During pregnancy woman should take nutritious diet which is full of protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals. Iron among them is said to be most important for woman as they lose more iron than man and can be deficient. Iron strengthens the blood. During pregnancy deficiency of iron can cause anemia which is risky for both mother and child. Recommended dietary allowance for iron for a pregnant women is 30 mg.
A pregnant woman has to eat food which is rich in iron. Iron is responsible for transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Meat, citrus juices, broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, egg yolks, iron fortified cereals, spinach, kidney beans, soya bean nuts, whole wheat bread are some rich sources of iron. During pregnancy consumption of tea, coffee, potato chips, beer, wine, chewing gum, junk foods, oily food must be avoided. She should not eat left over, frozen or deep frozen food. Due to nausea and vomiting it is not possible for her to take full meal at one time. She should take light meals after a gap of some interval.
So it is necessary that whatever food she is consuming must be rich in dietary supplements. Some women experience side effects like constipation after increasing the intake of iron in their diet. To prevent this she should increase the intake of fibre foods in their diet such as whole grain foods, cereals, fruits. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water or other liquid like juices and moderate exercises which are recommended by physician are also beneficial in avoiding constipation.
Some nutritious and high iron foods for expecting moms are:
Some of the meat like liver and lean red meats like beef, lamb, pork are said to be rich in iron. Sea foods like salmon, clams, oysters, tuna and shrimp are also rich sources of iron. Consumption of excess Tuna and lever content should be avoided.
Beans are rich in iron. They are available in many varieties such as kidney beans, lime beans, soy beans, navy beans, black beans, and lentils. 1 cup of boiled lentils provides 6.6 mg of iron. They will provide you more iron if you soak them.
Iron is found in green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, green peas, mint. It is also found in beet root, potatoes with skin, tomatoes, sprouts, parsley, and egg plant. Boiled vegetables, vegetable stock, vegetable soup can also be taken.
Bananas, watermelon, prunes, dates, raisins, pumpkin, and apricots are rich in iron. 1 cup of raisin provides 2.73 mg iron, 1 fresh banana provides 0.31 mg iron, 1 cup of canned pumpkin provides 3.41 mg of iron. They are also rich source of fibre which helps in preventing constipation.
5. Nuts and seeds
Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, sesame, and tahini are some seeds which have higher content of iron. 2 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds provides 2.5 mg of iron, 2 tablespoons of almonds provides 1.3 mg of iron, 2 tablespoons of cashew nuts provides 1.0 mg of iron, 2 tablespoons of tahini provides 1.2 mg of iron, 2 tablespoons of sesame provides 1.2 mg of iron.
6. Other foods
Other foods which are rich in iron are wheat flour, turmeric, whole grains, almonds, tofu, bagel, pastas, beards, rice, molasses, all purpose flour. 1 cup of wheat flour provides 5.8 mg of iron, 1 tablespoon of molasses provides 3.5 mg of iron, 1 tablespoons of hummus provides 0.34 mg of iron.
Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron in body. Guava, red bell pepper, orange juice, strawberries, papaya, tomato juice, cauliflower, mango, pineapple are some rich sources of Vitamin C.
Food for breakfast should include milk, cereals, fruit juice, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and whole wheat bread. Lunch includes cereals, chapattis, dal, rice, green vegetables cooked in olive oil, salad, and steamed broccoli. Snacks include fruit juice, fruits, nuts, fruit smoothie. Dinner includes chapattis, vegetables, soup, and salad.