India is a country which has an abundant supply of high hemoglobin foods. Our ancestors, knowingly or unknowingly, have included all these hemoglobin-rich vegetables & foods as part of our daily stipulated food diet. Unfortunately, our sedentary lifestyles and so-called modern eating habits, have taken a toll on this. However, we are fortunate enough to have all these hemoglobin-rich food items so easily available all around us. Here is a compilation of some of the best sources of hemoglobin. These can easily be incorporated into our foods to boost hemoglobin. This list of foods to increase hemoglobin would be very helpful for pregnant women and also for people struggling to increase the iron content in their blood.
What is Hemoglobin?
What exactly is Hemoglobin? Hemoglobin (Hb) is a protein which is rich in iron. It is present in our red blood cells (RBC’s).
- Hemoglobin performs the main function of transporting oxygen from our lungs to our body cells. It also transports back carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs. Hemoglobin gives the red colour to the blood.
- Hemoglobin is also important to maintaining the shape of the red blood cells. Any dispute in the shape of the cells will affect its functioning and result in lower levels of oxygen.
- The intake of a balanced healthy diet with sufficient hemoglobin-rich foods help in maintain it in the normal range.
Importance of Hemoglobin To Our Body:
Like all factors in our body, even Hemoglobin has defined levels considered to be normal. The levels of Hb are measured by a blood test and expressed in gms per deciliter (g/dL) of blood.
The Normal Levels of Hb are:
- 14 – 18 gm/dL in adult men.
- 12 – 16 gm/dL in adult women.
- The ranges specified could vary slightly depending on the age. For instance, the normal levels in newborns are slightly higher whereas in older people it could be lower. Pregnancy is another factor which could cause variation in the levels. There is a number of foods to increase hemoglobin levels in pregnancy.
- It is very essential to maintain the hemoglobin levels in our blood within the levels. If the levels of hemoglobin drop below the normal levels, it leads to a lower level of oxygen and is diagnosed as a medical condition called Anemia.
Causes of Hemoglobin Deficiency:
Hemoglobin deficiency, medically termed as Anemia occurs when the body has lower red blood cells and implies lower levels of iron in the body.
Iron-deficient Anemia is a very common medical condition, unfortunately. This can easily be overcome by hemoglobin food sources. Younger children and women are at a higher risk due to the following factors:
- Unbalanced nutritious foods Intake and increased intake of junk foods leading to a severe deficiency of iron in the younger children.
- People with a poor diet.
- Menstruation – Women are more susceptible to a decreased Hb level due to their menstruation cycle.
- Childbirth – Women of child-bearing age may face severe blood loss during childbirth.
- Frequent blood donation.
- Internal Bleeding – Medical conditions like ulcers in the stomach, or intestines, etc.
- Inability to absorb iron – Certain disorders or surgeries that limit the amount of iron that the body can absorb.
Symptoms of Hemoglobin Deficiency:
The symptoms of Anemia can easily be overcome by the consumption of foods which increase hemoglobin fast.
The main and prominent symptoms of Iron-deficiency anaemia are as follows:
- Fatigue: General tiredness and overall body weakness wherein the person feel lack of energy even for daily routine.
- Pale skin: A symptom in which the skin appears much duller and devoid of colour.
- Dizziness: Experiencing dizzy feelings.
- Shortness of breath.
- Cravings to eat non-food items such as mud, dirt, chalk.
- Cold hands or feet.
- Brittle nails
- Tingling or crawling feeling in the legs.
Top Hemoglobin Rich Foods In India:
Here we enlisted 18 best haemoglobin-rich foods in India. Let’s have a look into them.
Soybeans are a bean which is a species of the legume family. It is grown for its edible bean which is very very rich in iron and protein. It contains very high iron content which helps in drastically increasing the hemoglobin levels in the body. Soybean is especially very useful for vegetarians as it has a high nutritional value and provides half the daily intake of proteins and iron required per day. One cup of cooked soybeans provides 37 % of the iron requirement of the body. It is also very high in fibre and helps tremendously in weight loss.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 15.7 mg of iron
Spinach, a part of the greens family, is the best food to increase hemoglobin levels. It is a very rich source of calcium, vitamins, and fibre too. A person diagnosed with anaemia or any symptom of anaemia like weakness or fatigue is immediately asked to include lots of greens in their food intake to boost the hemoglobin levels in the body. Pregnant and lactating women who have a tendency for low iron levels are also recommended to do so. Spinach is a wonder which can be had as a salad, soup, sambhar, roti, gravy, etc.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 3.2 mg of iron satisfying 20 % of the iron requirement for a day.
