2 Feb 2012

Anaemia - Very Basic Information

Hello everyone!

Hope you have read the last post: 5 ways to improve your-diet routine

I like February -  the month with lesser number of days and more number of things to be done in that time frame : )
A background as to why am I writing a post on Anaemia. 
I have worked with 2 members of FOGSI in 2008-09 Dr.Usha Valadra and Dr.Sanjay Shah in association with Emcure Pharma and conducted Lectures on Anaemia Awareness in Lourdes Convent School and Lancer's Army School & SNDT Commerce College - in Surat. I liked the concept and now when I am back to Surat for few days I thought of taking this concept forward and taking camps across as many Schools and Colleges as possible.

          Okay that was an introduction to this concept. Anaemia as such is a very big topic but I am covering only the very general and Basic information which almost everyone of us being Literate and Aware Healthizens should be aware about :)

Let us start with the very very basic facts.

I am sure many of you would already be aware of this term
Anaemia in common understandable language is : Disease caused due to Iron Deficiency.
Normal Haemoglobin level in Females - 12-14.5 mg/dl 
This may vary in different age groups and conditions like Puberty, Pregnancy and Lactation.


1) Blood loss due to Excessive bleeding, Ulcers, Haemorrhage, Bleeding during delivery, frequent Blood Donation etc.

2) Defeciency of Iron during accelerated growth phase – Infancy, Adolescence, Pregnancy, Lactation etc.

3) Inadequate absorption of Iron: Diarrhoea, Sprue, Pellagra, Crohn's disease etc

4) Iron poor diet in Infants, Children, Teens and Vegetarians.

5) Certain Drugs, Foods, Caffeinated drinks etc.


Pale skin,  Anorexia (loss of appetite), Pica (eating abnormal things), Lethargy/Tiredness & Fatigue, Breathlessness on Exertion, 
Irritability, Insomnia (lack of sleep), Palpitation (Increased heart rate), Giddiness, Dimness of vision, Difficulty in breathing, Headache, Oedema (swelling due to water retention)

There can be many other or lesser symptoms but it all depends on causes of Anaemia because Anaemia is not just caused because of Iron defeciency.

The severity of the symptoms depends on the speed at which Anaemia develops in your body.


Fact No 1: Breast-milk contains less iron-content but has better absorption and digestibility than other milks.

Iron comes from 2 sources
HAEM – non-vegetarian
                                            NON-HAEM – vegetarian 

Other sources can be - Soil, water, dust & Cooking of food in iron-kadhai especially Green Leafy vegetables (Palak, Methi etc)

Iron rich food sources

Cereals: Bajra, Jowar, Rice flakes (Poha), Rice puffed (Mamra), Vermicelli (Sevai), Broken wheat(Dalia), Ragi (Nachni) etc.

Pulses: Soyabean, Masur, Math, Udad(Black gram dal) , Mung (Green gram dal), Chanadal, Desi chana (Horse gram), Kabuli chana, Rajma (Kidney Beans) Roasted chana (Daadiya), Chawli, Drypeas, Cowpea – almost all pulses are rich in Iron, etc.

Vegetables: Ajwain ke patte(Omum leaves) , Arbi ke patte (Colocasia Leaves), Sarson ke patte(Mustard leaves), Pudina(Mint Leaves), Muli bhaji(Radish leaves), Pyaz bhaji (Spring onion leaves), Cauliflower leaves, Raw banana (Plaintain green), Soya bhaji (Soyabean leaves), Shaljam ke patte(Turnip greens), Broccoli, Beetroot greens (Almost all green leafy vegetables are rich in Iron), etc.

Spices: Turmeric (Green turmeric)

Nuts, Dry fruits & Oilseeds: Dry coconut, Black & White Til(Sesame seeds), Pista (Pistachio), Charoli/Chiraunji , Groundnut, Niger seeds, Pumpkin seeds (roasted) , Almonds, Dried Dates, etc.

Fruits: Apple, Strawberry, Water-melon, Pomegranate – to some extent etc.

Others: Jaggery, Khoa, Cheese, etc

Fact No 2: Iron rich foods are better absorbed if taken with Vitamin C rich foods

Some of the sources of Vitamin C 

Amla(Gooseberry), Lemon, Orange, Sweet-lime, Pineapple, Guava, Cherries, Water-melon, Kiwi-fruit, Lichi, Cabbage, Drumstick, Mint leaves, Coriander leaves etc.

The facts mentioned below interefere with Iron absorption

1)  Using excess of antacids: eg: Gelusil, Eno, Digene etc. 

2) Using laxatives regularly, Instead increase your total water intake: 10-12 glasses a day. (Prefer having Hot water)

3) Avoid adding Soda, Aji-no-motto to foods (Did you know almost all outside food contains Aji-no-motto?)

4) Having tea/coffee immediately after meals/ snacks, prefer having it about 30-40 mins. (Tannin and Caffeine hinder Iron absorption)

Thats all for now. 
Good Day & Good Luck for Better Iron Levels!


  1. Informative blog...

    But have some queries.
    1)AS i knw tea/coffee have to be taken b4 meal, so if taken after then is it having any effect.....
    2)did green leafy vegetables retain its property if cooked in any other kadai other then iron?

    bye ..

    gud luck

  2. Hi Res!
    Ans No 1) Tea/ Coffee should never be had on an empty stomach. It should always be taken after a gap of at least 20-30 minutes after a meal. This way the Tannin in Tea and Caffeine in Coffee it doesn't interfere with the absorption of Minerals present in the food.
    And No 2) By green leafy vegetables I meant Bhaajis like Palak Methi etc. If these veggies are cooked in Iron Kadhai they become all the more a better source of Iron (altough the Iron content of Kadhai is transferred only in minute amount eg: 0.00051gm ). Alluminium does not have any effect in betterment of nutritional value on the contrary excess use of Alluminium is found to be unhealthy.

    Do Keep asking questions :)

  3. thanku for information.. :)