The most important function of red blood cells in our body is to transport the inhaled oxygen to various parts of the body. While the lungs help us breathe and take in oxygen, it is the work of these miniscule cells in our blood to ensure that this dissolved oxygen is delivered to every cell and organ in our body.
Red Blood Cells (RBCs) contain a pigment called hemoglobin which forms the mainstay in the oxygen transport. Hemoglobin is an iron-containing biomolecule that binds oxygen and is also responsible for the characteristic red color of these cells. Deficiency of hemoglobin can result in anemia, which can be life-threatening.
Here are five foods that are sure to improve your hemoglobin levels.
- Meat & Fish: Foods rich in iron can increase your hemoglobin count, as iron is its main component. Meat (chicken, beef, turkey, and pork) and fish (tuna, salmon, trout, snapper, and shellfish) are all rich in heme iron (iron that is well absorbed) and should be included in your diet.
- Vegetables: Beetroot, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green peas, cabbage, turnip, cauliflower and asparagus add to your iron content and can increase hemoglobin. Beetroot is the star here as it activates red blood cells and helps regenerate the iron content.
- Whole Fruits: Vitamin C-rich fruits play an important role in the absorption of iron in the body. Low levels of hemoglobin can be corrected by eating fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, pomegranate, watermelon, strawberries and apples. Enjoy them together by making a mixed fruit salad or juice.
- Dried Fruits & Nuts: Raisins, dried apricots, figs, prunes and dates are good sources of iron, which assist in the formation of hemoglobin. All nuts contain some amount of iron, although, the king of all is almond (each ounce has six percent).
- Herbs & Spices: Herbs and spices such as nettle leaf, basil, thyme, cilantro, oregano, sage, cumin and cinnamon can all up your blood hemoglobin content.