Red blood cells are vital to your health and well-being, carrying oxygen to cells throughout your body and carbon dioxide away from them so that it can be expelled. A number of nutrients are involved in the production, maintenance and function of red blood cells. Among these are vitamin A, the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, copper and phosphorus. Certain fruits can be good sources of these nutrients, providing the body with the nourishment it needs to keep red blood cells healthy and abundant.
Vitamin A, perhaps best known for its role in eye health, also plays important roles in red blood cell production. Red blood cells are derived from stem cells, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. These stem cells are dependent on vitamin A for differentiation into red blood cells. Vitamin A also aids in the mobilization of iron from storage sites to be incorporated into hemoglobin, the pigment that carries oxygen. Fruits that are good sources of vitamin A include apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango,watermelon and dried plums.
Several of the eight B-complex vitamins are essential to the production and function of red blood cells. Among these are B-12, B-6, B-5 thiamine and riboflavin. While B-12 is derived from animal products, other B-complex vitamins are widely distributed throughout the food supply. Fruits that are good sources of B-complex vitamins include bananas, dates, mango, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, avocado and pomegranate.
Vitamin C greatly enhances the body's ability to absorb nonheme iron, which makes up about two thirds of total absorbed dietary iron, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon and lime. Strawberries are also good sources of vitamin C, as are kiwi, mango, papaya and pineapple.
Iron is essential to the structure and function of red blood cells. Iron is a component in the formulation of hemoglobin, which is vital to the transport and storage of oxygen. Fruits that are good sources of iron include raisins, prunes, avocado, blackberries, cherries, grapes, watermelon, raspberries, dates and figs.
Copper and phosphorus play roles in the health and function of red blood cells. The Linus Pauling Institute says that copper aids in iron metabolism, while phosphorus assists hemoglobin in the delivery of oxygen to body tissues. Fruits rich in both phosphorus and copper include kiwi, dates, mango, avocado, blackberries and pomegranate.
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center; Vitamin A; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; November 2007
- Medline Plus; Vitamins; Alison Evert; February 2011
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center; Vitamin C; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; November 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center; Iron; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; August 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center; Copper; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; July 2007
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center; Phosphorus; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; August 2007