There are many different foods that help to improve circulation and red blood cell production. But for those of us that aren’t so adventurous here are a few foods that you probably use everyday, and have so many positive benefits for sickle cell patients. Try to incorporate at least 2 of these in every meal you eat, and seriously avoid fatty foods…I cannot stress that enough!
1. Green, leafy vegetables like Kale, Spinach, Bok Choy, Turnip Greens and pretty much every vegetable with a leaf. They are high in folate aka folic acid. This aids in improving appetite, cell production, growth and red blood cell formation.
2. Beets: Beets are high in iron, help build the blood and oxygenate the body. Beets have an added advantage of detoxify-ing the kidneys, liver and bladder…which we need since we are on so many ‘other’ harsh meds.
3. Brown Rice: If you must eat rice regularly (like I do), then switch to brown rice. This is one of the most energetically balanced food. It strengthens the lungs and the spleen.
4. Garlic: When my mom used to make me eat garlic everyday, I hated it with a passion, but I never feel sick with colds and the flu. Garlic is a great immune system builder, relieves cramps and helps to expel cold and dampness from your body by increasing your inner body temperature. How awesome is that?
5. More Veggies: I cannot stress the importance of vegetables. Diets high in meats and fatty foods tend to make sickle cell patients go into crises more. Try to eliminate meat from your diet completely, and if not, then try to limit your meat intake to small amounts a couple of times a week. Instead, bulk up on veggies like cabbage, mustard greens, onions, radishes. Also throw in kidney beans, lentils, sorghum, millet and you have yourself a balanced diet.
6. Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne is another great detoxifier. It strengthens your immune system, disperses congestion, clears your sinuses, expels cold and helps to calm abdominal pains (by dilating the veins/arteries in the abdomen, increasing circulation, thereby increasing oxygenation). I love me some cayenne pepper…I can sprinkle it on almost everything.
7. Root vegetables: Root veggies like carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, yucca root, African yam, cassava and anything from that family are known to inhibit sickling and helps to increase red blood cell production. You can bake, steam, juice or broil them. As long as you don’t fry them…you are doing good.
I hope this gives you a starting point. If you have any other tips, please do share.