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I have cold agglutinin disease (CAD), and while it’s not caused by iron deficiency, there is still a lot of evidence calling for dietary changes. Interestingly, a topic my doctor and I have never discussed was diet.

CAD is a form of anemia that prematurely destroys red blood cells. This causes my body to be in a constant state of cellular destruction. These chronic actions overwork my organs. I have no control over what is happening; the only control I have is to feed my body the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs to help foster new red blood cells and lessen inflammation caused by CAD.

I was reading an informative article about auto-antibodies and how they are essential to our bodies. When they become overreactive, such is the case with CAD, they can also become involved in the development of inflammation. As we know, inflammation is a major underlying factor in many autoimmune diseases, including CAD.

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A few months back, I discussed this and how I started an anti-inflammatory diet. Since I can’t control my CAD, I can certainly try and control the inflammation that it may produce. I began introducing many different fruits and vegetables into my diet. I have a fruit smoothie every day loaded with berries, cherry tomatoes, Greek yogurt, and milk, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. When I feel like a snack, I have raisins, which are great for anemia.

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Lunch is always the same if I am working from home—a spinach omelet with rye toast. Spinach is a great source of vitamins and minerals to help support my immune system. Dinner varies but almost always meets my anti-inflammatory requirements. Somewhere between dinner and bedtime, I have cherries every night. They are great for your blood.

So, you are probably wondering why I’m sharing this. I am sharing this so no one makes the same mistake I made. Yes, fruits and vegetables are necessary for good health, and they do make you feel better. It may even lessen inflammation, but no one tells you that you can have too much of a good thing.

In the past 4 more months or so that I have been following this diet, I am gaining weight. I don’t see how this could be possible, but it is. I thought it had more to do with less activity than in past, but I don’t think so after what I discovered.

My children are into good health practices and even use apps to monitor not only their exercise activities but their caloric intake. I was telling them how it doesn’t seem possible that I should be gaining weight. They showed me their app and explained how it worked. I decided I should download this and see what I am doing wrong, if anything.

I used it and on day one I figured out what I have been doing wrong all along. I am consuming an insane amount of sugar and carbohydrates. I didn’t realize the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables.

I also discovered that even though I eat eggs at lunch and chicken or some other meat at dinner, I wasn’t getting enough protein or iron. I also lacked many other vitamins, while others were way over the norm. I do take a multivitamin and folate daily. However, I had many pharmacists tell me when I worked in hospitals to not bother with vitamins, since our bodies do not absorb enough of them. They always said to get your vitamins and minerals from food.

I can attest to the fact that it is a hard feat. The folic acid I won’t give up, that I absolutely need. Now that I have an app to help me know where I stand as the day goes on, I know what I am missing and can add it in and conversely stop overdoing those that are high.

I highly recommend that if you are anemic like I am, due to CAD or iron deficiencies, get an app that shows not just caloric intake but vitamin and mineral trending, as well. The most important thing we can do is be proactive; consuming the right foods can help with inflammation and strengthen our immune systems.