
Whole grain pasta, bread, and cereal typically have a high phytate level but are often fortified with iron. In addition, natural options that are high in iron can increase the amount of haemoglobin in the blood.
For those who are iron deficient, fermented and sprouted grains and legumes are a better choice because the sprouting and fermenting processes break down molecules that can interfere with iron absorption.
- Chickpeas and kidney beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Lima beans
- Whole wheat
Seeds and Nuts
Nuts and seeds are among the foods with the highest nutritional density per serving.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds with pistachios
- The pine nuts
- Seeds of sunflower
If you are a vegetarian or find getting enough iron from other sources challenging, make sure to include the following foods in your diet.
- Fortified orange juice
- Ready-to-eat fortified cereals
- Foods prepared with fortified flour, such as bread and pasta
- Foods made with fortified cornmeal
- Meals made with fortified rice
Foods to Avoid
Although eating iron-rich meals is not always necessary, certain foods can limit iron absorption. Hence, it is advisable to avoid the following foods especially with a main meal..
Coffee and Tea
It is best to refrain from consuming caffeinated drinks when you take an iron supplement or eat an iron-rich meal. It may interfere with your body’s absorption of iron. In addition, too much of anything, even green tea, can reduce iron in the body.
Milk and Dairy Products
A study has found that consuming too much calcium can prevent the body from absorbing iron, leading to health problems. Hence, one must limit the intake of milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt, almonds, and bananas that are high in calcium.
Phytates and Phytic Acid-Containing Foods
Iron binding to phytates in the digestive tract can reduce iron absorption. Therefore, limiting the consumption of legumes, brown rice, whole-grain wheat, and certain nuts is best.
Certain people are at risk for gut wall damage from consuming gluten. That is because it can reduce their body’s ability to absorb folic acid and iron, essential components for red blood cells. Gluten is commonly found in wheat, pasta, barley, rye, and oats.
The HealthifyMe Note
A low haemoglobin count can result from medical illnesses or risk factors, such as pregnancy, following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or having celiac disease. Eating a diet rich in dark, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, seafood, meat, beans, and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables is vital to increase haemoglobin levels. Additionally, it is essential to think about your lifestyle, exercise regularly, and ensure your mental well-being.
A Sample 7 Day Diet Plan Chart – Haemoglobin Levels
Here is a 7-day Indian meal plan that includes foods that are rich in iron and other nutrients that can help to increase haemoglobin levels:
Day 1 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||1 bowl of oats with milk, one small banana and 2 dates roughly chopped for garnish|
|Mid-morning snack||4 almonds|
|Lunch||1 bowl of lentil soup with brown rice, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||1 small bowl of green gram sprout chaat with lemon and cracked pepper|
|Dinner||1 bowl of chicken curry with 2 rotis, one small bowl of spinach and tomato sauté|
Day 2 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||1 bowl of upma with vegetables, one small orange|
|Mid-morning||1 bowl of curd with chopped cucumber and tomato|
|Lunch||1 bowl of palak ki dal with brown rice, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||1 small bowl of makhane|
|Dinner||1 bowl of paneer tikka with chapati, one small bowl of broccoli and cauliflower sauté|
Day 3 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||1 bowl of poha with nuts and raisins, one small apple|
|Mid-morning||1 bowl of fruit chaat with watermelon, muskmelon, and pineapple|
|Lunch||1 bowl of chicken biryani with raita, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||1 medium sized orange + 2 walnuts|
|Dinner||1 bowl of fish curry with chapati, one small bowl of sautéed kale|
Day 4 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||1 bowl of upma with vegetables, one small pear|
|Mid-morning snack||1 bowl of roasted chana|
|Lunch||1 bowl of rajma with brown rice, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||1 brazil nut + 2 figs|
|Dinner||1 bowl of soya chunks with 2 rotis, one small bowl of sautéed cabbage|
Day 5 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||1 bowl of daliya with milk, 3-4 roughly chopped black raisins|
|Mid-morning snack||1 small bowl of puffed rice with chopped onions and tomatoes|
|Lunch||1 bowl of vegetable pulao with raita, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||1 green chutney sandwich + 1 small orange|
|Dinner||1 bowl of chicken curry with chapati, one small bowl of sautéed veggies|
Day 6 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||1 paneer stuffed Roti with 1 tbsp green chutney, one small guava|
|Mid-morning||1 bowl of sprouts salad|
|Lunch||1 bowl of chicken keema with chapati, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||1 fistful of roasted peanuts|
|Dinner||1 bowl of vegetable kofta with chapati, one small bowl of sautéed bhindi|
Day 7 Diet Plan
|Breakfast||2 medium sized idlis with vegetable and spinach sambar, one small papaya|
|Mid-morning snack||1 bowl of masoor dal chaat|
|Lunch||1 bowl of palak sabzi with brown rice, one small bowl of mixed vegetables|
|Evening snack||2 dates + 4 pista|
|Dinner||1 bowl of tofu tikka masala with chapati, one small bowl of sautéed mustard greens|
It is essential to note that these are merely general suggestions, and the amount of food you should consume is contingent upon your age, gender, and level of physical activity. You can consult a certified dietitian or nutritionist at HealthifyMe to learn the correct proportion of nutrients for you.
