Essential Nutrients for Healthy Red Blood Cells

Ever wondered about the building blocks of those tiny but mighty red blood cells that keep us feeling energized and alive? Well, let me break it down for you in simple terms!

First up, we’ve got iron, the real MVP of the red blood cell world. Think of iron as the building blocks for these cells. It’s like the steel beams in a skyscraper—they give structure and strength. Iron helps make hemoglobin, which is like a taxi that carries oxygen to all parts of your body. Without enough iron, these red blood cells can’t do their job properly, and you might feel tired and run down. The most easily absorbed form of iron is haem iron. Non-haem iron is harder for your body to absorb

    Haem iron can be found in:
    1. Meat — beef, lamb, venison, pork, and kangaroo
    2. Organ meats — liver, kidney and pate
    3. Poultry — chicken, turkey, and eggs
    4. Seafood — salmon, sardines and tuna
        Plant-based sources of non-haem iron include:
        1. Dark leafy greens
        2. Nuts and seeds
        3. Legumes
        4. Tofu
        5. Dried fruit like dates, prunes and raisins

        If you follow a plant-based diet, you will need to eat about 80% more iron to meet your dietary requirements.

        Vitamin C is like the ultimate wingman for iron absorption. It basically holds the door open and welcomes iron into your body with open arms. When you consume Vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, capsicum or parsley alongside iron-rich foods, it kicks iron absorption into high gear. It’s like a tag team championship match happening in your digestive system!

        But wait, there’s more! Not only does Vitamin C help iron absorption, but it also prevents iron from oxidizing and becoming less available for your body to use. Talk about a double win!

        Next, let’s talk about Vitamin E. Picture it as the bodyguard for your red blood cells. These cells are constantly exposed to oxygen, which can sometimes cause damage. But Vitamin E steps in and says, “Not on my watch!” It’s like a shield protecting your red blood cells from harm, making sure they stay healthy and strong. Good sources of vitamin E include:

        1. Nuts & seeds
        2. Dark leafy greens
        3. Avocado
        4. Wheat germ
        5. Olive oil

        Now, onto Vitamin A. This vitamin is like the director of the red blood cell production team. It tells your body how to make more red blood cells from scratch. Without enough Vitamin A, the team might get a little lost and confused, leading to fewer red blood cells being made. And we definitely don’t want that! Good sources of vitamin A include:

        1. Oily fish
        2. Liver
        3. Eggs
        4. Dairy products
        5. Carrots
        6. Dark leafy greens
        7. Red peppers

        Ah, the B-complex vitamins—these guys are like the cheerleaders, always keeping the energy up! Specifically, Vitamin B12 and folate (Vitamin B9) are crucial for red blood cell production. They help with all the behind-the-scenes work, like making sure the DNA is just right and cells are dividing properly. Without them, the whole production line might come to a halt, and we’d be left feeling sluggish and tired. Good sources of B vitamins include:

        1. Lean meats and liver
        2. Oily fish
        3. Eggs
        4. Dairy products
        5. Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans)
        6. Leafy greens
        7. Nuts and seeds
        8. Nutritional yeast

        And now, making its debut in our lineup, we’ve got copper! Copper is like the unsung hero, quietly working behind the scenes to keep things in order. It helps with the production of hemoglobin, just like iron does. Without enough copper, those red blood cells might struggle to carry oxygen effectively. Foods that provide copper include:

        1. Oysters and mussels
        2. Organ meats especially beef liver
        3. Nuts and seeds
        4. Legumes
        5. Dark leafy greens
        6. Raw cacao
        7. Avocado
        8. Mushrooms

        Last but not least, we’ve got zinc. Think of zinc as the handyman, fixing things up and making sure everything runs smoothly. It helps with all the little details of red blood cell production, ensuring everything comes together perfectly. The best sources of zinc include:

        1. Oysters
        2. Beef
        3. Crayfish/lobster
        4. Pork
        5. Chicken
        6. Pumpkin seeds
        7. Yogurt
        8. Cashews

        So, there you have it! Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, the B-complex vitamins, Copper and Zinc—all working together like a well-oiled machine to keep those red blood cells pumping and you feeling your best. So, don’t forget to give your body the nutrients it needs to keep the production line going strong!

        Have you noticed that animal products are rich in essential nutrients for optimal red blood cell health? While it is possible to obtain all the nutrients you need from a plant-based diet, you may require support from nutritional supplements from time to time.

        If you follow a plant based diet, or you are low in energy or finding it hard to maintain a healthy weight, you may benefit from a nutritional consultation with one of our team. Click here to book your complimentary Health Check