Anemia is a condition that leaves you without enough healthy red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to your body’s tissues. Anemia symptoms may include feeling tired and weak. If you’ve experienced anemia symptoms, you know how draining it can be. Other anemia symptoms include pale skin and shortness of breath. There are a few anemia natural treatments, and it goes a little further than changes in diet. Of course, a change in diet is one of the biggest components of anemia natural treatments.
For example, choosing foods that are rich in iron is one of the most well-known anemia natural treatments. (1)
Anemia due to an iron deficiency is one of the most common types of anemia. Iron deficiency anemia symptoms include many of the usual anemia symptoms. Additionally, you might experience inflammation or soreness of your tongue, brittle nails, and unusual cravings for non-food items, such as ice, dirt or starch. (2)
A blood test will very easily and quickly pinpoint whether or not an iron deficiency is at the root of your anemia. Ask your doctor for a blood test and you should be able to get your results back fairly quickly.
Other anemia symptoms include: (3)
Causes of anemia vary. Losing blood from injury or menstruation will lead to not enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Likewise, changes in the immune system can cause your body to destroy the red blood cells you have. Furthermore, age, a vitamin B12 deficiency, pregnancy, overuse of aspirin, and certain diseases can all lead to anemia. (4,5)
There are also rarer, more severe causes for anemia. These can include HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, diabetes, genetic disorders and a diseased spleen.
That said, in most cases anemia is simply due to an iron deficiency. It’s still a good idea to check with a medical professional to rule out any of the other causes for anemia.
If your doctor confirms that your anemia has come about due to one of the less severe causes, they will likely recommend traditional treatment.
Traditional treatment of anemia might include taking supplements or undergoing medical procedures. (6)
If you’re interested in trying any of the natural treatments below, be sure to mentioned that to your doctor – particularly if you’re thinking of forgoing your medications. They’ll know your case’s specifics and will be able to advise you on how to proceed.
Even if they do encourage you to stay on medication, be sure to ask them about using some of the strategies below in conjunction with those traditional treatments.
You can treat anemia naturally in the following ways:
1. Nourish Your Spleen
While not all types of anemia are avoidable, you may be able to stave off some forms by consuming a healthy anemia diet. Such a diet involves not just iron-rich foods, but also foods that will nourish your spleen.
Your spleen is responsible for red blood cell production. An unhealthy spleen is one of many factors that can cause anemia. (7)
For a healthy spleen, take advantage of the fall harvest. This means squashes such as pumpkin, acorn, butternut, and spaghetti. Aim for one to two servings of squash every day. Butternut squash soup is a delicious and great place to start! (8)
In order to boost your spleen health even more, incorporate green leafy vegetables. Examples of this includes spinach, kale, and chard. Have one serving per day. Additionally, bitter foods are great for your spleen. Try romaine lettuce or arugula. (9)
If you already have an existing spleen disorder, check with your doctor to make sure these strategies won’t interfere with your medication.
2. Use Probiotics for a Healthy Gut
Another great way to combat some forms of anemia is to improve your gut health. You can do this with probiotics. Gut health is imperative in order to absorb nutrients like iron.
A Stanford medical study found that when patients supplement with probiotics, all of their B vitamin levels tend to go up, along with iron levels. (10)
As such, just popping an iron pill might not fix the problem. Address the underlying issue of your gut health by ingesting probiotic-rich foods such as kefir or sauerkraut. For good measure, you can also take a probiotic supplement, 50 to 100 billion IUs daily.
If you’re going to go the supplement route, it’s a good idea to combine this with probiotic foods. Probiotic supplements on their own typically contain just a single type of bacteria. Foods, on the other hand, will contain several.
The bacteria in probiotic supplements can also die off by the time you get around to taking the supplement. As a result, you wouldn’t be taking as much of the probiotic bacteria as you intended. This is why it’s a great idea to use both supplements and foods containing probiotics, instead of relying on supplements alone.
3. Consume Iron-Rich Foods
Many people know consuming iron-rich foods is a great way to fight anemia symptoms. Try nuts, beans, vegetables, dried apricots, and fortified grains, however, be wary of processed and packaged foods. (11)
You can also take iron supplements, which we’ll get into shortly.
4. Reduce Stress
Holding onto stress can deplete your spleen and liver and leave you exhausted. You absolutely must make time in your routine for stress-relieving activities. Relax and have fun! Furthermore, get plenty of sleep. All of these items will help recharge your system. Give your body a fighting chance against anemia by doing what you must to manage stress. (12,13)
5. Try Taking Supplements
In addition to the natural treatments above, you can take a B vitamin complex that includes folate. This is not to be confused with folic acid. You can also take an iron supplement or ginseng. (14, 15)
Your doctor may have a recommendation for a specific iron supplement and dosage based on your levels. Speaking of which, blood tests on a somewhat regular basis can be very helpful for tracking your progress if an iron deficiency is to blame for your anemia.