Another very effective food when it comes to improving the hemoglobin levels drastically is the good old Beetroot. It is very rich in iron content and immediately increases the iron levels in the blood. It is a vegetable which has exceptionally high nutritional value and is loaded with iron, calcium, vitamins A & C and high in fibre too. The red colour of beetroot can directly be linked to its health benefit in increasing the blood count levels.
It is especially recommended for all children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and older people to consume beetroots in any form every day. Be it in any form, but include this super-rich hemoglobin food in your daily intake.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.8 mg of iron
4. Red Meat:
A blessing for all non-vegetarians who want to fight anaemia and increase their hemoglobin levels in their blood cells is that red meat is very rich in iron. High contents of iron and vitamin B12 can be found in red meat. The red meats that are very rich in iron are – Lamb’s liver, liver of beef, liver of turkey, and liver of chicken, Ground beef and Chicken breast.
Red meat is a super-rich food to increase hemoglobin levels in the body. It is generally observed that Red meat eaters have a lower tendency of having anaemia. It is recommended for all non-vegetarians to consume red meat at least 2 times a week to fight anaemia.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 2 – 2.5 mg of iron
One more very good source of food which is highly nutritious and loaded on iron content is Seafood. It is also high in protein content despite being low in calories. There is a wide variety of seafood available such as molluscs,( including snails), clams, oysters, shellfish and caviar. Seafood in a meal provides the complete daily requirement of iron and vitamin B12. Shellfishes and clams are especially very high in iron and are recommended to people who show any signs of weakness or fatigue. It helps in immediately shooting up the hemoglobin levels in the body.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.8 mg of iron
6. Pumpkin Seeds:
A very surprising food which is very rich in hemoglobinis pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds of both white pumpkins and sweet yellow pumpkins are dried and can be had as a tasty snack. It is easy to carry it with you to bite on as a healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of iron, vitamin k, zinc, and manganese. They are a healthy option for all fussy eaters. Children can be coaxed into nibbling on this healthy chewy snack rather than a bag of potato chips.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 3.3 mg of iron
The vegetable Broccoli, which is unfortunately disliked by most people, is a very nutritious vegetable and is rich in hemoglobin. It meets 6 % of our daily requirement of iron. Apart from iron content, it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. It is very high in vitamin C and vitamin K. Besides being used to pump up the iron levels, Broccoli strengthens the immunity system, helps in maintaining a good heart, glowing skin and bright eyes. Broccoli is usually added as a salad vegetable and eaten raw. Broccoli can also be enjoyed as a soup, as gravy or as fried.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.7 mg of iron.
8. Brown Rice:
Brown rice is a variety of rice itself but in the unrefined and unpolished form. Due to it being in its unpolished form, it does not lose a number of the nutrients which are lost by the white rice. Being in its natural form, Brown rice retains its quality of being a food rich in hemoglobin. It is also loaded with calcium, magnesium phosphorous and potassium apart from being a very good source of iron and vitamins. Brown rice is also a great source of food to regulate the blood sugar, to decrease the cholesterol levels, development of the bone and immune systems.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.4 mg of iron.
The Pomegranate, a super-rich food for hemoglobin, like how its colour depicts, is directly linked to our blood. Pomegranates are a tremendous source of iron and are also loaded with calcium, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a very popular food and quite a favourite among children as well. An easy source of iron which is easily available does not require any cooking and relished by all as well. It is recommended that it be consumed on a daily basis by all to maintain a healthy Hemoglobin level. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should consume it every day too. Pomegranate juices also taste very good.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.3 mg of iron
Tomatoes are a very good source of Vitamin C. Foods which are rich in Vitamin C trigger the increase of hemoglobin in the body as they help in easy absorption of iron. Like the pomegranate, the red colour of tomatoes shows its direct link to the blood. Most Indian dishes are designed in such a way that tomatoes are used in our everyday cooking and hence form part of our daily food. There is no harm in calling Tomatoes as a superfood as there are so many ways of consuming it. It can be had raw in your salads, as a juice, in the cooked form as a soup and included in curries, etc. It can go on endlessly.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.5 mg of iron
This summer cooler fresh fruit not only is a refreshing fruit for summer but is a rich food to increase hemoglobin levels in the body. Similar to pomegranates & tomatoes, watermelon is also a red fruit which is directly linked to the health of blood cells. The watermelon is not only an iron-rich food but also loaded with Vitamin C, which speeds up the absorption of iron by the body. Watermelons which were earlier a seasonal fruit is now available throughout the year in its hybrid variety. So make use of its availability to keep hemoglobin levels high.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.2 mg of iron
The apple is the most popular fruit across the globe. One of the primary reasons for this could be that apart from being hemoglobin-rich food, is packed with numerous vitamins and minerals. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away “ – goes the famous English saying which we have been learning from our childhood days and teach our children too.
