Iron is crucial for most of the body functions as it forms haemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles (RBC) of the blood. Haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to all the parts of the body including heart, brain and tissues. Iron is also important for maintaining the normal functions of the immune system.
During pregnancy, your body needs more blood, almost 50% more than usual to have a healthy pregnancy. Iron present in the blood is required for the growing baby and the placenta development. The iron deficiency in the blood causes anaemia, which may result in various medical conditions such as preterm delivery, baby’s weight loss etc. Thus, a pregnant woman needs more iron to prepare additional haemoglobin required by the body.
Iron Rich Foods
- Non vegetarian source beef and chicken liver, mussels, beef, chicken, cooked red meat, turkey, ham, egg yolk etc.
- Vegetarian source Lentils, spinach, soya beans, peas, turnip, green leafy vegetables, lima beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, whole grain breads and cereals, enriched rice, pasta, bran muffin, green pepper etc.
- Fruits Apricots, berries, dried fruits like raisins, prunes etc., grapefruit, grapes, plums, oranges, watermelon etc.
- Snacks raw coconut slices, raisins, dates, mixed nuts like walnut, pistachios, cashew nuts etc., roasted pumpkin seeds, boiled egg yolk salads, sesame seeds and jaggery, ground nuts and jaggery etc.
- Vitamin C Vitamin C can help the body absorb iron from diet, so add vitamin c supplements or food items to your diet for better absorption of iron. Gooseberry, gauva and citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamin C.
Foods to avoid
Calcium tends to inhibit the iron absorption, so avoid taking calcium rich food along with iron rich food. You can take milk or milk products after 2-3 hours interval, so it will not interfere with the iron absorption.