Ways to Boost Your Haemoglobin Levels While Pregnant
Pregnancy is a beautiful and important chapter in every woman’s life, bringing a range of new feelings and changes. For some, it may be a relatively easy and painless experience, but for others, it can be difficult and painful.
Pregnant women need to pay attention to their haemoglobin levels. The typical range for haemoglobin in women is 12-16 g/dl, a combination of heme (iron) and globin (a blood protein that helps bind oxygen to the blood).
Low haemoglobin can indicate low oxygen in the body, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, and a lack of appetite.
It is essential to take steps to improve your haemoglobin levels during pregnancy, as low haemoglobin can be a severe issue. To increase your haemoglobin levels, try making dietary changes and exercising daily.
Here are a few tips to help you boost your haemoglobin levels while pregnant.
Eat Healthy Foods
If you are pregnant, it is essential to eat foods high in vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, folic acid, and other nutrients to help increase your haemoglobin levels. Here is a list of foods you can eat to help achieve this goal:
When pregnant, it is essential to include green vegetables in your daily diet, especially those high in iron.
You can get your iron from foods like spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as herbs like coriander, mint, and fenugreek. These leafy greens also provide other essential vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy, so don’t forget to include them!
Nuts and Dried Fruits
Dates, figs, walnuts, and raisins are all packed with iron and can help increase your haemoglobin levels. Consuming these dry fruits and nuts can support your haemoglobin levels during pregnancy.
Pulses, such as peas, lentils, and beans, are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, iron, and protein, making them an ideal part of a balanced meal for pregnant ladies.
One can enjoy them in various ways, from salads and soups to adding flavour to the bread. In addition, eating pulses is a great way to boost your iron and protein intake.
Pomegranates and oranges are two examples of fresh fruits that can help boost haemoglobin levels during pregnancy. Other fruits with high iron content, like kiwi, peaches, grapefruit, and guavas, can also be beneficial.
Folic Acid-Rich Foods
Folate, commonly referred to as folic acid, is an essential water-soluble vitamin that helps to protect against neural tube defects during pregnancy.
Additionally, this vitamin is necessary for the production of haemoglobin. Eating foods such as dark green leafy vegetables,whole pulses like kidney beans and chickpeas, turnips, sprouts, avocado, lettuce, okra, and other sources of folic acid can help you meet your daily needs.
Exercising is one of the easiest ways to increase your haemoglobin levels during pregnancy.
Your body produces more haemoglobin to meet the higher oxygen demand. However, avoid high-intensity exercises, as they can be harmful.
Consume Dietary Supplements
If you’re pregnant and looking to increase your haemoglobin count, talking to your doctor about dietary supplements can be beneficial. Furthermore, if you’re low on folic acid or Vitamin B12, your doctor may recommend adding supplements to your daily routine.
If your body is deficient in iron, doctors may advise you to take iron supplements. To ensure that iron is adequately absorbed, you should consume vitamin C-rich foods or take vitamin C supplements. Taking vitamin C tablets can help improve iron absorption.
