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Anaemia

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What is Anaemia

Anaemia may be defined as a condition in which there is a decrease in the quantity of haemoglobin, in the number of red blood cells, in the volume of packed cells, or in any combination of these. This disease usually results from eat of refined foods and is among the most common diseases affecting human beings.

Nearly half of the blood flowing in our veins and arteries consists of red blood cells which carry oxygen to the tissues. Approximately, one trillion (100 million) new blood cells are formed daily in the bone marrow. The raw material require in the production of these cells are iron, proteins and vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B12. Of these, protiens and iron are the very important for building up the red colouring matter, called haemoglobin.

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Red cells live approximately 120 days and are being destroyed and replaced daily. Each person should have 100 percent of haemoglobin or about 15 g to 100 cc of blood, and a blood count of five million red cells per millimeter. A drop in the haemoglobin content results in anaemia.

Symptoms

The patient usually complains of fatigue, weakness, dizziness and lack of energy. Other symptoms include a haggard look, dull and tired looking eyes, premature wrinkles, headache, poor memory, shortness of breath on slight exertion, mental depression, slow healing of wounds and palpitation of heart. The skin and mucous membranes look pale, there may be sores at the corners of the mouth and the nails appear brittle.

Causes

Low formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow, due to defects in the bone marrow itself or to an inadequate intake of protien, iron, and vitamins, is one of the main causes of anaemia. Other important causes may be heavy loss of blood due to injury, bleeding piles and excessive menstruation in women. Besides, a lack of digestive acid or hydrochloric acid needed for digestion of iron and proteins or emotional strain, anxiety and worry which interfere which the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in the body could also lead to anaemia.

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Intestinal worms or parasites are another cause of anaemia. Pinworms, Hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms feed on the supply of blood as well as the vitamins. Symptoms of intestinal worms are itching at the rectum, restlessness during night with bad dreams, dark circles under the eyes, diarrhea, foul breath and a constant desire for food. Garlic, fresh papaya and grated raw carrot can help vanquish some types of intestinal parasites.

Dietary treatment

Diet is of the most importance in the treatment of anaemia. Refined foods like white bread, polished rice, sugar and desserts rob the body of the much needed iron. Iron should always be taken in its natural organic form in food as the use of inorganic iron can prove hazardous. It may cause destruction of protective vitamins and in saturated fatty acids, serious liver damage, miscarriage during pregnancy and delayed or premature births.

Anaemia

The diet should be predominantly alkaline. The emphasis should be on raw fruits and vegetables which are rich in iron. Iron rich vegetables are spinach, squash, green onions, carrots, beets, radishes, yams, celery, potatoes (with jackets) and tomatoes. Fruits which are rich in iron are bananas, apples, dark grapes, apricots, plums, raisins and strawberries. Bananas are particularly beneficial as they also contain, besides easily assimilable folic acid, iron and B12, both of which are extremely useful in the treatment of anaemia.

Other iron-rich foods are whole wheat, beans, brown rice, sunflower seeds, soyabeans, crude blackstrap molasses, honey and eggs. Honey is also rich in copper which helps in absorption of iron. The diet should also be adequate in proteins of high biological value such as milk, eggs and home-made cottage cheese.

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Vitamin B12 is a most useful for preventing or curing anaemia. This vitamin is usually found in animal protein and especially in organic meats like liver and kidney. A heavy meat diet is often associated with a high red cell count and high haemoglobin, but it has its disadvantages. One cause of anaemia is intestinal putrefaction, which is primarily brought on by a high meat diet.
All meats are becoming increasingly dangerous due to widespread diseases in the animals which are slaughtered. There are other equally good sources of vitamin B12 such as dairy products, like eggs, milk, peanuts and cheese. Soyabean and wheat germ also contain some B12. Vegetarians should include adequate amount of milk products, eggs and milk in their diet. For prevention of anaemia, it is essential to take the entire B complex range which includes B12, as well as the natural foods mentioned above. Eating lacto products, which are complex proteins containing vitamin B12, is good insurance against the disease. A liberal intake of ascorbic acid is necessary to facilitate absorption of iron. At least two helpings of citrus fruits and other ascorbic acid rich foods should be taken daily.

Mention must be made of beets which are extremely important in curing anaemia. Beet juice contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur, iodine, iron, copper, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamin B1, B2, niacin, B6, C and vitamin P. with its high iron content, beet juice regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells, and supplies the body with fresh oxygen. The juice of red beet strengthens the body’s powers of resistance and has proved to be an useful remedy for anaemia, especially for teenagers and children, where other blood forming remedies have failed.

The anaemic person should commence the dietary treatment by an exclusive fresh fruit diet for about five days. During this period, he should take three meals of fresh juicy fruits at five-hourly interval. This may be followed by milk and fruit diet for about 25 days. In this regimen, the meals are exactly the same as for all fruit diet, but with milk added to each fruit meal. The patient may begin with two pints the first day and increase by half a pint daily upto four or five pints a day: after the fruit and milk diet, the patient may gradually upon a well balanced diet based on three basic food groups, namely nuts, grains vegetables, fruits and seeds.

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