The list of foods a pregnant woman should eat goes on. Not only will it provide you and your baby with nutrients, but your body will also adapt you to all the changes that occur during pregnancy.
Eating food for two does not mean that you will need twice what you need before pregnancy, just that you will need to increase your intake of calories and some minerals and vitamins, the health and nutrition advisory for what Al-Neeli, from the Wellness By Design Medical Center in a special file, gives the most important advice About iron-rich foods, and how to eat them.
The importance of iron
Your body does not produce iron naturally. Iron can only be obtained through your diet or through supplements. Herein lies the importance, as pregnancy increases your blood supply by up to 50%. This is where iron comes in. Where the body uses it to form red blood cells.
And when you don’t have enough iron in your body, you can develop anemia. It is the most common blood disease in pregnant women.
Anemia during pregnancy can put you at risk of many complications, including premature labor and low birth weight.
Types of iron
Iron is usually associated with animal protein, but with red meat, your morning sickness may increase, but iron can be obtained through plant foods.
There are two types of iron: from an animal source and another from a vegetable source
Animal source iron: You can get this type from eating meat, fish, and other sources of animal protein. As it gets absorbed quickly by your body.
Iron from a plant source This is found in grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and it takes a little longer for your body to transform into a substance it can use.
Pregnancy-friendly foods rich in animal source iron
Some sources may be better options during pregnancy than others.
You should eat one 3-ounce serving of lean sirloin, which contains about 1.5 milligrams (mg) of iron.
But before you put the steak on the grill, have the meat thermometer close at hand, and once it has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). It is not recommended to eat undercooked or “raw” meat during pregnancy due to the risk of bacterial contamination.
Chicken contains 1.5 mg of iron per 8 ounce serving. It is safe to eat chicken during pregnancy, but, just like beef, make sure it is cooked completely at 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.8 degrees Celsius) to avoid infection with dangerous bacteria, such as listeria.
Salmon is relatively rich in iron – 1.6 mg per pound of Atlantic salmon. Salmon is safe to consume during pregnancy as long as it is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 145 ° F (62.8 ° C).
In addition to being a source of heme iron, salmon is also full of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that may contribute to a healthy pregnancy.
Salmon is also low in mercury compared to some other types of fish, such as tuna and swordfish, which makes it safer to eat during pregnancy.
Try to get two or three servings of fish per week as a way to increase your iron and protein.
Pregnancy-friendly foods rich in plant-based iron
If you don’t eat meat or are bothered by its smell, which is a possibility, there are many plant-based sources full of iron that you can try. But keep in mind that plant-based iron is harder for your body to absorb and takes longer to metabolize. Talk to your doctor about whether he recommends adding an iron supplement. Among these foods:
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are full of fiber and protein, and a cup of prepared lentils gives you 6.6 milligrams of your daily source of iron. As for white beans, drained and cooked. It contains the same amount per cup, so you can combine them together into a delicious plate.
Spinach and kale
They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and iron. One cup of cooked cabbage contains 1 mg of iron, and spinach is better, as it contains 6.4 mg per cup.
You can add them to your salad, chop them inside an omelette, or stir some in a saucepan, to make a plate of vegetables.
This easy-to-prepare vegetable also contains a lot of beneficial nutrients during pregnancy.
This plant contains just over 1 mg of iron per cup. And a large amount of vitamin C, which helps iron absorption.
Broccoli is rich in fiber and full of nutrients. It will help you relieve constipation, try roasting it from the head with olive oil and sea salt, or boil it for a snack.
Broccoli can have a strong aroma when cooked, so use caution if you have morning sickness or an aversion to strong odors.
How to increase iron absorption
In addition to eating iron-rich foods, you can also help your body by adding foods that can help you absorb more iron, such as foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body break down and absorb iron from your diet.
Eat citrus fruits, tomatoes, red or yellow peppers, or a serving of broccoli or cauliflower with sources of iron, which will benefit you the most.
If you suffer from pregnancy-related heartburn, focus on plant-based sources of vitamin C rather than citrus fruits, which may worsen heartburn.
Foods that prevent iron absorption
Dairy products, in particular, are known to disrupt the body’s ability to absorb iron. This does not mean that you should avoid dairy products. But if your doctor recommends iron supplements, wait at least two hours after consuming cheese or dairy products and then take the supplement. You should also avoid tea, which contains tannin, which impedes iron absorption from plant sources.
Blood tests must always be done, to ensure the level of iron, after which it can be taken either intravenously for efficient absorption, or taken as food supplements “in the form of powder”, and it is recommended internationally, and if the powder is not available, then the pills can be taken, but after a good meal To avoid stomach problems.
An advice to every pregnant woman is to always return to her attending physician, in case she wants to make sure that the information is appropriate for her pregnancy or not.