Q:

What can you eat to bolster your blood count?

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Quick Answer

Foods that increase red blood cells include red meat, fish, shellfish and poultry, states News in Health. Other iron-rich foods include beans, lentils, peas, tofu, dried fruits, iron-fortified cereals and breads, and leafy vegetables.

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Full Answer

People with a low red blood cell count may suffer anemia, a blood disorder that causes constant exhaustion and sluggishness, says News in Health. Some anemic people have inadequate numbers of red blood cells, while others lack an iron-rich protein known as hemoglobin. Red blood cells transport oxygen to different parts of the body, whereas hemoglobin serves as the oxygen carrier.

Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when a person doesn’t consume enough iron in his diet, notes News in Health. It’s essential to maintain a balanced diet to get enough supply of iron, vitamin B12, folate and protein. It also helps to take iron dietary supplements that are recommended by a health care professional.

Eating heme iron, which is found in meat, poultry and fish, usually raises a person’s iron levels better than consuming nonheme iron, which is found in vegetables and some meat, explains American Red Cross. The body absorbs around 30 percent of heme iron and 2 to 10 percent of nonheme iron. To help the body absorb nonheme iron, a person should eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppers.

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