Eat a vitamin-rich diet

Many types of anemia can't be prevented. But iron deficiency anemia and vitamin deficiency anemias can be avoided by having a diet that includes a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including:

  • Iron. Iron-rich foods include beef and other meats, beans, lentils, iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and dried fruit.
  • Folate. This nutrient, and its synthetic form folic acid, can be found in fruits and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables, green peas, kidney beans, peanuts, and enriched grain products, such as bread, cereal, pasta and rice.
  • Vitamin B-12. Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include meat, dairy products, and fortified cereal and soy products.
  • Vitamin C. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits and juices, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, melons and strawberries. These items help increase iron absorption.

Consider a multivitamin

If you're concerned about getting enough vitamins from the food you eat, ask your doctor whether a multivitamin may be right for you.

Consider genetic counseling

If you have a family history of an inherited anemia, such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia, talk to your doctor and possibly a genetic counselor about your risk and what risks you may pass on to your children.

Prevent malaria

Anemia can be a complication of malaria. If you plan on traveling to a place where malaria is common, talk with your doctor beforehand about taking preventive drugs. In areas where malaria is common, prevention involves reducing exposure to mosquitoes, for example, by using bed nets treated with insecticide.