How to fight anaemia?

Treatment of anaemia is usually done with increased consumption of foods rich in iron, such as red meats, beans and beets. In more severe cases, the doctor may also recommend using iron supplements or a blood transfusion.

What to eat

Eating more iron-rich foods, such as red meats and refuse, such as liver and heart, chicken, fish, seafood, spinach, broccoli and pumpkin seeds, is essential to fight anaemia. 

To combat iron deficiency anaemia, also called iron deficiency anaemia, it is recommended to increase the consumption of foods rich in protein, iron, folic acid and B vitamins, such as meat, eggs, fish and spinach. These nutrients stimulate the production of red blood cells, which are generally low when you have anaemia.

Iron deficiency anaemia is more common in debilitated people, children who are growing and who have inadequate nutrition, and pregnant women. The best iron for the body is what is present in foods of animal origin, as the intestine better absorbs it. In addition, foods having vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwis and pineapples, help to increase the absorption of iron in the body and should also be included regularly in the diet.

Foods that should be eaten

To combat anaemia, you should consume foods rich in the following nutrients:


The consumption of foods rich in iron is significant in cases of iron deficiency anaemia, as this mineral stimulates the production of red blood cells in the blood.

There are two types of iron, heme, which comes from foods of animal origin such as meat, chicken, fish, liver, eggs and shellfish, and is better absorbed in the body, and non-heme iron, which is present in fortified foods with this mineral, fruits or vegetables such as beans, soybeans, lentils, peanuts, beets and dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale. 

These foods should be included in the daily diet, preferably with foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, pineapples, strawberries, kiwis and tangerines, for example, as this will facilitate their absorption at the intestinal level. 

In addition, some studies indicate that the consumption of foods rich in vitamin A can also improve iron absorption, but more studies are needed to prove this effect.

Folic acid

Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is responsible for stimulating the production of blood cells and correctly forming haemoglobin, a substance responsible for carrying oxygen within red blood cells.

This micronutrient can be found in foods like spinach, kale, wheat germ liver and eggs. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency is responsible for causing megaloblastic anaemia, which is characterised by an increase in the size of red blood cells and a decrease in white blood cells and platelets. This type of anaemia can be avoided by increasing the consumption of vitamin-rich foods such as liver, heart, meat, eggs, milk and derivatives. 

Foods that should be avoided

During treatment for anaemia, consumption of calcium-rich foods along with iron-rich meals should be avoided, as calcium decreases the absorption of iron in the intestine. Thus, it is essential to avoid consuming milk and dairy products, especially at lunch and dinner, when meat and other iron-rich foods are typically eaten.

In addition, coffee, black tea and mate tea should also be avoided in iron-rich meals, as they are rich in phytates and tannins, substances that reduce iron absorption in the intestine. 

Tips to improve iron absorption

In addition to iron-rich foods for anaemia, it is also important to follow other eating tips such as:

  • Avoid eating foods rich in calcium with main meals, such as yoghurt, pudding, milk or cheese, because calcium naturally inhibits iron absorption;
  • Avoid eating whole foods at lunch and dinner, as the phytates present in cereals and fibre in whole foods reduce the efficiency of absorption of iron present in foods;
  • Avoid eating sweets, red wine, chocolate, and herbs to make tea.

Mixing fruits and vegetables in juices can also be an excellent way to enrich your diet with iron. For example, two great iron-rich recipes are pineapple juice blended in a blender with fresh parsley and onion liver steak.

In addition, it is also recommended to eat, preferably, the same meal. These foods are rich in vitamin C, such as cashews, acerola, pineapple and guava, which help to increase the absorption of iron in the body. 

Iron supplement

For the treatment of moderate or severe anaemia, the doctor may recommend the use of an elemental iron supplement such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, or iron hydroxide as follows:

  • Children under five years: 3 mg of iron/kg of body weight per day for three months;
  • Adults: 120 mg of iron per day for three months;
  • Pregnant women: 60 mg of iron twice a day until normalisation of haemoglobin levels.

For better absorption of iron, the supplement should be taken with lunch or dinner, preferably with citrus fruit, such as orange, lemon or tangerine.

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