Is Blueberry Good for Anemia? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Blueberry is bad for anemia. Because it has polyphenols and they can inhibit the absorption of non-heme iron.

Anemia is a condition that affects your blood.

In anemia, your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen in your blood.

This can lead to various health problems, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and increased risk of infections.

One of the key factors in managing anemia is diet.

What you consume can affect your iron levels, which can impact your anemia symptoms and overall health.

Iron is a mineral that is essential for making hemoglobin and RBCs.

To effectively manage anemia, you should consume iron-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals, and avoid iron-inhibiting foods like tea, coffee, dairy products, and foods high in phytates, such as whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Now, blueberry is a fruit that is widely consumed for its taste and health benefits.

People usually eat blueberries fresh, frozen, dried, or as juice, jam, or pie filling.

Blueberry is bad for anemia because it contains polyphenols, which are compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but also inhibit the absorption of non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods.

This means that eating blueberries with or after a meal that contains iron-rich foods can reduce the amount of iron that your body can use.

One cup of blueberries can give you about 14% of your daily vitamin C needs, 4% of your daily vitamin K needs, and 3.6 grams of dietary fiber, but only 0.4 milligrams of iron, which is 2% of your daily iron needs for women and 5% for men.

Polyphenols can negatively affect anemia by forming complexes with iron in the gut and preventing its absorption into the bloodstream.

This can worsen iron deficiency and anemia symptoms, especially if you rely on plant-based sources of iron.

Furthermore, blueberry is a fruit and fruits are generally bad for anemia.

Because, fruits are low in iron and high in vitamin C, which can enhance the absorption of non-heme iron, but also increase the excretion of iron from the body through urine.

That’s why I suggest you limit your blueberry intake to avoid iron deficiency and anemia.

Stick to one serving of blueberries (about half a cup) per day and eat it at least two hours before or after a meal that contains iron-rich foods to minimize the interference with iron absorption.

Also, you shouldn’t eat blueberries if you have hemochromatosis, a condition that causes your body to store too much iron, to prevent iron overload.

Because, blueberries can increase the absorption of iron from other foods and cause damage to your organs.

You can buy fresh blueberries in your local market or can order them online.

Always choose firm, plump, and dry blueberries that have a smooth skin and a deep purple or blue-black color.

Because, these are the signs of fresh and ripe blueberries that have the most flavor and nutrients.

You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to a year.

Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management and essential medical care is key to managing anemia effectively.

I always recommend my anemia patients to follow an anemia-friendly diet to improve their iron levels, hemoglobin, and RBCs, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

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About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutritionist in West Bengal, India, with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry.

He has done his diploma in nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc (US), and completed various certification courses from several universities. He also has considerable research experience in PCOS.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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