Iron Rich Foods for Pregnancy

| September 23, 2014

Iron Rich Foods

Iron Rich Foods

It is important to eat foods high in iron during your pregnancy to ensure your baby receives adequate hemoglobin from your stores. Low iron levels are detrimental to your health and to the health and development of your baby. As your baby grows, you will require additional iron through supplementation (see my article on Anemia During Pregnancy for more details). During pregnancy, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 9 mg higher than non-pregnant women. That means, when you read requirements and RDA levels, if it is an article or information addressing the general public you’ll require more.

Here are the RDA’s for 19 to 50 year olds:

  • Men – 8 mg
  • Women – 18 mg
  • Pregnant Women – 27 mg
  • Lactating Women – 9 mg


Heme vs. Non Heme Foods

Foods High in Iron

There are two main forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme.

  1. Plant foods with iron contain nonheme iron.
  2. Meat, poultry and seafood contain both heme and nonheme iron.

You need both heme and nonheme. Plant sources are essential for bioavailable nonheme iron.

Iron fortified foods like cereal, bread and pasta do not contain the best bioavailable form of iron. They are often fortified with low-cost elemental iron powders, which are not recommended by the World Health Organization.


High Iron Foods

Goji Berry High Iron FoodSome of the best foods rich in iron (nonheme) include hemp seeds, quinoa, goji berries, chlorella and pumpkin seeds. Other food high in iron includes black strap molasses, peas, beets, parsley, lentils, chickpeas, leafy greens, broccoli, and nuts in general.

Spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli, peas, brussels sprouts, bok choy and tomatoes contribute both iron and vitamin C to your diet.


Tips to get the most iron out of your food:

  • tomatoesEat iron-rich foods along with foods that contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron.
  • Tea and coffee contains compounds called polyphenols, which can bind with iron making it harder for our bodies to absorb it.
  • Calcium also hinders the absorption of iron; avoid high-calcium foods for a half hour before or after eating iron-rich foods.
  • Gluten intolerance and celiac’s disease can also prevent the absorption of iron and can contribute to iron deficiency.
  • Parasites are another source of iron deficiency. If you suspect parasites, get tested.





Category: Health & Wellness

Tara Bianca

About the Author ()

Tara Bianca is a spiritual and transformational coach, facilitator and author whose inspirational mentorship empowers everyday people to transform their lives to access joy, aliveness, clarity, focus and direction.

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