In the average man, there are about 12 pints of blood, which must be continually filtered and renewed. The main components of blood include red cells, which carry oxygen, white cells, which fight infection and clean up debris, and plasma, which carries nutrients and hormones. Lack of red blood cells is known as anemia. The term, "blood building," is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and refers to foods rich in nutrients that encourage new blood cell production. Chlorophyll, iron, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are blood-building nutrients.
Wheatgrass is a super-food that is a store house for numerous vitamins and minerals, although it is especially rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is similar to human blood in composition and has the ability to stimulate hemoglobin production and build red blood cells in the bone marrow, according to "Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition." Higher volumes of red blood cells and hemoglobin within the blood increase the amount of oxygen that can be transported to cells, which they use for metabolism.
Alfalfa sprouts are another super-food that is considered a blood builder. In addition to containing chlorophyll, alfalfa is a source of iron, which is needed by the body to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen and gives blood its red color. Lack of hemoglobin and red blood cells is known as anemia, which causes fatigue, dizziness, pale skin and reduced surface body temperature. Vitamins C, B-12 and folic acid help iron to be better absorbed by the body, as cited in "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism."
Kelp is a type of seaweed, or algae, that also is considered a super-food because of the nutrients it contains. In addition to chlorophyll, kelp is rich in iodine, B vitamins and vitamin C. It is one of the best sources of iron available from the plant kingdom, according to the "American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide." Other types of algae, such as spirulina, chlorella and sea lettuce, would also be considered good blood builders.
Dark leafy greens, especially spinach and kale, are sources of all of the nutrients required to build red blood cells and hemoglobin, especially B vitamins and iron. B vitamins, including folic acid, are also required for cellular metabolism and energy production within the body, which would contribute to reducing the fatigue felt by those who are anemic.
Red beets have been used since the times of the ancient Greeks as a blood purifier and builder. It was commonly given to those who suffered blood loss and was a life-saving remedy in the days before blood transfusions. Red beets have the effects that they do on red blood cells because of their high iron content, which is particularly well-absorbed and assimilated, according to "Biochemistry of Human Nutrition." Beet juice is also recommended by natural physicians as a spleen and liver cleanser.
- "Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition"; Martha Stipanuk; 2006
- "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism: Fifth Edition"; Sareen S. Gropper and Jack L. Smith; 2009
- "American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide"; American Dietetic Association; 2006
- "Biochemistry of Human Nutrition"; George Gropper; 2000