The reason why your blood appears red is the presence of hemoglobin — a type of protein found in the red blood cells (RBC) whose primary function is to carry oxygen molecules. You may have read somewhere that low hemoglobin results in anemia. This is the reason why maintaining good level of hemoglobin by consuming more foods that contain iron and vitamin C is a good idea. However, did you know that having elevated hemoglobin level is just as bad?
Reasons why hemoglobin level in the blood increases are varied. Some of them include smoking, dehydration and residing at high altitudes. The use of anabolic steroids for bodybuilding is another factor. There are also certain health conditions that may cause the problem, including congenital heart disease and polycythemia vera.
Normalizing the level of hemoglobin is important in order to prevent the complications associated with such. One of the most notable issues that may result from it is increased blood viscosity. Due to the blood’s abnormal thickness, the delivery of oxygen molecules to the tissues is impeded because of its negative impact on microcirculation. Just like anemia wherein there’s decreased level of hemoglobin, the same problem is encountered when there’s too much hemoglobin!
The treatment for increased level of hemoglobin in the blood aims to deal with the underlying cause, such as the health conditions mentioned above. There are a few natural remedies around that can help normalize the number of blood hemoglobin. Here are some of those that you may try:
Quit Cigarette Smoking
If you are a smoker, it’s high time that you turn your back on your bad habit if your doctor told you that you have increased hemoglobin level. Experts are not really sure why smoking can cause this problem. However, they believe that producing more hemoglobin is the body’s way of compensating for the fact that smoking keeps you from getting enough oxygen.
Transfer to a Low Altitude Place
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, one of the causes of having too much hemoglobin is living in high altitudes. This does not come as a shock because there’s lower oxygen level up there, and this prompts your body to produce more hemoglobin. Moving to a low altitude spot may not be the simplest solution around, but it sure does work very well.
Drink Plenty of Water
Being dehydrated causes the blood to thicken, and this tends to result in higher level of hemoglobin. Especially if you are about undergo blood testing and you are dehydrated, the result of your hemoglobin count will surely be affected. So that a more precise value may be obtained, a retesting may be warranted by your doctor.
Cut Back on Your Iron Intake
Since iron promotes the production of more hemoglobin, it’s a good idea to steer clear of iron-rich foods in order to regulate the production of the said blood component. Some examples of foods containing iron are beef, lamb, liver, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate. Also, you might want to quit taking iron supplements as well as multivitamins that contain iron.
Avoid Iron Cookware
Some of the iron content of your iron cookware may actually leach into your food whenever you use it for whipping up your meals. It’s for this reason why it’s a good idea to switch to cookware out of other materials in order to help lower your hemoglobin level. Also, don’t forget to ensure that your tap water does not contain high amounts of iron.
Reduce Your Intake of Vitamin C
It’s true that vitamin C has no effect on the body’s production of hemoglobin. However, this nutrient helps promote the absorption of iron, a mineral necessary for the increased hemoglobin production. Aside from limiting citrus fruits and other sources of vitamin C, you should also quit taking supplements or multivitamins containing it.