Blood plays an important role in regulating body systems, for instance, supplying oxygen and nutrients to tissues, removing waste, and carrying hormones around the body. But did you know that your diet goes a long way towards ensuring your blood functions well? Well, health experts advise that for that to be achieved, taking the right diet is essential, short of which comes severe consequences.
“For instance, experiencing cold hands and feet, which lowers the rate of blood circulation, may be a result of poor dieting,” says Rene Tabaro, a nutritionist and dietician at King Faisal Hospital.
He notes that not feeding on certain foods may contribute to conditions like anaemia, thrombosis and many other blood-related complications.
“For example, lack of the iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 leads to anaemia. The body needs these components in order to produce red blood cells which helps in transporting oxygen to body cells, thus including foods rich in these nutrients on your diet is as important for improving your health,” Tabaro says, adding that such foods include soya, beans, spinach and grains.
He explains that one should make sure that they include vitamin C-rich foods in their diet as it helps in iron absorption.
However, Tabaro warns that one should keep away from a diet high in saturated fat and salt as it tends to increase the excess waste material in the blood.
He adds that tobacco products and lack of physical exercise may put one’s health at risk since they can lead to the blockage of free circulation of blood, commonly known as thrombosis.
According to Dr Ally Kabale of Kabaya Hospital in Western Province, sometimes dizziness and swelling of the feet can be as a result of poor circulation of the blood and all this results from a poor diet.
“A diet low in fiber as well as low water intake contributes to poor circulation of blood. Consumption of cereals, on the other hand, helps in eliminating toxins, which boosts the flow of blood as well as aiding in prevention of constipation,” says Kabale.
He encourages people to consume garlic as it contains blood-cleaning properties.
On the other hand, Kabale, adds that eating certain foods, particularly fruits such as lemon, orange, and grapes help in keeping thrombosis at bay. Vitamin C from lemon juice eases the absorption of iron in the intestines, thus promoting a good flow of blood.
A recent research conducted by Mayo Clinic recommend eating a diet low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains as they boost free circulation of the blood.
The research also says keeping one’s weight in check is essential as being obese contributes to numbness and poor blood circulation. Regular exercise is recommended to control weight and blood sugar levels.
“Fruits help in eliminating uric acid, which is a waste product generated within the body which must be removed through urine. Also, a diet rich in vitamin C boosts the immune system thus helping in fighting infections whether viral or bacterial,” says Kabale.
“Diet rich in iron, proteins, vitamin B12 and folic acid is essential in providing the necessary nutrients for the blood cell production.”
Other necessary nutrients for blood production come from leafy green vegetables, spinah, avocado, sunflower seed, passion fruits, meat as well as vitamins B, E and C.
Kabale, however, advises that one should try their best to eliminate or reduce consumption of tea, alcoholic beverages and milk as they cause anaemia.
Tabaro says that consuming iron rich foods help in formation of hemoglobin that aid in transporting of oxygen to the cells throughout the body.
He adds that protein is also important for the production of antibodies as well as blood clotting.
“Foods like meat, fish and dairy products are rich in protein. But remember that a diet low in refined sugars and processed carbohydrates keeps the blood sugar at good levels. Limiting their (processed carbohydrates and refined sugars), prevents oxidation and inflammation,” Tabaro says.