Why Indian Women Suffer from Anaemia


Iron Deficiency in Indian Mothers: Reasons

Anaemia is one of the biggest health concerns among the Indian women. It can be divided into four categories namely non-anaemia, mild anaemia, moderate anaemia and severe anaemia. Depending upon the lifestyle, urban or suburb-oriented, there are many factors that trigger this health issue including diet, sanitation, malnutrition etc.

Anaemia in Indian Women: Stats

In line with a report published by WHO in 2011, around 48% of Indian women falling in the age group of 15-49 years have been diagnosed as anemic. And, the number shown after a survey conducted by National Family Health survey was 55% of the whole population. It’s almost half of the national female population which is suffering from iron deficiency.

Why are So Many Indian Women Anaemic?

When the concentration of haemoglobin is lesser than 120g/L, a person is diagnosed as anaemic. In rural areas, poor diet and poor sanitation play a vital role in encouraging anaemia. Rural Indian women can’t always afford high-quality iron-rich foods. Women, who are in their reproductive age as well as pregnant women are at the highest risk. Indian rural women hardly stick to healthy hygiene practices and maintain healthy sanitation. Also, during menstruation, the loss of blood causes iron deficiency in the body and rural women often fail to fix this deficiency with proper iron-rich diet.
Some studies prove than iron present in non-vegetarian diet is absorbed by the body in a better way in comparison to that in a vegetarian diet. And, rural Indian women can’t avail eggs, fish and meat often and hence are prone to iron deficiency.
In India, National Nutritional Anaemia Prophylaxis Programme is there to spread awareness for anaemia among the Indian women and under this programme, iron tablets are provided to rural women to fight the iron deficiency. But, according to the studies, a huge percentage of rural Indian women take this benefit for granted and don’t consume the tablets.

Anaemia in Urban Women

Urban women can easily afford iron-rich foods to combat the iron deficiency but surprisingly a big number of urban Indian women also suffer from anaemia. This problem is majorly seen in the teenagers and young women who skip breakfast and lunch and are always ready for junks foods and refined foods. Pregnant women also suffer from iron deficiency in urban areas. Eating iron-rich foods may not be enough. The other eatables or drinks you consume throughout the day also matter. Tea, coffee or tobacco makes it difficult to absorb the iron present in the food while foods rich in Vitamin C make it easier.
India has basically majority of population only vegetarians or eggetarians and only vegetable

Iron Rich Foods from Treatment

Non-Veg Foods Rich in Iron

Red Meat (Lamb/Mutton)

red meat chops
Red meat can be considered as the powerhouse of Iron. The 100gm of mutton has around 1.9 mg of Iron. In a 100g serving of mutton Liver, you can get around 7.4 mg of Iron. Young girls and pregnant women can try mutton/lamb recipes and fulfil their everyday Iron requirement. For expectant women, it is important to consult the doctor before including mutton in the diet as its difficult to digest also. Liver of mutton is highly recommended for kids and pregnant women.

Chicken (Brain, heart, Kidney and Liver)

lemon herbs chicken breasts
Chicken is easily available and cost-effective as well. It’s a great source of Iron. The parts like brain, liver, kidney and heart of the chicken are rich in Iron and protein.




Oysters are also a good source of Iron. But, you can only find them in urban areas, especially in the metro cities in India. Nowadays, many ecommerce platforms offers seafood and meat and hence urban women can buy these Iron-rich foods from there.
Read : Safe to eat Fish in India for Pregnant Women
Not many Indians are used to eat Oysters, so lets the vegetarian options
Vegans, the wait is over!
There are many vegetarian foods as well which are highly rich in Iron and easily available in the market.

Vegetables Rich in Iron


Rich with Hemoglobin. They are most recommended for fighting with Anemia. Beetroot increases the red blood cell count. They are high in folic acid also in iron, potassium and fiber.


Spinach is not just a great source of iron but it contains many essential elements like Vitamin C that are required for a healthy body. Every 100g of spinach contains around 3.6 mg of Iron.


Broccoli is a beautiful, tempting and very healthy vegetable. Every 150-160g of Broccoli offers around 1mg of Iron.

Kidney Beans

kidney beans
Beans are known for being protein-rich food. It is also rich in Iron. A cup of kidney beans contains around 5.6 mg of Iron.


Next on this list is Lentils. They are rich in iron, Vitamin A and fiber – a complete food for women to avoid anaemia!


A 100gms of chickpeas can provide around 6.2 mg of Iron. Chickpeas are also helpful in controlling the blood pressure.
So, so far we have seen that Anaemia is not just a problem to worry about in rural areas of Indian but a significant percentage of urban women also suffer from this disease. All you need to do is make a change in your diet and lifestyle to fix the Iron deficiency in the body. The above foods can be used for a range of yummy and healthy recipes and keep Anaemia at the bay.


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.

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  1. Pingback: How to treat Anaemia during Pregnancy or Breastfeeding | GoMama 24/7

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