Healthy blood provides tissues in your body with the sugars, nutrients and oxygen they need to function plus helping carry away waste products so they’re not able to have detrimental effects on those tissues. Your blood is made of plasma along with three major types of blood cells -- red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Eating foods rich in specific key nutrients helps your blood cells function and maintains the health of your blood.
So with that understood, today let’s have a look at eating choices to optimize the quality of blood and then make a quick mention of a great product like MegaFood’s Blood Builder, which takes the same nutrients and condenses them in an easily consumable tablet to make it easy to see to it you have great blood.
Sources of Iron and B-12
Eating foods rich in iron and vitamin B-12 are big-time beneficial for your red blood cells. The hemoglobin within them have the ability to bind much-needed oxygen and release it into your tissues. The active part of hemoglobin comes from iron, which makes getting enough iron in your diet essential for red blood cell function. Vitamin B-12 also helps your cells make hemoglobin to support red blood cells.
An ideal source for both Iron and vitamin B-12 is meats, and red meats in particular. They can provide you with ample amounts of both minerals, and eating kidney beans, cashews and lentils is also very beneficial for boosting your iron intake. Other good sources of B-12 are fortified cereals, milk, yogurt and eggs.
Sources of Vitamin A and D
Now it’s time to focus on the white blood cells in particular, and they’re particularly keen on ample supplies of Vitamin A and Vitamin D. White blood cells work as part of the immune system, and are tasked with identifying and destroying pathogens when your body needs to fight infections.
Vitamin A supports the development of new white blood cells, while vitamin D role is in controlling white blood cell activity. Increasing your dairy intake will provide you with more vitamins A and D, and you can also find vitamin D in eggs, fortified soy milk or orange juice, fortified cereals and salmon. Good sources of vitamin A are sweet potatoes, kale, butternut squash and carrots.
Sources of Vitamin K and Calcium
Supporting the function of platelets in your blood is very important, as these small cells are first on the scene when injury or tissue damage occurs. When they come across damaged tissue, they bunch together to form clots to plug the wound and stop the bleeding. Vitamin K and calcium are essential for effective clotting.
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are both excellent sources of vitamin K and calcium. Dairy products, beans and some types of tofu boost your calcium intake, while broccoli and olive oil will top you up with more Vitamin K.
Sources of Protein
Eating foods rich in protein is similarly important for the health of your blood. Each of your blood cells houses thousands of proteins and relies on amino acids -- the nutrients your body obtains from dietary protein -- to make them. Protein is involved in the production of hemoglobin and also helps make antibodies needed for white blood cell function. Meat, eggs and dairy products all come packed with beneficial protein. Plant-based foods like beans, lentils and nuts boost your protein intake as well.
Quality blood fortification supplement like the aforementioned Blood Builder deliver iron in nutritional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae - also known as brewer's yeast). That means it’s delivered with essential amino acids, carbohydrates, and proteins that iron would naturally be found with in plants – which makes it easier for the body to digest the nutrient mix as well as be more-effectively utilized by the body.
Some considerations regarding starting with a blood fortification supplement:
- Women in their reproductive years have greater iron needs than those that no longer experience a monthly cycle. Men should not supplement with iron unless directed to do so by their healthcare practitioner
- You can have your iron levels checked at your next doctor check-in. Consider iron supplementation if your levels are less than optimal.
- Vegetarians or vegans tend to get less dietary iron, and may want to consider supplementation.
- Iron toxicity is a real thing – if you have any concerns, talk to your doctor and have your levels checked!
Take the recommendations here and adjust your grocery list and meal preparation ingredients to see to it your blood gets all the building blocks it needs, and stay super popular with all the other members of its human body family.