Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein present in red blood cells. This protein is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Its main function is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues, so that living cells can perform properly. Hemoglobin also helps carry carbon dioxide away from the cells and transport it back to the lungs.
As the role of hemoglobin is very important for leading a healthy life, it is necessary to maintain it in normal levels in your blood, which is:
- 14 to 18 g/dl for adult men, and
- 12 to 16 g/dl for adult women.
These values are applicable for adults and may vary slightly among different laboratories due to their different methods and measurements.
When the hemoglobin level decreases, it can cause fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, pale skin, brittle nails, rapid heartbeat and poor appetite.
If the level drops significantly, the condition may be diagnosed as anemia and symptoms can become severe.
It is common for women to experience low hemoglobin levels during pregnancy or periods. However, there can be many other reasons behind it. The most common cause is nutritional deficiencies of iron, folic acid, and vitamins C and B12.
It can also occur due to blood loss from surgery or trauma, frequent blood donation, diseases affecting the bone marrow, cancer, kidney problems, arthritis, diabetes, stomach ulcers and other diseases of the digestive tract.
In most cases, low hemoglobin is associated with conditions that cause or contribute to fewer red blood cells.
Depending on the reason behind the drop in hemoglobin, there are certain natural ways that are effective in restoring it to a normal level. The length of time you’ll need to continue using these remedies depends on your hemoglobin level and how often your doctor checks it for improvement.
Here are the top 10 ways to increase your hemoglobin naturally.
1. Eat Iron-Rich Foods
According to the National Anemia Action Council, iron deficiency is the most common cause of low hemoglobin levels. Iron is an important element in hemoglobin production.
- Some good iron-based foods are liver, red meat, shrimp, tofu, spinach, almonds, dates, lentils, fortified breakfast cereals, almonds, oysters and asparagus.
- You can also take an iron supplement. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage as high doses of iron can be harmful to your body.
2. Increase Vitamin C Intake
Low hemoglobin levels due to a deficiency of vitamin C can be corrected by eating more foods rich in vitamin C. Iron cannot be fully absorbed by the body without the help of this vitamin.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C like papaya, oranges, lemon, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, tomatoes and spinach.
- You can also take vitamin C supplements after consulting your doctor.
3. Take Folic Acid
Folic acid, a B-complex vitamin, is required to make red blood cells. So, a folic acid deficiency automatically leads to a low hemoglobin level.
- Some good food sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, liver, rice, sprouts, dried beans, wheat germ, fortified cereals, peanuts, bananas, broccoli and liver.
- You can also take 200 to 400 milligrams of a folate supplement daily after consulting your doctor.
Beetroot is highly recommended to increase hemoglobin levels. It is high in iron, folic acid as well as fiber and potassium. Its nutritional value helps increase the body’s red blood cell count.
- Cook 1 to 2 beetroots along with their peels in a microwave or roast them on the stove. Allow them to cool and peel them before eating.
- You can prepare a healthy juice with 1 medium-sized beetroot, 3 carrots and 1/2 of a sweet potato. Drink it once daily.
An apple a day can help maintain a normal hemoglobin level. Apples are rich in iron along with various other health-friendly components that are required for a healthy hemoglobin count.
- Eat at least 1 apple (if possible, opt for green apples) with its skin daily.
- You can also prepare a glass of juice by mixing 1/2 cup each of apple juice and beetroot juice. Add a little ginger or lemon juice and drink it twice daily.
6. Blackstrap Molasses
A folk remedy used to fight anemia and increase your hemoglobin level is blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses contains iron, folate and many B vitamins that can help increase red blood cell production efficiently.
- Mix 2 teaspoons each of blackstrap molasses and apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water.
- Drink this once daily.