Having the right amount of haemoglobin is essential for your body to function correctly. This iron-rich protein is found in red blood cells and is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout your body.
To maintain normal haemoglobin levels, you can make dietary changes such as increasing your intake of dark, leafy greens, meat, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds. However, it may be difficult for someone with certain medical conditions to obtain enough iron from their diet alone.
If this is the case, it is advisable to speak to a healthcare practitioner about taking dietary supplements to improve your nutritional status; however, a balanced diet should be the primary goal for optimal health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How can I raise my haemoglobin quickly?
A. One strategy to deal with low haemoglobin is to increase your iron intake. Iron-rich foods such as spinach, liver and organ meat, cabbage, green beans, and tofu are good sources. Additionally, foods that contain folate. Some examples are spinach and grains. They can help your body to make haemoglobin. To further boost iron absorption, consume foods high in vitamin C. Also, avoid or limit items that can interfere with iron absorption such as coffee or tea immediately after a meal..
Q. Which food gives more haemoglobin?
A. Eating foods with plenty of iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12 can help keep haemoglobin levels steady. Incorporating animal meats, fish, poultry, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, and greens into your diet are some of the best ways to get these nutrients.
Q. Which fruit is best for haemoglobin?
A. Iron-rich fruits, like raisins, dates, figs, prunes, apricots, and apples, can benefit those with low haemoglobin levels. Additionally, citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are high in vitamin C and can aid in iron absorption from other foods. Finally, berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are high in antioxidants and can enhance the effectiveness of iron supplements.
Q. What causes haemoglobin to drop?
A. A low haemoglobin count can result from blood loss, which can be due to: bleeding in the digestive tract from ulcers, tumours, or haemorrhoids; or when women have their periods. In either case, the result may be a decreased haemoglobin level.
Q. Does egg increase haemoglobin?
A. Eggs are an excellent source of heme iron and a modest amount of protein. They also contain numerous antioxidants, which can help replenish vitamin levels in your body if you have low haemoglobin. To maximise your iron intake, combine eggs with other iron-rich foods. For example, eating eggs alongside vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, is a great way to increase iron absorption.
Q. Which drink increases haemoglobin?
A. Smoothies and shakes offer an easy way to get iron from different sources. For example, you can make smoothies with spinach, cashews, raspberries, mulberries, beets, and oranges. Additionally, prune juice, beetroot juice, and pumpkin juice are all beneficial for helping with iron deficiency. Lastly, drinks containing orange, tomato, or grapefruit juice are high in vitamin C, which helps absorb non-heme iron.
Q. What level of haemoglobin is dangerously low?
A. A haemoglobin level of 13.5 g/dL or lower is considered extremely low for men, and 12 g/dL is extremely low for women. A haemoglobin level lower than 6.5 g/dL is life-threatening and can be fatal.
Q. What is a healthy haemoglobin level by age?
A. The normal ranges for haemoglobin depend on the person’s age and gender. The standard ranges are:
- Women: 12.1 to 15.1 gm/dl
- Men: 13.8 to 17.2 gm/dl
- Children: 11 to 16 g/dl
- Pregnant women: 11 to 15.1 g/dl.
Q. Can low Hb cause death?
A. Rapid blood loss can result in acute, severe anaemia, which has the potential to be fatal. Additionally, the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the risk of anaemia-related death.
Q. Is 7.5 haemoglobin low?
A. A normal haemoglobin level ranges from 11 to 18 grams per deciliter (g/dL), depending on age and gender. However, a haemoglobin level of 7 m/dL or lower should suggest the necessity for a blood transfusion in otherwise medically stable individuals.
Q. What are the 3 main causes of anaemia?
A. Anaemia is caused by blood loss, a lack of red blood cell formation, and rapid red blood cell breakdown. Nutritional deficiencies, notably iron deficiency, are the most common causes of anaemia, while deficits in folate, vitamins B12, and A are also essential factors.
Q. Can low Hb cause strokes?
A. According to one study, low haemoglobin levels increased the chance of developing ischemic stroke in both men and women.
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