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A balanced diet for people with sickle cell disease

 

Balanced Diet for SCD Patients

 

Your parents, caregivers or teachers probably told you since your adolescents that eating a balanced diet is good for your health. However, when it comes to sickle cell disease, or sickle cell anaemia, eating a balanced diet regularly is even more important because your body needs sufficient nutrients to function healthily.

Based on what experts say, if you are living with SCD, you have a higher than average need for both micronutrients and calories. A balanced diet is rich in multiple healthy foods from all main food groups and oils. It nourishes the body with vitamins, energy, fibre, minerals and other vital nutrients.

Providing a Balanced Diet for People with Sickle Cell Disease

Experts from the Department of Food and Nutrition Services in the Boston Medical Center, USA, consider that a balanced diet includes 5 major food groups and oils. So, failing to include all these food groups renders an SCD patient’s diet imbalanced or deficient. Check out how people with SCD can enjoy a healthy, balanced diet by including different foods from these major groups of food:

 

Food Groups and the Benefits They Give Your Body

1.    Grains

Grains come in multiple types, for example, whole grain bread, pasta, rice, crackers and cereals, etc. Nutritionists recommend that whole grains should make half of the grains every SCD patient consumes. Whole grains provide several health benefits that include lowering the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. The cholesterol-reducing fibre in grains helps to keep your bowels moving. The folate in grains also helps your body to make new red blood cells. B vitamins, magnesium and selenium that help to strengthen the immune system are also found in grains. Now you know why grains are an inevitable addition to any balanced diet.

2.    Vegetables

When it comes to vitamins and minerals like fibre, folate, potassium, etc, vegetables, especially dark green leafy ones like spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomato are loaded.  Add them to your diet to heal wounds, maintain healthy blood pressure and protect yourself from infections of the eye, skin, etc.

3.    Fruits

There are varieties of fruits that provide vitamins, minerals and fibre, the same as vegetables. They include apples, bananas, oranges, melon, grapes, berries, peach, kiwi, plums, etc.

4.    Milk

Adding milk to your diet adds calcium and vitamin D to your body, making your bones stronger and healthier. Milk is full of valuable nutrients such as protein and potassium which can help to boost heart health.

5.    Meats and Beans

Include foods like lean chicken, beef, pork, fish and seeds, nuts, peas and beans. They are rich in protein, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein and zinc energies and grows the body. Iron helps to carry oxygen in the blood. Omega 3 fatty acids in some fish, nuts and seeds help to lower inflammation, heart disease and the risk of other chronic diseases.

6.    Oils

As a SCD patient, your body also needs sufficient liquid vegetable oils like olive, corn oil, canola, and nuts. Their omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E content are great antioxidants for disease prevention.

Though sickle cell disease has various treatments, eating a balanced diet is a proven way to improve a patient’s health.

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