Anemia may be defined as the condition that results from the inability of the erythropoetic (blood forming) tissues to maintain a normal hemoglobin concentration on account of inadequate supply of one or more nutrients leading to reduction in the total circulating hemoglobin.

Some anemia’s are caused by a lack of either dietary iron or high quality protein, by lack of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) which catalyses the synthesis of the haem portion of the hemoglobin molecules, by a lack of vitamin C, which influences the rate of iron transfer into the tissue or by lack of vitamin E, which affects the stability of the red blood cell membrane. Copper is not part of the hemoglobin molecule but acts in its synthesis by influencing the absorption of iron, its release from liver or its incorporation into the hemoglobin molecules.


  • Adequate quantity of protein should be present in diet.
  • Foods rich in iron like green leafy vegetables, plantain, lotus stem, puffed rice, whole grain cereals and iron fortified foods should be included in the diet.
  • Food rich in vitamin B complex and particularly B6 like whole grain cereals, parboiled rice, liver, milk etc should be taken.
  • Including citrus fruits, amla, guava, green pepper in diet will meet the requirement of vitamin C.
  • Liver oil, fortified vegetable oil, sea foods will provide Vitamin E.
  • Foods rich in folic acid like pulses, green leafy vegetables, legumes. Liver and eggs should be included.
  • Supplementary and fortified foods may be a help in controlling or preventing anemia


  • Sour lemon squeezed on food is an inexpensive and palatable form of taking vitamin C which promotes Iron absorption
  • Germination and baking increases iron absorption.
  • Prolonged warming of meals decreases their vitamin C content, and hence iron absorption 
  • Tea and coffee form insoluble iron tannate that is not absorbed, hence it is not advisable to drink tea or coffee immediately after meals.
  • Coconut milk, if used extensively in cooking inhibits iron absorption.
  • When food is cooked in iron utensils, some iron is added from the utensils. When aluminium or stainless steel utensil are used, this source is lost.

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