Whenever I do a blood test, the first thing I look for is the hemoglobin level. This is because since I remember, my hemoglobin has always been on the lower side. Even lesser than the lower acceptable limit. This is a very common problem for many people especially women. The symptoms of low hemoglobin are fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, pale skin, brittle nails, rapid heartbeat and poor appetite. These symptoms often go ignored assuming it could due to tiredness or lack of sleep or too much work. Thus, it is important to do complete blood tests at regular intervals.

Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to other areas of your body so that living cells can function properly. It also helps carry carbon dioxide away from the cells back to the lungs. Thus, hemoglobin plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy life.

The most common cause for low hemoglobin is deficiencies of iron, folic acid, and vitamins C and B12. Thus, having foods rich in these nutrients would help increase hemoglobin levels. Here is a list of foods that will help increase hemoglobin levels significantly and help keep up overall energy level and health too.

Iron Rich foods

Food has two types of iron — heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in meat, fish and poultry whereas non heme iron is found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. They are both absorbed differently by the body. Click here to know the details.

Some good easily available iron rich foods are – Non-vegetarian foods like liver, red meat and shrimp, lentils like soya beans, kidney beans (rajma), black eyes peas(chowli) and chick peas(chole), vegetables like spinach and beetroot, nuts like almonds, cashew pine and peanuts, tofu, dates, figs.

Foods rich in folic acid

Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin. This vitamin is used to make red blood cells. Thus, a deficiency in folic acid would automatically lead to a deficiency in hemoglobin.

Sources of folic acid include lentils, dried beans, peas, nuts, avocado, dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, collard or turnip greens, okra(bhindi) and asparagus and citrus fruits and juices.

Foods rich in Vit C

Vitamin C plays an important role in the absorption of non heme iron. So especially if you are a vegetarian then having sources of vitamin C along with iron will help in the absorption of the non heme iron. Thus increasing hemoglobin.

Sources of vitamin C include papaya, oranges, lemon, lime, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and spinach.

Foods rich in Vit B12

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can affect the production of red blood cells, decreasing the number of red blood cells circulating in the blood. Therefore decreasing the amount of hemoglobin available for oxygen transport.

Sources of vitamin B12 include clams, beef, chicken, crab, eggs and soy products like tofu and soy milk.

Natural foods to increase hemoglobin

Consuming these foods will surely help in increasing your hemoglobin levels significantly. Another precaution one must take is avoid having certain foods. Foods like tea, coffee, colas, wine, beer and calcium rich foods like butter, cheese, paneer and milk block our body’s ability to absorb iron. So, these are a no-no.

I have included some of these in my daily routine. I have 7 dates every morning. Beetroot is another ingredient I try to include often in salads and sandwiches. I have nuts kept in transparent bottles on my dining table and have them daily too.

Would love to hear your secrets and recipes that help you maintain your hemoglobin levels and keep you strong and energetic.

About Author

I am a stay at home mom, having worked in the software technology services space for over 10 years. In my professional life I used to enforce quality standards like CMMi & Six Sigma to make developers and testers jobs easier & process oriented.In my current stint I am using similar techniques coupled with age old wisdom from my mom and grand mom to make our living healthier and medicine free. To start any new stint it helps if you read and train and so I got myself a diploma in Naturopathy from Mumbai.

42 Comments

  1. I wish I had seen this a few weeks back! My cousin wa ssuffering from low haemoglobin levels and this was what the doctor prescribed alomg with the medicines. Ramadan Mubarak dear sister.

  2. Thanks I will be using this to help my low ferritin levels , my levels are at a 10 when normal is way higher not sure why though.

  3. Shreemayee Chattopadhyay on

    Very informative post. I too faced the situation a lot and did overcome the same way.

  4. Sabeeka, I love your blog. Fill with useful information which everyone seeks for. I faced low BP problem during pregnancy and i m glad i was to able to cover it by eating right food. Very few people know that there are foods that could help in raising the Hemoglobin. You are doing a wonderful job through your blog.

  5. These are amazing tips..and you are right when you say that the first thing you check is the levels.. the same goes with me as I am anemic pretty much all the time. my granny used to make us have raisins in milk to help us increase Hemoglobin levels in our bodies esp when we were pregnant.. I guess it works ..

  6. Thank you for sharing…..It is always good to expose our body to natural therapies rather going for medicines and all…Never knew about Heme iron and non heme iron….this is very useful info….will bookmark this to share with friends…

  7. Interesting! so actually when you are eating healthy you naturally maintain your hemoglobin.
    I like the idea of adding beets to salads – my mom used to make halwa (dessert) with beets too. And I keep nuts in clear bottles but still forget to eat them :/

    will try to be more specific insha Allah! thankyou for sharing it was nice piece of information for sure.

  8. I’m all for natural remedies and treatments. Its like getting the natural balance from nature and pure natural products. Thanks for the enlightening post.

  9. Do you have any idea if the haemoglobin level have any link to heredity ?
    My mom has low haemoglobin and I too suffer from it, no matter how much I try to make it better the numbers just doesn’t spike up. Hence I was thinking if there is any genetic connection here !

  10. Glad to come across this post as I currently have low haemoglobin levels. Being a fan of natural home remedies, this has some great tips very nicely explained and illustrated. I’m going to list down all that I need from here. Thanks for the inputs.
    I like this blog and will bookmark it for future read. Good Luck to you Sabeeka!

  11. First Its good that you do your lab checks to see your vital stats. Hope every women do this. Second haem level is many a times the reason for fatigue and even depression. Its good that you outlined all the nutrients we must take to build our haem levels.

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