As the baby grows, the nutritional demands of the baby increase, calling for more maternal blood production anywhere from 30% to 50% more - more iron is needed to create more red blood cells. Most pregnant women are advised to take iron supplements as a precaution. Anemic women must increase their iron even more during pregnancy.
The effects of low iron:
Natural ways of getting iron are more powerful than supplements because the body can more easily absorb the iron coming naturally. Here are four ways to ensure you get the most iron from your food.
1. Cook with cast iron pans
Foods absorb iron from the pan and you ingest it - the same iron as that in our bodies. The more acidic the food, the more iron increases. So add lemon or tomatoes to what you are cooking to increase iron amounts. A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that 100 grams of spaghetti sauce went from an iron level of 0.6mg to 5.7mg after being cooked in a cast iron pot.
2. Eat vegetables with red meat
Vitamin C boosts the body’s absorption of iron in red meat. Vitamin C is found in dark leafy greens, cabbage, citrus, carrots, berries, bell peppers, melons, pineapple, and onions.
3. Avoid iron cancelling foods
Tannins found in tea, coffee, and cocoa interfere with iron absorption. Calcium found in calcium supplements and dairy products inhibit iron absorption. Also phytates in beans and whole grains decrease iron absorption.
4. Eat more
Dark chicken meat, red meat, liver (pate counts), canned tuna in water (no BPA in the can).
Julia Erickson, the founder of Aphrodite Project, is a wellness authority who uses food, meditation, and movement to create extraordinary health and wellness. Julia's practice is focused on helping women thrive and heal from chronic disease. She is also mother of seven.