Healthy blood plays a crucial role in overall health and wellness. Low hemoglobin, high blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol and abnormal blood sugar levels are a few factors that influence blood health. Your diet can go a long way in promoting healthy blood, and most foods that are good for the blood also promote healthy weight and general well being.
A healthy diet not only prevents high blood pressure, but it can also decrease high blood pressure levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, the best foods to eat to promote healthy blood pressure are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Foods that are low in sodium are especially beneficial, since eating foods with high sodium content can promote hypertension. Replace heavily processed and frozen foods with fresh produce, and season your food with herbs instead of high-sodium seasonings.
Food is an obvious culprit in the development of high blood sugar. Although there are many foods to avoid if you want to prevent high blood sugar levels, there are also several that you should add to your diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes are good alternatives to simple carbohydrates, which cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association also recommends eating fish two or three times per week and replacing high-fat meats with lean products to avoid prediabetes.
The Mayo Clinic provides a top five list of the best foods for blood cholesterol levels. Oatmeal, fish, nuts, olive oil and foods that contain stanols, like orange juice and yogurt drinks, top the list. Although you should avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fat, not all fat is bad for cholesterol. In fact, foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat actually lower your bad cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol. Foods that promote healthy blood cholesterol levels include plant oils -- except for palm and coconut oil -- as well as fish, nuts and avocados.
Low blood hemoglobin causes iron-deficiency anemia, which is characterized by extreme fatigue, muscle weakness and depression. According to the American Red Cross, you can prevent low hemoglobin by eating a variety of high-iron foods. Foods that contain heme iron, such as meat, poultry and fish, are ideal sources, since heme iron is readily absorbed by the human body. However, non-heme iron sources, like vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes, also contribute to your hemoglobin levels, and are especially beneficial when eaten with foods that are high in vitamin C, like citrus fruit or tomatoes.
- National Institutes of Health: Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure
- MayoClinic.com: Cholesterol: Top Five Foods to Lower Your Numbers
- MayoClinic.com: Diabetes Diet
- American Diabetes Association: Making Healthy Food Choices
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol
- American Red Cross: Hemoglobin and Iron