One of the major constituent of human blood is red blood cells. The vital element oxygen required by each and every body cell is transported by red blood cells from the lungs. The red color of red blood cells is because of iron rich hemoglobin, a type of pigment present in the cells. Hemoglobin cannot be produced without iron.
Red blood cells in medical terminology are called erythrocytes.The life cycle of red blood cells is approximately 4 months after which they degenerate. New cells are replaced by old and dying cells Therefore the process of production of red blood cells is constant and permanent.
Red blood cells are produced in bone marrow. Proper dietary intake of food containing vitamins and minerals will ensure necessary production of red blood cells.
What Is The Importance Of Red Blood Cells?
Red blood cells are vital for health. You may have often heard the condition called anemia. This condition is caused due to reduced number of red blood cells or the reduced amount of hemoglobin in every cell. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of all anemia’s. With less amount of iron rich hemoglobin the red blood cells will be unable to carry sufficient amount of oxygen to tissues. With insufficient amount of hemoglobin, the cells appear pale and empty.
Men and women have different requirement of iron. For women, from the onset of menstrual age to menopause the requirement is almost twice as that of men. Invariably the amount of iron consumed in foods matters. Poor nutrition for a long period of time and body’s inability to absorb iron from the intestine because of damage or infection can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
The symptoms of anemia are excessive tiredness, breathlessness on slightest exertion, lack of stamina, pale complexion, frequent infections etc.
What Foods To Eat To Increase Red Blood Cell Count?
Below are given important foods that help in production of red blood cells.
- Foods rich in mineral iron: Iron is very important for formation of hemoglobin. Consuming iron rich food helps to prevent anemia. Offal, particularly liver and kidney is the best source of iron. Beans, dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, squash seeds, eggs, walnuts, raisins, wheat germ, apricots, oysters, dried prunes, snow peas, kale, chicken etc.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is one of the B complex vitamins required for production of red blood cells. This vitamin helps to accelerate the bone marrow to produce more blood cells. Vitamin B12 can be low in people who eat only vegetables or if it is not well absorbed in the intestine after gastric surgery it can lead to anemia and low red blood cell count. Foods rich in vitamin B12 are liver, fish, eggs, red meat and some amount of it is found in milk and dairy products.
- Folic acid or vitamin B9: It is another B group vitamin which is essential for production of red blood cells. With low level of folic acid in the body, the red cells enlarge in size but they do not have enough hemoglobin stored in them. Bread, flour, cornmeal, brown rice, green leafy vegetables, peas, almonds, peanuts etc are rich in folic acid.
- Vitamin C: It enhances the absorption of iron from the intestine. Eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Fruits such as oranges, grapes, grapefruits, papaya, mango, lemon, Indian gooseberry are all rich in vitamin C.