Anemia is one of the common health risks that affect people following plant-based diets. This can cause fatigue, make nails brittle, pale skin, etc. So, it is important to consult a doctor before switching or changing your eating habits. You must know that nutrients like iron found in plant-based food have lower bioavailability. Also, cutting down on animal-based food altogether causes anemia. That said, if you follow a balanced plant-based diet, you can avoid the risk of developing this condition. In this article, we will discuss in detail how to fight anemia with plant-based foods.
What Is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition when the red blood cells do not carry enough oxygen, and it develops when there is iron deficiency. It can also be a symptom of other health issues like ulcers, heavy periods, cancer, colon polyps, and blood disorders. During its initial stages, it produces mild symptoms like irritability, tiredness, pale pallor, difficulty to concentrate, and pale pallor. If left untreated, it can cause severe symptoms like brittle hair and nails, sore tongue, blue-tinged eyes, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
Plant-Based Foods To Fight Anemia
If your anemic condition is due to iron deficiency, then you must include the following foods in your meal.
Legumes: Legumes like lentils, peas, and beans are popular because they are excellent sources of protein. It contains other nutrients like omega fatty acids, fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K. Besides, a cup of cooked lentils contains about 6 grams of iron, and a cup of uncooked red kidney beans has a little over 15 mg of iron. So, integrating legumes into your plant-based recipes can help with boosting iron levels and thereby help avoid or reduce the risk of developing anemia.
Nuts And Seeds: Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of healthy fat. They are good snacking food, used for making oil, and plant-based butter. A tablespoon of cashew butter has 1 mg of iron and a tablespoon of almond butter has 9.3 mg of iron.
Potatoes: Potatoes are starchy vegetables, and they are a good source of carbohydrates. A cup of baked sweet potatoes has up to 1.4 mg of iron, and a large, unpeeled potato has 3.2 mg of iron. Furthermore, they are one of the most versatile plant-based food that can be integrated into a wide variety of recipes.
Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain that is rich in iron, and it is popular because it is a source of complete protein. Besides, a cup of cooked quinoa has up to 2.8 mg of iron.
Including these plant-based foods will ensure that you have adequate levels of iron in your body.