Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Managing Thalassemia with Nutrition

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the body makes abnormal form of hemoglobin. There is a gene defect which leads to abnormal formation of hemoglobin. (Carrier of oxygen in blood).

There are 3 main types of Thalassemia:
  1. Alpha Thalassemia
  2.  Beta Thalassemia
  3. Thalassemia Minor
Managing Thalassemia with nutrition:

  • Limit the intake of iron rich foods especially in case of blood transfusions such as red meats, organ meats such as liver, kidney, brain and heart, seafood (mussels, prawns, squids, sardines, kingfish and mackerel), beetroot, apple, pomegranate etc. as it may exacerbate the condition.
  • Limit intake of Vitamin C rich foods as it increases the absorption the iron which can eventually lead to iron overload. Sources: Orange, sweet lime, lemon, Indian gooseberry, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, broccoli, spinach, peas and other green leafy vegetables.
  • Include Iron chelating agents in the diet. This can inhibit the absorption of iron and reduce iron overload.
      • Tannins: Sources (Tea, coffee, black tea, green tea, oolong tea)
      • Antioxidant rich foods (catechin, polyphenols, epigallocatechin): Sources (dark chocolate, green tea, blackberries, cherries etc)
      • Calcium: Sources (milk, cheese, yogurt, paneer, curd, egg, fish)
  • Thalassemic patients usually have low levels of zinc, vitamin D and calcium. Thus it’s advisable to focus on these nutrients
      • Calcium: Sources (milk, cheese, yogurt, paneer, curd)
      • Vitamin D: Sources (mushroom, pulses and legumes, dairy products, fish)
      • Zinc: Sources (Whole grains, pulses, dairy products)
  • Breathing exercise such as oxycise, yoga should be a part of your daily routine, as this will increase blood flow throughout the body. 
  • Avoid junk, processed foods, packaged foods such as sausages, jams, chips, this will only lead to further tiredness. Consume fresh food items without additives, preservatives and taste enhancers-MSG.

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