Weight Loss Diet Plan For Women Suffering From Anemia

by Christian Blake on December 19, 2012

Anemia is a Greek word that means ‘without blood’ and is a disorder that affects more lots of people all over the world. It is a condition with many causes that can bring serious implications to the health of those afflicted with it. Weight loss is one of the most common symptoms associated with anemia. Since iron transports oxygen throughout the body, if you have anemia, you often feel tired and weak. You may also get sick more easily and feel cold more often. People with anemia who want to lose weight need to pay extra attention to their diet and the foods that they eat. Losing weight without paying extra attention to diet can actually make anemia worse. Before I go elaborately into the weight loss diet plan for women that will work for you, I will like to clear the air on this issue of anemia.

As I said earlier, anemia is a deficiency of healthy red blood cells. Several underlying conditions can cause anemia, including pregnancy, a lack of vitamin B-12 or folic acid, irregular red blood cells, and heavy bleeding. No matter what the cause, the resulting condition is the same–a deficiency of healthy red blood cells. The most common form of anemia is iron deficiency anemia. Iron is essential to hemoglobin production, so a lack of sufficient iron in the body’s system leads to a shortage of red blood cells.

Weight loss is a possible outcome when anemia causes a loss of appetite. Weight loss is a medically recognized indicator of anemia, but some sufferers of this condition actually claim to experience weight gain instead of loss. Weight gain is not typical of this disorder, but if a lack of energy due to fatigue leads to diminished physical activity in the absence of appetite loss, weight gains could be explained. When you suffer from a shortage of red bloods cells, your heart has to work harder to transport oxygen throughout your body to burn the energy so vital to all your body’s activities. Over time this can have a cumulative harmful effect on your heart. The loss of appetite sometimes caused by anemia can lead to even more severe malnutrition than the mere lack of iron. An experience of fatigue may make it very difficult to muster the motivation to be physically active and thus lead to other health complications.

Detecting Anemia

Women and people with chronic diseases face the highest risk for anemia. According to carefully and thoroughly conducted researches, about 400 million women around the world are affected by anemia. This is partly because most women don’t realize that they require more iron in their diet than men. Women of childbearing age, for instance, need extra iron because of blood lost during menstruation. Another problem is that women tend to write off the symptoms of anemia, like fatigue and headaches, as trivial; the result of daily stresses instead of a health problem. Undiagnosed anemia, however, can become quite severe with potential effects including premature delivery in pregnant women or infertility in women of childbearing age.

In most cases, anemia is a condition that develops over a long period of time. Symptoms may at first be so mild as to be easily dismissible. But as the anemia becomes more chronic you may experience any combination of symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, loss of appetite, jaundice, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, tongue inflammation, feeling cold (especially in your extremities) or strange cravings (a condition call pica). Pica is the craving for nonfoods, or the urge to eat or chew on substances which offer no nutritional value. Ice, corn starch, dirt, paper and chalk are a few of the more common cravings associated with pica.

The treatment for anemia depends upon the cause. Sufferers of celiac disease, for instance, are susceptible to anemia because of their body’s inefficiency at absorbing the nutrients they consume. This is due to the damage on the lining of their small intestine brought about by intolerance for foods that contain gluten. Treatment for anemia in this instance has to include the gluten-free diet recommended for celiac sufferers, in addition to the recommended treatment for iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements are usually suggested for iron deficiency anemia, taken in conjunction with vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron.

Anemia And Weight Loss

Heme and non-heme are the two types of iron found in food products. Heme iron comes from the protein known as hemoglobin which transports oxygen throughout the body. Animal products such as red meat, fish and poultry contain heme iron. Non-heme iron, on the other hand, is plant based. Food and drug agencies recommend 8 mg of daily iron for adult men and 18 mg for adult women. Many food options are high in iron, and it is simple to increase the iron intake in a daily diet. You need to continue taking iron supplements as directed by your physician. Iron supplements can be helpful if you are having a difficult time getting enough iron in your diet. If your doctor recommended that you take an iron pill, there is no need to stop to lose weight.

Secondly, you should trade high-fat types of meat (such as beef and pork) for lean meats, such as chicken and turkey. Weight loss is a matter of calories in versus calories out. It takes about 3,500 calories to make up 1 lb. For example, if you eat 500 fewer calories a day you will lose about 1 lb. per week. Since fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, decreasing your intake of fat will help you cut calories. White meats like skinless chicken breasts and turkey breasts are still high in protein and iron but lower in fat and calories than dark meat.

Furthermore, you need to try eating more low-fat, high iron foods, such as tofu and beans, in your meals and snacks. Focus on eating more natural foods and fewer processed foods, like chips and candy. Processed foods are usually higher in calories. Choose low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk or low-fat cheese, instead of full-fat dairy products since they have fewer calories. Dairy products do not contain much iron so it’s important not to eat too much of them. Pair iron-rich foods (like chicken, turkey, beans and nuts) with fresh fruits and vegetables, high in vitamin C (such as oranges, broccoli and bell peppers). Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories but still filling. You can pair vitamin C-rich foods with foods high in iron to make the iron more absorbable by your body. This can possibly be done by eating sautéed broccoli with your chicken for dinner, or having a fresh orange with some almonds for a snack. And don’t forget your exercises; even if we are talking about dieting, there’s no under-estimating the power of exercises. You should exercise at least five days per week for 45 to 60 minutes at a time. You don’t need to join a gym. You can get fit and burn calories with walking, jogging or dancing.

For Breakfast

Adding iron to a breakfast meal can decrease fatigue and help with alertness and focus throughout the day. Many cereals fortified with 100 percent iron, the same nonheme iron found in plant-based foods, are widely available. Oatmeal is also another option but consider dressing it up with iron enriched fruits like strawberries or raisins. Beans also high in iron and can easily be added to a breakfast burrito with eggs, fresh tomatoes, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. For a quick breakfast, whole wheat bread, pumpernickel bagels and bran muffins are also high in iron.

For Lunch

A big salad full of fresh vegetables, seeds and protein is a great way to pack the necessary iron in one meal. Opt for spinach instead of mixed greens. Be sure to mix in iron packed vegetables like red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and peas. Consider adding chickpeas or kidney beans which also provide fiber. Finally, top the salad off with roasted pumpkin seeds, almonds or sunflower seeds for texture.


Meat eaters can enjoy having a high protein, iron enriched meal with meats like steak, chicken or turkey; however, beef and chicken liver are two sources with the highest iron content. For seafood lovers, clams and mussels have the most iron but certain fish such as halibut, salmon and tuna are also good sources. Many vegetarians are anemic due to their lack of knowledge of a healthy diet. However, vegetarians can enjoy a dinner with steamed vegetables, brown rice and tofu which are all rich in iron. Baked potatoes, pasta and egg noodles are also other options to consider for non-meat eaters and easy to cook by adding a simple sauce with loads of vegetables.

For Desert

Incorporating iron into snacks is also simple. To satisfy a sweet tooth, try snacking on dried fruits like apricots, peaches and prunes. Adding some walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds will make a delicious trail mix. Even certain drinks like orange juice, grapefruit and tomato juice are good sources for iron.

In an effort to counteract the effects of anemia, the heart must work harder to make up for the lack of hemoglobin in the blood. This extra effort can have a negative impact on the heart, sometimes even causing heart failure. Anemia may be mild and therefore easily treated but it can also be a chronic problem with severe, long-lasting effects. I guarantee that this weight loss diet plan for women will in no way interfere with your treatment. You will lose weight as well as you will get well. GOOD LUCK!

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