Your red blood cells may thank you for calming down — so take a breath before reading this:
When was the last time you were so angry it made your blood boil? As it turns out, negative mental health can also have an impact on your hemoglobin.
Doctors have known for years that the body and mind are interconnected—for example, it’s been proven that increasing your physical activity can improve your mood. On the other hand, people with severe stress and/or depression often have weaker immune systems.
But can stress deplete iron levels? Not necessarily, but in this blog we’ll give you yet another reason to actually use that meditation app you downloaded months ago. Long story short, avoiding stress can be seen as its own iron supplement.
Can Stress Lower Red Blood Cell Count?
Stress can be manifested in a number of ways: anger, anxiety, and nervousness, for example. It usually happens when we’re faced with a challenge, be that a deadline at work at issues at home.
And stress itself is not a bad thing! It’s part of our natural fight-or-flight system, and can help us on our toes to face the root cause of whatever’s stressing us out.
That comes at a price, though. That fight-or-flight response triggers certain biological functions, including increased heart rate and hormone production. This means more oxygen is being delivered to our muscles, even if we might not need it at the time.
Let’s pretend your smartphone’s a person, and the overnight charge you gave it is its daily nutrient intake. Now, you’re going to use your phone throughout the day and drain the battery a little but imagine if your phone just started to turn itself on even when you’re not using it. That battery is going to drain a little quicker.
It’s the same thing with your body. Not only that, stress can cause certain biological functions to be blocked—or, in other words, your brain tells your body to just stop doing certain things, one of which can be digestion. Which means we’re not properly absorbing all the nutrients we need to get through our day.
You can see where we’re going with this, but that can mean that your body isn’t getting enough iron to produce hemoglobin, which we need to create healthy red blood cells. And that could cause iron deficiency anemia.
Some studies have shown stress can cause low levels of Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, magnesium, folate, and others. This happens because stress causes us to decrease the amount of stomach acid in our system, which can lead to poor nutrient absorption.
Some of these nutrients are vital for iron absorption, which can also cause the number of red blood cells we have at any given time.
Stress and Diet
It can be tempting to reach for your favorite comfort food during stressful times, but maintaining a healthy diet can help in preventing any other health problems.
If we start to binge on chocolate and processed carbs to get us through tough times, it’s going to be tough to get enough iron to maintain our hemoglobin levels.
Use AnemoCheck During Stressful Times
We can’t offer you relaxation tips, but what we can tell you is this news is just another reason to prioritize your mental health. How you feel on the inside will reflect how you feel on the inside.
AnemoCheck is one way you can give yourself some peace of mind by checking your hemoglobin levels anytime, anywhere.
Click here to download the app via the iOS or Android app stores.