The role of nutrition is very important in the life of someone living with sickle cell. People living with sickle cell disease have increased need for calories and micronutrients (for example, vitamins and minerals). A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes will provide a greater proportion of the essential nutrients and appropriate supplementation they need for the formation of blood cells.
Sickle cell, as you know, is an inherited disorder, characterised by lifelong anaemia and painful crisis. A good diet is of essence in the life of those with the disorder.
Sometimes we are so busy, we forget to eat, or we lose our appetite for food because of other things going on in our lives.
My suggestion is this, if you suffer from sickle cell, young or old, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to make sure that you eat well and regularly.
The thing about sickle cell is that sometimes, one can get very tired and it will be the good food that one had eaten that would help fight tiredness or sickness.
People with sickle cell need to eat foods rich in iron, calcium and vitamin D. If you live in Africa, the sun will help with the vitamin D and if you are able to get enough vitamin D in your system, it will help your bones and as you know, the pain is in the bones and joints.
Before I list the foods that will help us fight any form of crisis, mild or severe, I will like to remind us that if we do not take care of other things in our lives, they can increase the likelihood of a crisis.
Not drinking enough water and being dehydrated due to fasting can lead to crisis. If you don’t stick to your recommended medications or injections; you are exposing yourself to extreme cold or hot temperatures, you engage in stressful and strenuous activities, then you will fall ill regularly.
These are trigger factors for crisis in the life of someone with sickle cell. I have come to recognise them and if I find myself experiencing any one of these symptoms, I slow down and try to take extra good care of myself.
Are you up to date with your recommended vaccines? Are you taking your recommended malaria tablets, if you live on the African continent? Do you take folic acid daily? What about Vitamin C and penicillin tablets?
You could do all these and still succumb to a crisis. Never mind, that is the life of a sickle cell patient.
However, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet, meaning, eat a good amount of your vegetables and fruits daily, reduce salt intakes and consume less fatty food.
I have tried to compile a list of food that is good for us to eat and fight the disease while staying healthy and most importantly out of the hospital. The list is by no means exhaustive and I will publish more in the future. The main thing is, try and consider eating foods on the list below because these are high in iron and good for people with sickle cell.
Liver, turkey, pork, lamb, chicken and red lean meat egg yolk and canned sardines are good.
Fish, shrimps are beneficial. Beans, dates, raisins and many forms of cashew nuts are nutritious. You should eat more of whole wheat bread, corn, watercress, okra, yam, sweet potato, tomato with plenty of fruits alongside green vegetables.
Eat oranges, carrots, apples, cherries, grapes and tomatoes. Take a lot of pomegranate and dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurts).
With good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, I can assure you that having a crisis will be minimal as you drink plenty of water and eliminate stress, until next time, I wish you a happy health life without crises
Source: The Sun Newspaper