Nazhi Thee Baker Speaks

Clean Eating Decisions

If you or a loved one is living with sickle cell anemia, in what ways have you changed your lifestyle in order to cope with this disease? Changing your diet and focusing on a healthy living routine may assist you in managing symptoms and preventing attacks.

The National Lung and Blood Institute advises that A healthy diet for people living with sickle cell anemia includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. A healthy diet is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugar.

Because individuals with sickle cell can also experience bouts with dehydration, getting plenty of fluids and water is also vital in avoiding dehydration which could increase the sickling of red blood cells. Naturally rich in electrolytes, coconut water is also identical to human blood plasma and is often recommended for hydration in sickle cell patients. Coconut water is a favorite of the Sickle Cell Diva, a blogger documenting her life living with the sickle cell disease. When she begins to feel a slight sickle cell pain attack she drinks a few cups of coconut water which usually stops her crisis.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.