Indian Recipes for Thalassemia, Thalassemia Indian Diet
Thalassemia is an inherited genetic disorder of the blood in which the bone marrow makes less haemoglobin which is a part of red blood cells (RBC) of the body.
These low levels of hemoglobin production can make you anaemic and symptoms of paleness, fatigue, tiredness along with weakness sets in. The two main types of thalassemia are ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’. Each of these are further have three types – ‘minor’, ‘moderate’ or ‘major’.
If you are a thalassemia minor, usually no treatment is required. This isn’t life threatening. But for those who are moderate or major thalassemia patients, they need medical assistance and in severe cases blood transfusion throughout their life. Repeated blood transfusions may lead to high dosage of iron in your body, which can damage other body organs. This is life threatening and needs continuous monitoring and treatment.
Dietary Tips and Indian Recipes for Thalassemia
For thalassemia minor, there are not many diet changes to be followed. However moderate thalassemia with non-transfused patients are usually prescribed folate supplementation along with a moderately low-iron diet.
And for thalassemia patients on blood transfusion therapy and chelation therapy (to bind excess iron in the body) are advised to follow a strict low iron diet. This is because blood transfusion often leads to an overdose of iron. Here are a few tips to follow for a low iron diet:
1. Avoid addition of too many green leafy veggies to your diet. Though they are packed with antioxidants, they have high iron content as well. To name a few of them, they are spinach, cauliflower greens, kale etc.
Have a variety of colours in your plate instead. Red-orange fruits and veggies like carrot and tomato, purple by way of brinjal and black grapes etc. Baingan Bharta with Curds is a wise indulgence.
Baingan Bharta with Curds, Roasted Eggplant with Curds
2. Another healthy option is Carrot Onion Soup. Mildly flavoured with mixed herbs and pepper powder, it is sure to please your palate.
Carrot Onion Soup
3. They are often advised to have a Black Tea after meals to reduce the iron absorption from meals.
Black Tea, Basic Black Tea
4. Also remember to add enough calcium to your diet as the bones tend to weaken with the progression this disease. Have plenty of dairy products like milk, curd and paneer. Moreover, calcium also hinders iron absorption, so that is to your benefit. If you weight gain issue, prefer low fat milk and its products. A simple Tomato Raita in your daily diet can do wonders for your body. Avoid the addition of coriander in this recipe. Calcium supplementation is recommended if intake is inadequate.
5. Do not include much of iron rich grains like bajra and nachni. Instead opt for rice flour in different forms like Rice Panki and Akki Roti minus the coriander.
6. Banana are a good source of folic acid. They will help build RBC. Include them in the form of Banana Raita if you don’t enjoy them plain.
7. Include natural herbs like tulsi, ginger etc. in your diet. These will help boost your immunity. A small glass of Tulsi Water will help to reduce stress and anxiety.
8. Vitamin D is a must to enhance bone strength. All you have to do is have sun bath for at least 10 to 20 minutes in the morning.
9. Stay well hydrated.
Apart from water, you can include a glass of Buttermilk in your daily diet. Known as ‘God’s nectar’, it is safe for thalassemia.
How To Make Chaas , Indian Buttermilk Recipe
10. Focus on vitamin E to reduce inflammation and ward off free radicals. Have moderate amounts of walnuts, almonds and olive oil.
11. Restrict the intake of pulses like chana, matki, moong as they are good sources of iron.
Talk to your dietitian and doctor for permissible limit.
A Few Don’ts for Thalassemia
Do not cook in iron pots.
Avoid iron fortified ready to eat cereals.
Avoid a vitamin C fruit juice after blood transfusion.
Strictly no cigarette smoking.
Avoid junk foods.
15 Foods to Avoid in Thalassemia Major
Non veg foods like meat, beef and pork
Here are a few recipes to help you sail safely through this ailment.