Iron Rich Foods for Pregnancy: What to Eat

iron rich foods for pregnancy

Eating healthy this week. Iron-rich foods for pregnancy

Benefits of iron in pregnancy:

As you already know by now, having enough iron in your body is very important during pregnancy. Here are some reasons why :

  • Iron is an important component in myoglobin, which is a protein that helps with the supply of oxygen to your muscles, collagen which is another protein that helps with cartilage, bone and other connective tissues.
  • Iron is also important for a healthy and hassle free immune system
  • Iron is very essential for making of haemoglobin which is the protein in red blood cells or RBC, that carries oxygen, to other cells.

Effects of low iron during pregnancy

A lot of women are usually iron deficient before pregnancy thus increasing their chances of being anaemic during pregnancy. Anaemia is quite high in Indian women and makes one feel weak and tired.

You may be prescribed iron supplements by your gynaecologist if he/she sees the need, but it is important to have a diet which is rich in Iron.

There are two types of Iron:

  • Non-heme iron which is the form of iron in plant sources (primarily) and in animal sources.
  • Heme iron which is found only in animal sources. This form of iron easier to be absorbed by the body

If you have a vegetarian diet, increase the amounts of iron-rich food in your diet to ensure you have the required amount of iron supply. This is because of the non-heme iron found in plant sources are absorbed in smaller quantities (they are more difficult to absorb).

Some iron-rich food you could include in your diet are:

Iron rich foods for pregnancy:

Vegetarian Sources of iron in pregnancy

  • Green leafy vegetables (amaranth, pudina, shalgam ka sag, etc.)
  • Vegetables (sweet potato, beetroot, broccoli, etc.)
  • Legumes and pulses (soya beans, kidney beans, etc.)
  • Dried fruits, nuts and seeds
  • Coconut water

Non Vegetarian Sources of iron in pregnancy

  • Red meat (mutton, beef, pork, etc.)
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Seafood

In order to facilitate the absorption of the iron from the following food into the body it would help to have a glass of Orange, amla or lemon juice. These are Vitamin C rich, which helps the body absorb iron.

Take care that after a meal of iron-rich food that at least for an hour you avoid consuming – dairy products, tea or coffee. Calcium in the dairy products and tannin in the tea and coffee are known to reduce absorption of iron in the body.