Red blood cells have a very important function for our body: to transport oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Therefore, it is essential to keep them at healthy levels. In this article we tell you how to increase red blood cells naturally.
What are red blood cells?
Doctors call them “erythrocytes” and they are the most numerous cells in the blood. Their main component is hemoglobin and they obtain metabolic energy through lactic fermentation.
In adults there are between 4,500,000 to 5,400,000 red blood cells. The deficiency in the number of erythrocytes is called anemia and the excess is polycythemia.
Some interesting facts about blood:
- Red blood cells live approximately 100 or 120 days. After that time, the bone marrow produces another “group” of erythrocytes.
- Each molecule of hemoglobin has 4 iron atoms which bind to the oxygen molecules.
- Each erythrocyte is 33% hemoglobin.
- Normal values of hemoglobin are 14 g / dl in women and 15.5 g / dl in men.
- Red blood cells eliminate carbon dioxide.
How to increase red blood cells
Some of the symptoms of anemia or low erythrocytes are apathy and weakness. Lack of iron is the most common cause of a lower red blood cell count. To increase the amount, we recommend making some changes in your diet and your daily habits:
1. Eat iron
This will allow your body to rebuild and replace the lost nutrients. Iron increases red blood cells and also allows them to work better, since it is an essential component of hemoglobin. The foods richest in iron are:
- Legumes (lentils, beans)
- Vegetables (spinach, kale)
- Nuts (plums and raisins)
- Meat (liver)
- Egg yolks
2. Eat more copper
Adults need between 8 and 18 mg of this mineral every day. Women need more than men during the fertile stage, since they lose copper during menstruation. It is an essential nutrient for cells to access iron. The foods that contribute the most are:
3. Obtain more folic acid
Vitamin B9 helps in the normal production of red blood cells. If we do not have enough folic acid we can suffer from anemia. In addition, it plays an essential role in the functioning of DNA. Some 400 mcg is recommended for women in the fertile stage and 600 mcg when they are pregnant. Where to get folic acid?
- Whole grains
- Leafy green vegetables (spinach, Swiss chard)
4. Eat more vitamin A
Also called Retinol, it is a very important compound for the development of red blood cell stem cells in the bone marrow. It guarantees the processing of hemoglobin by allowing the production of iron. Among the foods that contribute the most Vitamin A are:
- Green leafy vegetable
- Sweet peppers
5. Increase the amount of vitamin C
This nutrient has many properties, such as strengthening the immune system and preventing viral diseases in winter. But Vitamin C also stimulates the body’s ability to absorb iron and, consequently, increases the number of red blood cells. Citrus fruits are the foods that contribute the most.
6. Incorporates vitamin B12
A good amount of this nutrient favors the production of erythrocytes in the bone marrow and increases their presence in the blood. In order to provide the body with vitamin B12, we recommend you consume these foods:
- Blue fish (salmon, sardine)
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese, better if they are skimmed)
- Soy (in any presentation)
- Beer yeast
- Wheat germ
A sedentary lifestyle has many negative effects on our health. Among them, increase obesity and circulatory problems, as well as increase fluid retention or produce muscle pain. But in addition to reducing the number of red blood cells, it does not allow the creation of new copies.
Exercise is essential to have an “iron” health and avoid many diseases. Routines that include at least a few minutes of cardio (running, jogging, cycling, etc.) are recommended because they favor general oxygenation of the body.
8. No smoking
It is one of the worst habits that people carry out, more taking into account that nicotine and other chemicals present in the cigarette reduce oxygen and do not allow adequate blood flow. Smoking “squeezes” blood vessels and hinders the work of red blood cells.
9. Do not drink alcohol
Another habit harmful to our health that has a negative impact on the erythrocyte count. Alcoholic beverages convert blood into a thicker, slower liquid with less oxygen that cannot be transported properly. In addition, alcohol produces immature red blood cells without sufficient hemoglobin.
10. Perform physical exams
Go at least once a year to get complete blood tests. With a sample, it is possible to analyze the general conditions and the levels not only of red blood cells but also of cholesterol, iron, urea, creatinine, glucose, etc. It is very important to track data that is not within normal limits.
The doctor will look at the blood test information and indicate what treatment or medication is needed.