Anemia affects about 3.5 million Americans, especially women due to blood loss from menstruation and/or childbirth. It’s a common cause of PMS and irregular periods.
It took me a long while to figure out that the root cause of my PMS symptoms was due to blood deficiency.
I was a vegetarian for a couple of years and I used to live on tofu, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Being an animal lover, I didn’t want to harm those beautiful creatures. So I decided to become a vegetarian.
But I didn’t know that in order to be a vegetarian, I needed to be a smart one, and I subsequently paid a price for it.
In a physical checkup several years ago, my doctor told me that I had a vitamin B12 deficiency, which is one of the primary causes of anemia. The other causes include iron deficiency, chronic disease and genetic factors.
It turns out that anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects about 3.5 million Americans, especially women due to blood loss from monthly menstruation and/or childbirth.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long recognized anemia (blood deficiency) as one of the primary causes of menstrual problems, including PMS, painful periods, scanty periods, no periods, or late periods.
Symptoms and Signs of Anemia:
- Scanty periods (less than 3 days in duration, with less than 30ml or 2 table spoons of blood)
- Late periods (consistently more than 7 days late)
- Pale, watery menstrual blood
- Pain after period
- Weakness and fatigue
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or headache
- Pale skin, lips, gums, tongue, nail beds and palms
- Dry skin, eyes, and hair
- Withered and brittle nails
- Blurred vision, floaters in the eyes, or diminished night vision
- Numbness or tingling sensations of limbs, hands and feet
- Muscle cramps
- Poor memory
- Tendency to be easily startled
- Insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep
- Slight depression
- Slight anxiety
- A feeling of aimlessness
If you have several symptoms from the above checklist, you may consider building up your blood through a diet rich in iron (required to produce hemoglobin), vitamin B12 (required for normal red blood cell production) and folic acid (promotes the production of normal red blood cell), or taking an organic whole food vitamin supplement.
It’s a good preventive strategy for women to do so, anyway.
Foods Rich in Iron:
- Beans (especially black beans, kidney beans, and soybeans)
- Iron-fortified cereals
- Whole grain breads and pastas
- Foods containing corn flour (Non-GMO)
- Dark green, leafy vegetables (especially spinach), asparagus, broccoli
- Dried fruits
- Nuts and seeds
Note that fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C enhance iron absorption, whereas caffeinated beverages and black tea (which contains tannins) interfere with the absorption of iron.
So it’s a good idea to include foods rich in vitamin C and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and black tea with meals.
Consider taking a non-constipating iron supplement, especially after menstruation.
Foods Rich in Folic Acid:
- Fresh fruits (especially citrus fruits)
- Vegetables (especially dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach)
- Fortified cereals
- All kinds of beans
As an insurance policy, I take Mykind Organic Women’s Once Daily to make sure my body gets all the essential nutrients it needs.
Foods Rich in Vitamin B12:
- Livers (beef and chicken)
- Diary products (milk and cheese, etc.)
Since animal products are the primary dietary source of vitamin B12, you need to eat lots of tempeh, tofu and miso, and take a vitamin B12 supplement if you’re a strict vegetarian.
I hope you find this post helpful. If so, please help educate other women in your circle. Thank you!