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Anemia, which means “lacking in blood ", is among the most common diseases affecting human beings. It denotes a shortage of rich red blood cells and coloring matter and usually results from consumption of refined foods.
A haggard look, with lines of strain, premature wrinkles, grayish skin, and dull and tired looking eyes are the main symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms include poor memory, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, shortness of breath on exertion; slow healing of wounds, headaches, mental depression, pale fingers, lips and ear lobes. The patient usually complaints of weakness, easy fatigue, lack of energy and dizziness.
Anemia is much more easily prevented than corrected. A liberal intake of iron in the formative years can go a long way in preventing iron-deficiency anemia.
Diet is of the utmost importance in the treatment of anemia. Almost every nutrient is needed for the production of red blood cells, hemoglobin and the enzymes, required for their synthesis. Refined food like white bread, polished rice, sugar, and desserts rope the body of the much -needed iron. Iron should always be taken in its natural organic form as the use of inorganic can prove hazardous, destroying the protective vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids, causing serious liver damage and even miscarriage and delayed or premature births. The common foods rich in natural organic iron are wheat and wheat grain cereals, brown rice and rice polishing, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, carrot, celery, beets, tomatoes, spinach ; fruits like apples, berries, cherries, grapes, raisins, figs, dates, peaches and eggs. It has been proved that a generous intake of iron alone will not help in the regeneration of hemoglobin. The supplies of protein, too, should be adequate. The diet should, therefore, be adequate in proteins of high biological value such as those found in milk, cheese and egg. Copper is also essential for the utilization of iron in the building of hemoglobin.
Vitamin B12 is a must for preventing or curing anemia. This vitamin is usually found in animal protein and especially in organic meats like kidney and liver. A heavy meat diet is often associated with a high hemoglobin and high red cell count, but it has its disadvantages. One cause of anemia is intestinal putrefaction, which is primarily brought on by a high meat diet. Moreover, all meats are becoming increasingly dangerous due to widespread diseases in the animal kingdom. There are, however, other equally good alternative sources of vitamin B12 such as dairy products , like milk, eggs and cheese, peanuts. Wheat germ and soybeans also contain some B12. Vegetarians should include sizeable amounts of milk, milk products and eggs in their diet.
For prevention of anemia, it is essential to take the entire B-complex range which includes B12, as well as the natural foods mentioned above. Eating lacto-avo products, which are complete proteins, and which also contain vitamin B12 is good insurance against the disease. Brewer’s yeast is a good source of complete protein. 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 anemia. Beet juice contains potassium, phosphorous, calcium, sulfur, iodine, iron, copper, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, B1, B2, niacin B6, C and vitamin P. With its high iron content, beet juice regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells, supplies the body with fresh oxygen and helps the normal function of vesicular breathing.
A cold water bath is among the most valuable curative measures in anaemia. The patient should be given carefully graduated cold baths twice daily. Cold friction, hot Epsom salt bath for five to 10 minutes once a week and an occasional cabinet steam bath are also recommended. Full sun baths are especially beneficial as sunlight stimulates the production of red cells. There are other important factors which are helpful in curing anemia. Deep breathing and light exercise like walking and simple yoga asanas should be undertaken to tone up the system. Sarvangasana paschomittanasana, uttanpadasana and shavasana are recommended. Massage also helps to keep the blood level high.
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