Hematocrit refers to the percentage of the blood volume occupied by red blood cells. When blood plasma decreases, the hematocrit level in the body rises. When the blood plasma increases, the hematocrit levels decreases.
A low hematocrit count in the body is indicative of anemia or hemorrhage. There are many reasons behind anemia; the most common type is iron-deficiency anemia.
How to Increase Hematocrit
Hematocrit levels are an important indication of the body’s supply of oxygen. The more red blood cells present in the body, the more oxygen and nutrients can be carried to various vital organs for proper functioning. A decrease in hematocrit indicates less delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s vital organs.
- Blood transfusions. Hematocrit levels can increase when red blood cells increase. Blood transfusions can replace any blood loss in the body and it can raise the body’s red blood cell count, elevating hematocrit levels.
- Intravenous fluid therapy.
- Iron supplementation. Low hematocrit levels can also be indicative of anemia. Supplementing the body with iron can help increase the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and supply the body with oxygen.
- Address the cause of bleeding. Any bleeding from the body, external or internal, has to be treated or addressed to avoid further decrease in the hematocrit levels.
Foods to Increase Hematocrit
Hematocrit levels can be increased through natural means such as dietary changes or intake of certain foods.
- Meat, particularly red meat and liver are good sources of iron. Iron from this food source is far better absorbed than other food sources of iron.
- Dark green and leafy vegetables such as chard, kale, and spinach and good sources of non-heme iron.
- Whole cereal grains such as whole wheat bread and bran.
- Fish and poultry
- Beans, raisins, and prunes.
- Foods rich in vitamin C such as broccoli, citrus fruits and tomatoes.
It should also be taken note of that the combination of foods also affects whether hematocrit levels will increase or not such as in the case of iron-deficiency anemia. Foods high in iron is best absorbed when combined with fortified iron or foods high in vitamin C.
Ways to Increase Hematocrit Levels
Living a healthy lifestyle can also affect hematocrit levels. Some ways that can naturally increase hematocrit levels include:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Do not be overly concerned about lowered hematocrit levels. Normal hematocrit levels can vary depending on several factors such as gender and even geographical location. Eating a healthy and balanced diet with foods high in iron can increase the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and meet body demands.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps the body to produce red blood cells because the body’s need for oxygen and nutrients increases during exercise.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements. This keeps the body in good general health and aids in the absorption of iron in the body.