How Anemics Can Avoid Holiday Fatigue

Editor’s Note: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not use it to replace any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health issues. Any questions about your blood health should be directed toward a physician, hematologist, or other licensed healthcare professional.

You may not be low on holiday cheer but it can be easy to fall behind on your hemoglobin levels this time of year — here’s what you need to know

The holidays may be one of the most wonderful times of the year but they can also be one of the most stressful, especially if you’re dealing with iron deficiency and anemia. 

With parties, shopping, and family visits on the calendar every week it can be easy to start feeling fatigued. 

If you’re looking to keep your energy levels off the naughty list this year, we’ve made a list and checked it twice to help you do just that. 

Look Out for the Symptoms

If you start experiencing the following symptoms at any time during the holiday season, you might need to check your hemoglobin levels to ensure you’re not at risk for anemia or iron deficiency: 

  • Fatigue
  • Physical weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Pallor (Pale or yellowish skin)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Cold hands and feet

How to Avoid Holiday Fatigue and Anemia 

Here are a few surefire ways to make sure you’re filled with holiday cheer all month long.

1. Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep 

It should go without saying, but sleep is one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t feel fatigued. This is especially important for those with anemia or iron deficiency as studies1 have shown a link between insomnia and anemia. The Johns Hopkins Hospital recommends getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep every day. 

2. Don’t Eat Too Much Sugar

Fructose, the main type of sugar found in most sweets, can actually increase your iron absorption whereas sucrose and sucralose have little to no impact, according to most studies2. This doesn’t mean it’s OK to go overboard on the holiday cookies — increased sugar intake can increase your diabetes risk, and anemia and diabetes are closely linked. 

Enjoy yourself, but in moderation. 

3. Go Easy on the Eggnog 

 As with sugar, one holiday drink won’t cause a massive dip in your hemoglobin levels but heavy alcohol use—which is defined as four drinks in a day for men and three for women—can lead to decreased iron absorption. 

4. Load Your Plate Up with Iron 

Chestnuts roasted on an open fire, sadly, don’t yield much iron—100 grams of them will get you just 1 mg. That’s not to say you can’t eat them, just make sure to include the following foods on your plate: 

  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Tofu/tempeh
  • Oats
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Lentils
  • Palm Hearts
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Pumpkin and flax seeds
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms

Gift Yourself Better Blood Health 

Checking your hemoglobin levels with AnemoCheck takes less time than wrapping a present, and it can be a simple way to stop holiday fatigue in its tracks. 

Tap Into Your Health today by downloading the app via the iOS or Android app stores.

References 

  1. Liu, X., Song, Q., Hu, W. et al. Night Sleep Duration and Risk of Incident Anemia in a Chinese Population: A Prospective Cohort Study. Sci Rep 8, 3975 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22407-5
  2. Christides T, Sharp P. Sugars increase non-heme iron bioavailability in human epithelial intestinal and liver cells. PLoS One. 2013;8(12):e83031. Published 2013 Dec 10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083031

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