Red blood cells are important for the transport of oxygen-rich blood to body tissues and removal of carbon dioxide from the body. Red blood cells are red because they contain an iron-rich protein known as hemoglobin, which is bright red in color. Over time, red blood cells wear out and die. The bone marrow continually makes more red blood cells. Certain foods increase production of red blood cells.
Iron is a mineral needed by the body to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin helps carry and store oxygen in the body. Lack of iron in the diet leads to iron deficiency anemia. Sources of iron include red meat, organ meat such as kidney and livers, beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, dried prunes, dried raisins and egg yolks, according to MedlinePlus.
Folic Acid-Rich Foods:
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is a B-complex vitamin that helps the body make new healthy red blood cells. Patients with low levels of folic acid often develop anemia. Patients can increase red blood cells in the body by consuming foods rich in folic acid. Examples of foods with high amounts of folic acid include enriched breads and cereals, green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, dried beans, peas and nuts.
Vitamin B-12-Rich Foods:
Vitamin B-12 is a B-complex vitamin that is important for the DNA synthesis and production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Low levels of B-12 lead to abnormal cell division in the bone marrow that results in large immature red blood cells known as megaloblasts. Patients with megaloblasts suffer from megaloblastic anemia because the abnormal red blood cells cannot store or transport oxygen to tissues. Vitamin B-12 is naturally found in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods. Sources of vitamin B-12 include beef liver, fish, red meat, eggs, milk, dairy products, fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts.