A patient walks to the hospital and complains that his/her blood is low and he/she needs blood tonic. This is a layperson’s description of anaemia. Sickle cell anaemia is the commonest form of anaemia known but there are many other forms also. The term anaemia is used to describe a condition where there is insufficient amounts of red blood cells or haemoglobin and this shortage reduces the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and tissue cells. Whilst majority of anaemias are due to lack of nutrients (iron,folic acid and vitamin B12) required for normal red blood cell production, others are due to other conditions such as genetic abnormalities, drug toxicity, and hemorrhage among others.          

 Iron deficiency anaemia is characterized by small red blood cells and a reduction in the number of haemoglobin circulating the body. It may be due to poor iron intake in the diet, inadequate absorption and utilization, excessive menstrual flow, severe blood loss or increased iron requirement for growth which occurs during infancy, adolescence, pregnancy and breastfeeding. In such situations the doctor would prescribe appropriate supplements. Nutritionally, more iron should be consumed in the diet and some good sources of iron include liver, kidney, beef and eggs. Other sources include beans and green leafy vegetables.         

 Another form of anaemia is megaloblastic anaemia which is usually caused by lack of folic acid or vitamin B12. Pernicious anaemia is also caused by lack of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods such as meats and fish and its deficiency is rare and occurs in strict vegetarians. In cases of megaloblastic and pernicious anaemia, foods such as liver, beef, eggs and milk can be increased in the diet to improve liver function and regeneration of blood. Green leafy vegetables such as kontomire should also be eaten in increased quantities because it is rich in folic acid and some iron.            

Sickle cell anaemia results in defective production of haemoglobin (oxygen carrying portion of red blood cells) which leads to red blood cells sickle in shape and which do not carry oxygen well. Sufferers also go through crises characterized by episodes of pain due to these malformed red blood cells blocking some small blood vessels. Patients need to eat a balanced diet and should contain foods rich in folic acid such as green leafy vegetables and rich in zinc and copper. A doctor may have to recommend multivitamin supplements.           

If anyone suspects him/herself to be anaemic or ‘short’ of blood consult your doctor for the appropriate tests to be done rather than buying blood tonics. The doctor would prescribe the best treatment and refer you to see a dietician who would guide you to make the right dietary choices.


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola