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Foods and Juice Good for the Blood

by
author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
Foods and Juice Good for the Blood
The vitamin A in grapefruit juice promotes blood cell development. Photo Credit HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

A healthy, balanced should provide all the nutrients you need for healthy blood -- as well as healthy tissue in general. However, if you're concerned about nutritional support for your blood, reach for foods rich in a few key nutrients. If you have an underlying health condition or take medication, check with your doctor before you make any significant changes to your diet.

Foods with Vitamin K

Vitamin K should be front and center on your radar if you're eating for blood health. It's essential for triggering the coagulation cascade -- a series of chemical responses that allow your blood to clot. Without enough vitamin K, it's more difficult to form blood clots -- and this can cause excess bleeding after an injury. You need just a small amount of vitamin K daily -- 125 and 90 micrograms for men and women, respectively. A cup of blackberry juice supplies 38 micrograms, while canned carrot juice offers 37 micrograms. Dark leafy greens, including mustard greens, turnip greens, kale and Brussels sprouts, also offer ample amounts. If you take blood-thinning medications, consult your doctor before you start adding lots of K-rich foods to your diet, in case you need to adjust your dosage.

Foods with Vitamin A

Eating foods or drinking juices with vitamin A also promotes healthy blood. Vitamin A triggers the development of new red and white blood cells. You need a small amount daily -- 2,333 international units for women and 3,000 for men. A cup of yellow passionfruit juice contains 2,329 IU of vitamin A, while grapefruit and tangerine juice offer 1,087 and 625 IU, respectively. For foods rich in vitamin A, go for fortified dairy products, eggs, broccoli, kale, and orange and yellow fruits and veggies, like mangoes and sweet potatoes.

Foods with Iron

Iron helps your red blood cells function properly, so it's essential in a blood-nourishing diet. Your red blood cells contain a protein, called hemoglobin, that uses iron to bind to the oxygen from the air you breathe. As the blood circulates throughout your body, the iron in hemoglobin releases oxygen, so it can enter your tissues to promote cell function. Aim for 8 milligrams of iron daily for women 51 and older and all men, or 18 milligrams for women of childbearing age. Because nonheme iron -- the type of iron found in plant-derived foods -- isn't as readily available, vegetarians might need more iron per day than people whose diet includes meat. While not many juices offer significant amounts of iron, a cup of prune juice offers 3 milligrams and a cup of blackberry juice provides 1 milligram. Other foods rich in iron include lentils, tofu, beef, chicken and tuna.

Blending and Serving Tips

Because many juices might contain just one or two nutrients needed for blood health, make your own juice blends from several fruits and veggies for a more well-rounded beverage. For example, juice a grapefruit or tangerine with a few leaves of kale or beet greens for a drink that contains vitamins A and K. To boost your iron levels, serve juice as part of a meal that contains plant-based iron sources, such as lentils, tofu and potatoes. The vitamin C found in most fruit juices makes plant-based iron easier to absorb.

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