Are Nuts Good for Anemia? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Nuts are good for anemia because they have iron and other nutrients that can help with anemia.

Anemia is a condition that affects your blood. In anemia, your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues.

This can lead to various health problems, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, 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.

To effectively manage anemia, you should consume iron-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, and leafy green vegetables, and avoid calcium-rich foods like dairy products, tofu, and almonds.

Calcium can interfere with iron absorption and worsen your anemia.

Now, nuts are a type of edible seeds that come from various plants.

People usually eat them as snacks, or add them to salads, desserts, or other dishes.

Nuts are good for anemia because they contain iron, as well as other nutrients that can help with anemia, such as protein, fiber, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

However, not all nuts are equally beneficial for anemia.

Some nuts have more iron than others, and some nuts also have calcium, which can reduce iron absorption.

One ounce of nuts can give you the following approximate amounts of nutrients:

Almonds: 1.1 mg of iron (6% of your daily needs), 75 mg of calcium (8% of your daily needs).

Cashews: 1.9 mg of iron (11% of your daily needs), 10 mg of calcium (1% of your daily needs).

Pistachios: 1.1 mg of iron (6% of your daily needs), 30 mg of calcium (3% of your daily needs).

Walnuts: 0.8 mg of iron (4% of your daily needs), 28 mg of calcium (3% of your daily needs).

Iron can positively affect anemia by increasing the production of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells.

Protein can positively affect anemia by supporting the growth and repair of your tissues, including your blood cells.

Fiber can positively affect anemia by preventing constipation, which can cause blood loss and iron deficiency.

Vitamin E can positively affect anemia by protecting your red blood cells from oxidative damage, which can cause hemolysis, or the breakdown of red blood cells.

Antioxidants can positively affect anemia by reducing inflammation, which can impair iron metabolism and cause anemia of chronic disease.

Calcium can negatively affect anemia by binding with iron in your digestive tract and preventing it from being absorbed into your bloodstream.

This can reduce the amount of iron available for your body to make red blood cells.

Furthermore, nuts are a plant-based food and plant-based iron is less bioavailable than animal-based iron.

This means that your body can absorb and use less iron from nuts than from meat, poultry, or fish.

Plant-based iron is also influenced by other factors in your diet, such as vitamin C, which can enhance iron absorption, or phytates, which can inhibit iron absorption.

Phytates are compounds found in nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds that can bind with iron and other minerals and reduce their availability.

You can eat a handful of nuts per day safely.

More than that can cause weight gain, digestive issues, or allergic reactions.

Nuts are high in calories, fat, and sometimes salt, which can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease if consumed in excess.

Nuts can also cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation if you eat too many of them or if you have a sensitive stomach.

Nuts can also trigger allergic reactions in some people, which can range from mild to severe and potentially life-threatening.

Symptoms of nut allergy include itching, swelling, hives, rash, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.

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

Iron overload can damage your organs, such as your liver, heart, and pancreas, and cause serious complications, such as cirrhosis, diabetes, and heart failure.

If you have hemochromatosis, you should limit your iron intake from all sources, including nuts, and follow your doctor’s advice on treatment and monitoring.

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

Always choose raw, unsalted, and unroasted nuts, as they have the most nutrients and the least additives.

Roasted, salted, or flavored nuts can have less iron, more sodium, and added oils, sugars, or preservatives, which can affect your health negatively.

You can store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to six months, or in the refrigerator or 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, reduce their anemia symptoms, 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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