The Relationship Between Anemia and Poor Nutrition: Exploring the Link

The Relationship Between Anemia and Poor Nutrition: Exploring the Link


Anaemia is a state where the number of red blood cells and/or haemoglobin, which is the main determining factor of their oxygen-carrying capacity, in the blood, is low. A protein called haemoglobin is contained in red blood cells, and it becomes the oxygen carrier within the body. When the impairment occurs, tissue and organs become oxygen-depleted, which could cause several symptoms. Anaemia can be due to various diseases, such as genetic problems and chronic diseases, but the most unrecognised factor responsible for many cases is poor nutrition. This article aims to ascertain the intricate bind between anaemia and poor nutrition by offering the reader a layman’s view on the primary necessity of nutrition in tackling anaemia.

Understanding Anemia

Anaemia is a condition with a range of causes and the varying ones that come with it. Here are some of the most common types: Here are some of the most common types:

Iron deficiency anemia:

Most cases result from a micronutrient iron deficiency needed for haemoglobin production.

Vitamin deficiency anemia:

Insufficient doses of vitamin B12 and folate, important for red blood cell maturation, can also result in anemia.

Aplastic anemia:

This less common form of anemia arises when the bone marrow fails to produce enough red blood cells.

Sickle cell anemia:

This genetic variant causes the red blood cells not to be perfectly round, making it more difficult to transport oxygen around the body.

Typically, the primary indications of the health problem are fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and so on. Chronic anemia can increase already high likelihood of comorbid risks such as cardiovascular disease, frequent infections, and poor cognitive function, especially for the elderly.

Iron deficiency is the main reason for nutritional anaemia. Iron is one of the haemoglobin elements; therefore, red blood cell production is hampered when an iron deficiency occurs. However, deficiencies in other nutrients also play a role: However, deficiencies in other nutrients also play a role:

⇒ Vitamin B12:

This vitamin, however, is very important for DNA synthesis and the process of making red blood cells. A lack of this protein can be associated with anaemia of excessive macrocytosis, as many abnormal red blood cells are also less functional.

⇒ Folate:

The remaining one among the B vitamins, folate, is equally important as it keeps the cells healthy and is involved in the division process, for example, when new red blood cells are generated. Insufficiency leads to the decreased ability to carry oxygen and diffuse through tissues due to the small and fragile red blood cells.

⇒ Other contributing nutrients: 

The latter, less severe but still significant diseases, which include vitamin A and copper deficiencies, can also contribute to anemia in some others.

It is necessary to strike a balance in your diet that will allow you to get enough of the required nutrients to prevent and treat anemia.

⇒ Anaemia and Dietary Factors:

Iron deficiency is the greatest concern among people with limited access to iron-rich foods and is the main risk factor for anaemia. Here’s a deeper look at dietary factors influencing iron absorption: Here’s a deeper look at dietary factors influencing iron absorption:

⇒ lron absorption enhancers:

Vitamin C is essential for iron absorption and works better from Muller plants. Iron supplementation and adding vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables will lead to a much higher absorption rate. Meat, termed an iron holder, also supports iron absorption.

⇒ Iron absorption inhibitors: 

Specific dietary elements can compete for iron absorption, interfering with iron uptake. By doing so, we can classify them into the following three major types: phytates (found in whole grains, legumes, and nuts), tannins (present in tea and coffee), and calcium (found in dairy products). It is better not to combine iron-containing substances with food containing these inhibitors to improve iron absorption. Space vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, and kale from the meals and eat them a few hours later.


⇒ Dietary planning for vegetarians/vegans: 

For those who follow the vegetarian or vegan diet, it may be more challenging to meet their daily iron requirements since iron from plant-based foods is not as readily absorbed as iron from animal-based sources.


Here are some tips:

Consume iron-enriched foods such as cereals, bread, and bakery products.

Include vegan iron sources with vitamin C-rich foods to increase absorption. Another example is using lentils with salsa tomatoes or stir-in tofu with broccoli.

Get dairy-based and vegetable-containing iron sources at different times of the day to prevent iron blocking by calcium.

The Current Global Stuck of Anemia and Nutrition

In low-income countries, anemia is mostly found in those who live in poor conditions with malnutrition, which is often used as the cause of poverty and food security. The problem continues to rise because of socioeconomic factors such as poverty, lack of education, poor access to healthcare and so on. One-person anemia entails no more than a widespread ailment. It may considerably devalue the labour productivity of the workers and slow down the economic development of the affected countries.


One of the most commonly encountered chronic diseases in nutrition assessments is anemia.

Periodical anaemic screening is of great importance for early observation and cure. Nutritional assessments that screen for malnutrition and anaemia can be included in the screening process to identify potential undernutrition or anaemia. Hence, a holistic approach allows healthcare providers to design interventions to deal with anaemia and nutritional deficiencies and makes it possible to choose the best approach to manage them. Anaemia is detected by standard blood tests such as CBC, which gives red cell count, haemoglobin levels, and other blood cell parameters.

Strategies for Avoiding Anemia By Putting Correct Nutrition into Practice

Ensuring that we eat foods with diverse iron, vitamins, and minerals is the main idea to combat anemia. Here are some specific dietary recommendations: Here are some specific dietary recommendations:

⇒ Iron-rich foods: 

Take iron from food from various sources by including red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, iron-fortified foods, and dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.), and spread that energy from different groups.

⇒ Food fortification examples:

Iron—and other essential nutrient-enriched foods frequently include wheat flour, some types of bread and cereals, and some dairy products.

Case Studies And Research Findings

Studies have proven that nutritional interventions effectively reduce anemia prevalence, specifically for at-risk groups. For instance, a trial in India of pregnant women who were given additional iron found a big improvement in haemoglobin levels and birth outcomes using an iron supplement instead of a placebo. Yet another study demonstrating results in Africa has revealed that those who had iron-fortified food contributed immensely to the decrease in anaemia cases compared to those children whose diets didn’t have any iron. Such statistics support the idea that more effective nutritional programs concerning anemia could improve the situation globally.

⇒ Public health considerations: 

Implementing effective public health measures worldwide to take care of the heavy burden of anaemia is paramount. Here’s how:

⇒ Government policies:

Can fulfil the mandate through several mechanisms, including creating subsidies and strengthening the production capacity of iron-fortified basic foods. Such policies could lead to considerable improvements in body-taking iron intake in deprived societies.

⇒ Public health programs:

Public health campaigns help educate people on the causes and ways to prevent anaemia, including anemia awareness. Furthermore, these programs help promote a healthy diet and the intake of nutritious, iron-rich foods.

⇒ Addressing food insecurity:

Doubts should be avoided during the struggle against food insecurity because it is the first step to having a wider range of nutritious foods, including foods rich in iron and other nutrients.


Anaemia is a disease that affects people in complex ways and causes serious problems that may lead to deteriorating health. It also contributes to the expansion of public health issues. Although a relatively low intake of some nutrients is a leading risk factor for anaemia, it is changeable and can be interpreted through well-tuned interventions in a target group. With nutrition education, better food access, implementing effective public health techniques, and harnessing collaboration from national and local healthcare services and communities, we can help to lessen this global health scourge and improve health outcomes overall.


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