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What Not To Eat With Sickle Cell Anemia? Read Here

  • Ashly 
  • 6 min read

Sickle cell anemia is a painful genetic disease that affects about 100,000 people in the United States. It is characterized by a condition called sickle cell anemia, in which red blood cells are misshapen and stick to each other, causing blood to block and break down easily.

Along with the pain and discomfort, sickle cell anemia can cause other serious complications including organ damage, stroke, and mental health issues. This can cause many symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue.

People with sickle cell anemia often find it difficult to manage their diet as their symptoms cause them to feel weak and tired. However, there are many foods that are safe to eat even with sickle cell anemia.

How we treat sickle cell disease?

In the past, people who have Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) were treated with restricted diet, continuous painkillers, and blood transfusions. Today, with the recognition of the extra risk to the patient, the SCD Community is in search of a cure for SCD.

As a result, researchers have been able to isolate the genes and enzymes that cause most of the problems for people with sickle cell disease. With the use of these genetic tools and the medicines that are derived from them, there are new treatments in the works.

A balanced diet with sickle cell disease

A healthy diet is important for anyone, but especially those with sickle cell disease. Sickle cells are a type of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen through our blood, which is a genetic trait.

Because of the mutations in our hemoglobin, the body isn’t able to provide us with the oxygen we need to function. As a result, the immune system develops antibodies to attack the body’s own healthy cells.

Since the immune system has been trained to attack healthy cells, it won’t recognize the healthy cells that come from healthy food, and it will attack those cells.

Here some foods to eat with sickle cell anemia:

Grains

As you may have heard that your body needs a lot of carbohydrates to help it heal from illness. This is true, especially for sickle cell disease patients who are often prescribed a diet low in starch and high in protein to prevent complications from their disease. But there are other options, such as whole grains.

The word “carbohydrates” refers to a class of highly digestible, energy-dense foodstuffs that provides much of the nutrition we need to support our bodies.

Carbohydrates include starches, such as bread, cereal, rice, and pasta; sugars, such as table sugar, honey, and maple syrup; and other foodstuffs, such as cornmeal, oatmeal, and fruit juice.

The most obvious carbohydrate you’ve probably heard of is glucose, the sugar in our bloodstream.

Vegetables

People with sickle cell disease are at increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening complications. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can help to protect against the development of these infections and reduce their severity and frequency.

Milk

Milk can provide you with calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for strong and healthy bones. Milk contains valuable nutrients, including protein and potassium, which can help improve heart health. Opt for low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.

Meat and beans

Foods such as lean chicken, pork, fish and beef, nuts, seeds, peas and beans are great sources of protein, zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.

For instance, the human body needs protein and zinc for energy and growth, iron to help carry oxygen in the blood.

Similarly, omega 3 fatty acids found in certain fish, nuts and seeds can help reduce inflammation and decrease risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease.

Foods to avoid with sickle cell anemia

Each day, people are told that their health is at risk. Diet, exercise, and weight loss are frequently promoted as solutions to poor health, but while these measures might increase your general sense of well-being, they are not necessarily the key to long-term health.

In most cases, a healthy diet is the best way to prevent illness, but it is not always possible to follow such a diet with sickle cell disease. At the same time, there are certain foods that should be avoided, if possible, if you have any symptoms of sickle cell disease.

  • Coffee

Is it time to give up your morning cup of coffee?  Yes, it is for some people that suffer from sickle cell anemia.

 Coffee is something that many people enjoy, but for those that are diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, the risks of drinking coffee are simply too great to take.

People that have sickle cell anemia are extremely susceptible to the negative effects of coffee, and it is for this reason that they should limit their intake.

  • Garlic

There are many foods you should not eat with sickle cell anemia, but garlic is one of the most popular ones. If you have sickle cell anemia, you are probably aware that garlic has some natural dangers to it.

It is a powerful allergen and can cause a severe allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

  • Chilis

Chiles are some of the most widely used spices in the world, used in many cuisines and dishes.

However, chili’s are known to cause problems for people with sickle cell anemia, and even for people who don’t have the condition. While you can eat chili’s with no ill effects, some foods can cause more problems than they are worth.

  • Alcohol

There are many things that can affect the symptoms of sickle cell anemia, including alcohol. Alcohol acts as a vasodilator, which means it makes the blood vessels in the body smaller.

This is usually a good thing, but can cause the cells in the body to become sickle shaped. In addition, alcohol can speed up the oxygen-carrying function of red blood cells, and this, too, can damage red blood cells and cause the cells to become sickle shaped.

  • Foods high in fat

High in fat foods can cause you to be more dehydrated, because they can give you an increased appetite. These high fat foods may also make your tiredness worse.

  • Foods high in salt

If you suffer from the disease sickle cell anemia (S.C.A.), you may have noticed that your diet is not as healthy as it used to be. There are many foods that can be added to your diet that can be particularly harmful to sickle cell patients.

One of these is salt. When you are suffering from sickle cell anemia, you may be more prone to salt-induced heart problems. Many of the foods that are high in salt can also increase the risk of developing this condition.

 Some of the foods that you must avoid with sickle cell anemia include processed meats, canned foods, canned soups, frozen foods, fast foods, potato chips and a lot more.

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