How nutrition plays a key role in managing sickle cell anemia

How nutrition plays a key role in managing sickle cell anemia

Sickle cell disease, also known as sickle cell anemia, is a genetic disorder that modifies regular red blood cells into a sickle or crescent shape. The disease is more common in people with a deficiency in vitamin D and poor appetite. The condition may also lead to reduced growth and development in children. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how nutrition can help support sickle cell patients.

Balance and increase nutrients
When it comes to sickle cell disease, asymptomatic patients tend to show energy levels below the set threshold. This number falls to about half when illness sets in or when the person is hospitalized. Therefore, one should increase the food they eat if they wish to tackle the condition’s symptoms. Some of these foods include the following:

  • Whole grains, rice, and cereals, which are high in vitamin B, magnesium, folate, and selenium
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt that are loaded with vitamin D and calcium
  • Certain vegetable oils that are rich in vitamin E and fatty acids
  • Meats, nuts, seeds, and beans are good sources of protein, zinc, and iron
  • Green leafy vegetables and fruits, as these foods carry high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and even fiber

Calorie intake
A high-calorie intake also supports those with sickle cell disease. Therefore, here are a few points that help improve the number of calories consumed in a day

  • Eat three meals a day, along with snacks in between
  • Increase sauce and gravy consumption
  • Stuff salads with beans, cheese, and nuts
  • Cook vegetables and meat with oils
  • Have soups and sauces with powdered milk
  • Avocados, milk, and nuts are pivotal
  • Stop sports drinks or sodas, and stick to whole milk and juices

Hydration
Sickling of red blood cells is also common in people who exercise without consuming the right amount of fluids. Hence, drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, will significantly reduce the risk of sickled cells in at-risk patients.

Get a doctor’s opinion
Though consuming the right amount of foods is vital in people with sickle cell disease, its benefits may differ from one person to the next. Therefore, we also recommend speaking with a doctor before making any changes to their nutrition. This way, a person with the condition can identify the foods to include or avoid.

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