Looks like I'm anemic - diet advice?

About two weeks ago I saw my doctor over some concerns I’ve had that I might be prediabetic, and today I got my blood test results in the mail from the lab. My glucose was 115, but stupid me wasn’t fasting when I took the test and I drank a can of cola a few hours earlier (only regular soda I’ve had in like six weeks to boot), so I’ll probably have to go back in for a fasting glucose test to make sure. My liver enzymes are still elevated, but they’re down from when I was a heavy drinker and my liver seems less enlarged than it used to be. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was that I have a high MCV and MCH, and according to Google, this most likely means I’m suffering from anemia.

Again, I’ll still have to see my doctor about my supposition, but it does explain a lot of symptoms I’ve been having lately - loss of appetite, tingling in my hands and feet, irritability, headaches, nausea and the like. I’m not experiencing any jaundice or anything that would imply poor liver function, so I’m thinking I need to adjust my diet. I haven’t been eating very well lately - I haven’t been cooking much since I lost my car back in April and I’ve been eating waaaaaaaay too much frozen foods and fast food, and I’m not getting nearly enough veggies in my diet.

Anyone out there who’s had anemia got any good/easy recipe advice?

Pending a diagnosis from your doctor, there’s no reason to go beyond a basic, healthy diet. You’ve said you don’t eat enough veggies - go eat them. They won’t run away or scream when you bite them. Not even a little bit, I promise.

Greens, dude, and more greens. High in iron. Wouldn’t hurt to get extra Vitamin C.

You can hide a lot of vegetables in spaghetti sauce. Now I realize it’s going to be harder to hide them if you’re the cook. Vegetables I have hidden in spaghetti sauce include carrots, spinach, zucchini, cucumber. There were onions and garlic in there too of course but I didn’t have to hide onions and garlic. (Nor did I.) I think I hid the spinach in the meatballs. I tried it with broccoli but broccoli doesn’t actually hide well (much like the onions and garlic, except not in a good way) so the broccoli had to be served another way (with cheese --macaroni & cheese & broccoli).

Unless you have a medical problem that’s causing anemia, occasionally eating a small piece of red meat is enough.

(The potential medical problems could be with absorbing iron, for example. If you’re eating iron but your body isn’t processing it, you can see how that would be difficult.)

Also, if you take thyroid medication, that can sort of fight against iron. Obviously you must not quit thyroid meds, but talk to your doctor if necessary.

I suspect a B12 deficiency might be a contributing factor. I’m not on any thyroid meds, but I do take hydrochlorothiazide for my blood pressure, which I’m reading can be a contributing factor, but that’s something I’ll have to ask my doctor about.

I had anemia some years ago, almost bad enough for me to need a blood transfusion, but it responded well to an iron-high diet. I found that white beans and lentils are high in iron, as well as soybeans. A bean or lentil soup with spinach can be very tasty especially if you add in some sausage or bacon.

Some breakfast cereals are surprisingly high in iron, not just Total or Special K (I forget how much those have), I think the highest I found was Frosted Mini-Wheats, 90% of the iron RDA per serving. The dollar store near me has a generic brand with the same nutritional content. The sugar content is higher than I’d like and unfortunately the unfrosted ones aren’t easy to find.

Here’s a good fact sheet, scroll 1/3 down for a chart of foods

Here’s a list of high iron cereals; number 1, Kellogg’s Complete Oat Bran Flakes, has 105% RDA of iron and 2-6 have 100%.

Frosted Mini-wheats, which I mentioned above, isn’t on the list for some reason, maybe because it doesn’t have much B12, but for iron alone it would be at #7

If you like raisins in your cereal, add in a handful to increase your iron and your number of fruit/veggie servings.

Elevated MCV and MCH don’t mean that one has anemia, they mean that one has larger than normal red cells (macrocytosis) that are full of hemoglobin. If one’s hemoglobin is within normal limits (about 14-18 g/dl), one doesn’t have anemia. Among the common causes of macrocytosis are vitamin B-12 deficiency, folate deficiency, liver disease, and alcoholism. If I were evaluating a former drinker with elevated liver enzymes and saw an increased MCV and MCH but no evidence of anemia, I would presume both were related to the drinking and liver disease.
Also, there are many causes of anemia besides iron, folate, and B-12 deficiencies. Inappropriate dietary treatment of anemia can cause problems. The treatment of anemia should be based on its cause.
It sounds like you need to discuss your symptoms and your lab results with your doctor.

Use a cast iron pot.