The apple is a super source of food and provides instant energy. This is the reason it is used across the world for instant energy by sportspersons, trekkers and all persons involved in outdoor activities. It is a favourite food among children who needs no coaxing by mothers.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.12 mg of iron
Honey, as known by all, is the most popularly used sweetener in the world. It is produced from the secretions of honeybees. Unlike sugar, honey is packed with nutrients and is very rich in iron. Other than iron, honey is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Persons who have a lower level of hemoglobin in their bodies are advised to drink a glass of warm water every day with honey in it. Slowly, sugar is being replaced by honey across the world. Honey is also used to treat wounds, heal skin conditions and cure allergies. Honey is the only food in the world with no expiry date.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.42 mg of iron
Dates belong to the category of dry fruits. Although they are high in calories, they are also an abundant source of iron. Dates are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, calcium, phosphorous sugar and fibre. Dates are available in 2 forms – fresh dates and dried dates. Irrespective of what form it is consumed in, it provides a sudden increase in the iron levels in the body. It is used as a home remedy for people suffering from anaemia symptoms. It is also given on a regular basis to pregnant women and lactating mothers to maintain the hemoglobin levels in the normal range.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 1 mg of iron
15. Dark Chocolate:
A very surprising source of food highly rich in hemoglobin is Dark Chocolate. This can easily be classified as one of the most relished foods across the globe. Dark chocolate, although misconstrued as bad for teeth, is rich in iron levels and can help boost the hemoglobin levels significantly. It is a rich source of antioxidants too. The cocoa in dark chocolate is good for the blood flow in the arteries and has shown to lower cholesterol levels thereby reducing risk of heart disease. The main disadvantage of dark chocolate is that it is high in calories so you need to watch out.
- Food Serving In 1 Ounce: 3.5 mg of iron
All nuts are very rich sources of iron. Apart from being a power pack of vitamins and minerals, nuts are a wholesome food and are high in iron content. Under the nuts category falls all the types of nuts namely peanuts, groundnuts, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. It is one of the easiest sources of iron which can be fed to children as they would really enjoy chewing on a couple of nuts anytime. Mothers can take advantage of this factor to pack it as a healthy snack for them to carry to school.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 2.6 mg of iron
Although most people assume that potatoes are filled with fat and carbohydrates and actually avoid them, potatoes are in reality a good source of iron, starch, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Potatoes are very good for the immune system and help in fighting diseases and have anti-ageing properties and are good on the skin. It also has anti-cancer properties. Potatoes are of many varieties – regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, and the yam, all of which are high on nutrition. In India, potato is a very popular and favoured vegetable and is relished and used in most dishes daily.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 0.8 mg of iron.
18. Whole grains:
Whole grains are of 2 varieties – cereals and pseudocereals. India is home to many kinds of wholesome grains. The most common cereal grains are wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, and millets, all of which are very rich sources of iron. They also provide vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Wholesome grains are preferred as the main source of iron for people who follow the plant-based diet. It has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. As they are high in fibre, it keeps you full for a longer period.
- Food Serving In 100 Grams: 2.5 mg of iron
To sum it up, we can see how we have so many food items around us which are an abundant supply of iron. Daily intake of these hemoglobin-rich foods will go a long way in maintaining our Hemoglobin levels well within the required level. We can also see that all of the above foods loaded with hemoglobin are generously used in Indian diets and are staple foods of the Indian culinary. More often than not, these foods to improve hemoglobin are widely used as home remedies to cure anaemia too. To conclude, ensure to take your iron-rich foods daily as per your taste buds as we anyway have lots of options around us.