What is hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that transports oxygen in the blood to all the parts of your body.
It also transports carbon dioxide released from the cells to the lungs from where it is exhaled.
Normal hemoglobin range in men, women, and children
Women: 12 – 15 gm/l
Men: 13.8 – 17.2 gm/l
Children: 11-16 gm/l
If you have your hemoglobin count below this range then you are likely to be having low hemoglobin count in your blood.
How common is having a low hemoglobin count
Low hemoglobin count condition is very common in India, especially in women and children.
According to the national family health survey report in the year 2015 to 16, it has been reported that 50 percent of children in the age group of six months to a year have a hemoglobin count of less than 11 gm/dl and the 51% of women in the age group of 15 to 49 years have hemoglobin count less than 13 g/dl.
What happens if you have a low hemoglobin count
Low hemoglobin count occurs when your body is deficient in iron. Iron deficiency in your body leads to anemia.
Symptoms of low hemoglobin level
Generally, if you have a slight decrease in your hemoglobin count you will not have any symptoms. So in most cases, people do not even know that they are suffering from low hemoglobin count. If it remains unrecognized and untreated, it may lead to further symptoms.
Some of the symptoms as a result of low hemoglobin count are general weakness and fatigue, headache, pale skin and brittle nails, sore tongue, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, etc.
Causes of low hemoglobin levels
Iron deficiency is one of the major causes of having a low hemoglobin count in your body. Well, there might be some other health issues that may cause low hemoglobin levels.
Low hemoglobin count is common in some medical conditions like pregnancy, menstruation, recent surgeries, urinary tract infection, liver disease, etc.
How to increase hemoglobin count in blood
If you have a little lower than the optimum hemoglobin range in your blood then it can be treated with simple lifestyle changes and food habits. But if you have a hemoglobin level that is quite lower than the minimum range, then definitely you should consult a doctor and take medications as prescribed.
Intake of iron-rich foods
As the main cause of low hemoglobin count is iron deficiency, you should focus more on eating iron-rich foods, so that you can increase the hemoglobin count in your blood.
Foods that are resources of iron are spinach, chicken, broccoli, beans, fenugreek leaves, fish, cauliflower, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, carrot, etc.
Some of the fruits which are rich in iron are papaya, pomegranate, Bananas, Apple, watermelon, strawberries, etc.
Iron is also found in whole grains, millets, dry fruits, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
Increasing iron absorption
People think that they are having enough iron-rich foods but still lack proper hemoglobin count in their bodies. It is because of the lack of iron absorption in the body. When you take iron-rich foods, it is also important to make sure that you maximize the iron absorption in your body.
Taking Vitamin C and Vitamin A along with iron-rich food helps you in better absorption in your body.
Food rich in vitamin C is citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, etc.
Vitamin A-rich foods are carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, fish, etc.
Reduce consuming iron blockers
It is equally important to reduce the foods which act as iron blockers like consuming foods that increase iron absorption.
Calcium acts as an iron blocker in your body. Calcium from both the supplements and food sources makes it harder for your body to absorb iron.
But do not avoid consuming calcium completely. Because it is also a very important nutrient for your health.
So don’t eat foods that are rich in calcium just before or right after having iron supplements. Try to maintain some time in having both.
Some other foods which act as iron blockers are Tea, coffee, alcohol, aerated water, cola, etc.
Consuming folic acid-rich foods
Folic acid is a B complex vitamin. Folic acid is responsible for the production of red blood cells. It is also another important vitamin to consume to avoid low hemoglobin levels. Folic acid is found in foods like green leafy vegetables, cereals, ground nuts, broccoli, beans, peanuts, millets, dry fruits, etc.
Doing high-intensity workouts
Physical exercise plays a major role in keeping our health in good condition. Workout increases the blood circulation in our body. An increase in the blood helps in the production of hemoglobin. Studies have also shown that moderate to high-intensity workouts help in improving the hemoglobin level in people suffering from anemia.
Workouts like cardio, swimming, running, jogging, etc improve blood circulation and aid in hemoglobin production.
Consulting a doctor
If your hemoglobin level is quite less than the recommended minimum level, then you have to consult your doctor to improve your hemoglobin level. The doctor will prescribe you iron supplements.
The recommended dose of iron supplements for women is 17 mg a day, for a man is 8 mg a day and the pregnant women might be given a higher dosage of 27 mg a day.
However, it is recommended not to use more than 29 mg of iron supplements in a day. If iron supplements are taken more than the permissible limit it may lead to nausea, vomiting, and constipation and it’s not good for your liver
It is very important to maintain the correct hemoglobin level in our body as it’s an important protein to transfer oxygen in the blood to different cells of the body.
Lifestyle changes, food habits, and medications can help in increasing hemoglobin count. However, it takes a few weeks or even a year to show results in the hemoglobin count. So follow a regular healthy diet and physical exercise to see the results.