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What kind of food do you eat when you have anemia?

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Hello everybody,we just came back from oncologist,from last blood test,it shows my hubby has anemia because it's the 4th week of 6 at 5-fu,I guess this is a normal reaction to the chemo.So I would like to know what kind of food you eat to help with boosting up your blood cell counts.Thank you very much.Any suggestions would be appreciated.

eric38's picture
eric38
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2009

If I am not mistaken I think protiens are the best for boosting healthy cell production and fruit is good to countract negative cell production. I am no doctor but that`s what I do and I have not missed a treatment from my blood count being too low yet. Sometimes I get a low blood count but by the time I go back for treatments they are back up and I am taking 5fu too. I hate carrying that stupid thing around but it seems to be working so I can`t complain. The best thing you can do for the hubby is keep him eating because that is what feeds your cells. They can`t regenerate if they aren`t getting any fuel. Good presentation helps. Making the food look pretty makes a person more apt to try it. I wouldn`t force anything down his throat but he should eat what he can and drink as many fluids as possible. There are days I eat when I don`t feel like it and I think that has helped me considerably.

Eric ( : . }

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Eric,my husband hates that pump too,since the chemo he is taking now is preoperative treatment,he has to wear the pump for 24/5,only Sat and Sun off.The problem is that he always presses the tube when he falls asleep,so everynight it beeps several times,and I am driven crazy by that thing too.Well,my hubby will only have two more weeks to go to finish the whole 6 weeks treatment,I think we both will be happy when he doesn't have to wear this thing again.

eric38's picture
eric38
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2009

Just looked it up on the internet. Most important for immunity boost is vitamin c which is in most fruits. Beef for zinc replacement and cell boost. Fish and seafood for cell production too. Those seem to be the best but any protien is good.

Eric

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you very much Eric.Actually the first three weeks,my hubby was doing pretty good,because I fed him lots of vetagetables and fruits everyday back then.But unluckily he started to get a little diarrhea since the middle of third week,so the dietian totally cut off the vegie and fruit part,then his blood cell counts just became down very quickly.The oncologist said my hubby's blood cell counts are underneath normal range but not at the basement yet,but I still want to make sure his anemia is under control,so hopefully he can finish the 6-week 5-fu on time.Thank you,Eric,I do appreciate your post.

neon356
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

chick peas---6.2mg/7 oz
bran flakes--5.3mg/1 1/2 oz
spinach------4.0mg/3 1/2oz

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you very much,neon.

polarprincess
Posts: 210
Joined: Aug 2008

i work in clinical nutrition in a hospital setting and what we do when someone is anemic is to increase high value protein and provide a vit c source with the iron to help absorption although it is controversial whether or not that really helps or not. Foods to eat are red meats/organ meats like liver which of course are controversial as well with colon cancer but they do help increase HGB, also iron fortified cereals, Oysters, sardines and shrimp; dried peas and beans; dark green, leafy vegetables; (be careful with these if on coumadin for any reason) whole grains; dried apricots; prunes and raisins are others. It is a fine balance with hemoglobin- you want it to be high enough to be able to get chemo and to not get into medical trouble, but on the other hand with cancer, when he is done with chemo and hgb levels come back to normal you don't want too much iron either as it is believed that it can fuel cancer growth..the body purposely locks away iron when a person gets cancer in order to protect itself as iron is an oxidant and can cause free radical formation in the body and suppress the immune system. I had many discussions with my oncologist on this subject when my levels were low and she was wanting me to get iron infusions. I refused all of them and instead did visualization of increasing red blood cells and my levels did come up on their own..if it had gotten to a dangerous level however of course i would have done them or a transfusion. I am not in any way saying your hubby should not eat food to increase iron levels as the most important thing while going through chemo of course it to be able to get it on schedule, and if his doctor tells you he needs more iron then i would follow their advice but when off chemo not go overboard on the iron or take supplements without the doc's approval. Also if they suggest procrit to you at all i would definitely balk at that.. my onc refuses to use it except in end stage where there is no hope because the studies have shown it does fuel cancer.

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you very much,princess.I do appreciate the information you provided,it's new to me,thank you.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 4248
Joined: Feb 2009

I was told protein will help with that. I am drinking "Boost" with high protein and it has 30 mg per one bottle which is a lot. I've been eating gizzards and hearts - can't do the liver thing and have a couple of those a day. Trying to get meat and seafood in diet too. Hope he is better.

Kim

Paula G.'s picture
Paula G.
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2009

I have asked and asked this question. My hubby has amemia also.Even before he started Chemo. His onc said it was the cancer and now it is the chemo. Our family doc said to take a multi with iron and he is jucing and eating protein. It drives me nuts that they don't give more info. Thanks for posting this question

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Kim and Paula,thank both of you very much.I think anemia is a common issue caused by chemo.It was not a surprise,my husband is at borderline anemia.All considered,it is not too bad after 4 weeks continuously 5-fu chemo,he is doing better than my imagination,anyway he is going to continue the 5th week of chemo next week,hopefully he can finish the 6-week 5-fu on time.Lots of thanks to all of you.

cindybob's picture
cindybob
Posts: 61
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi.
I have had chronic Anemia as a result of well, so many things, but here are my suggestions. I did have the iron IVs though, just as a side note. I was told by my oncologist that regardless of what I was eating I needed the Iron up pronto and my body was not absorbing it through food or supplements. I have not had to have the Iron IV in a few years, it was just when I was so low that I couldn't function. I was "barely there."

Anyway, two things that I kept in mind, calories are fuel so anything that he will eat is good. I can't eat leaves without horrible stomach cramping so I had to lay off the spinach, which hurt me. I loved my spinach salads. I never eat salad anymore, I just can't do leaves. So, it's red meat for me when my levels get too low. I have always loved steak though, so, I love that I "must" eat red meat.

And the Ensure, that used to be about all I could digest at one point, so that saved my life for a long time. Again calories are fuel, so he needs as many as he can handle. keep us updated. You are doing a great job!

Cindy Bob :-)

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you very much,Cindy Bob.My hubby is doing ok,now he is on the 5th week of 6 for 5-FU.This morning we checked the oncologist note on line,we found out white blood cell counts and platelet counts are still doing ok,low but still in normal range.Just the Hemoglobin is a little lower than borderline.My hubby still has good appetite which is good,so he is still eating three meals a day.Usually I don't like when he eats red meat,but since we need to keep his blood cell counts in a normal range,I let him eat a beef sandwich last Friday and today he wants baked ribs,then I am going to make some for dinner.We actually went to Costco to look for ensure for him,but they only had vanilla flavor which he doesn't like,so I just couldn't buy any.We will go to pharmacy to buy chocolate flavor for him.Anyway thank you very much for your posting,I do appreciate.

Shayenne's picture
Shayenne
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

I am anemic, and remember my mother trying to get me to eat liver! ugh!! but bedsides certain veggies, liver and onions was the way to go LOL...

Sigma34's picture
Sigma34
Posts: 207
Joined: Jul 2009

Both beet and kale are high in iron. Juicing would be best.

Fight for my love
Posts: 1307
Joined: Jun 2009

Thanks for the replies,Donna and Sigma.My husband hates liver,he can't tolerate the smell of liver,so we never ate liver at home.My hubby is doing better,last blood work showed his blood cell counts came back normal!I made him drink Ensure plus,looks like this is working.Lots of thanks to all of you.

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