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Anemia sufferers - Improve your absorption of iron

Friday, July 22, 2011 by: Debbie A. Allsup
Tags: anemia, iron, health news

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(NaturalNews) Even people, who are aware of their bodies and make healthy choices with food and beverages, may find themselves in an iron-deficient anemic state. At times, simply knowing which foods are high in iron may not be enough to prevent becoming anemic. Understanding which habits support, and which may inhibit, the body's absorption of iron is necessary to balance an iron-deficient anemic condition.

When trying to overcome anemia, it's best to avoid eating foods with high levels of oxalic acid - rhubarb, tomatoes, spinach, and chocolate - because oxalic acid can interfere with the absorption of iron from non-plant sources. However, spinach can be boiled for a minute in order to reduce the oxalic acid levels.

Foods and beverages with tannins (biomolecules that bind to proteins) also need to be avoided or taken in moderation because they interfere with iron absorption. Red wine, grapes, coffee, black tea, and green tea are a few foods that contain tannins. The website "Home Birth With Love" states, "Coffee, soda, black tea, dairy foods, bran, antacids, calcium and magnesium supplements, and certain medications actually inhibit iron absorption." Antacids are not recommended because iron is absorbed in the duodenum in an acidic environment. It's best to avoid pasteurized dairy foods because pasteurized dairy may cause undetected bleeding to occur in the GI tract. When anemic, it goes without saying that bleeding should be avoided. Calcium phosphates in supplements, phosphates found in milk, and the phytates in legumes and grains also block iron absorption. Keep in mind, refining grains lowers the phytates' ability to block iron but, unfortunately, decreases the iron within the legume or grain itself.

According to the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," researchers report, "Zinc and manganese may interfere with iron absorption because of the similar physicochemical properties and shared absorptive pathways." This is something to keep in mind if you take a multivitamin and are having iron absorption issues. About the topic of foods that are high in the mineral manganese, Alexander Schauss, the CEO and Senior Director of Natural and Medicinal Products Research at AIBMR Life Sciences in Washington, writes, "Unrefined whole grains and cereal products are the richest dietary sources of manganese." However, Schauss notes that it's too much manganese rather than manganese itself that inhibits iron absorption. Each person could note how his or her intake of manganese affects his or her complete blood count numbers and how they feel in general.

When taking iron supplements or eating foods that are high in iron, have at least 500 mg of vitamin C or foods that are high in vitamin C in order to help with absorption. Yoga can also help an anemic condition through the breathing and the poses performed. Breathing deeply has been shown to improve the red blood cell count, increase blood circulation, and improve digestion. The poses themselves work particular organs and stimulate them to function better as well. Yoga can also increase energy through unblocking qi (chi), which is a result welcomed by tired, weak anemic sufferers.

When anemic, the road back to health isn't necessarily only focusing on foods high in iron. It makes sense to stop blocking the absorption of iron and to start supporting the absorption of iron to balance an iron-deficient anemic condition.


About the author

Debbie A. Allsup holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Parapsychic Sciences from the American Institute of Holistic Theology located in Birmingham, Alabama, earned in 2007. Her dissertation focused on psychic attack and protection from it. She is also a licensed acupuncturist in the state of California and has practiced under the business name AuthenticSelf Acupuncture & Beyond since 2004.
You can follow her blogs at www.debbieallsup.info and visit her website at www.chasnqi.com

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