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Melinda Johnson, RD

Foods With Iron?

What can I eat to help me get enough iron during pregnancy?

Iron is a tricky one. Regardless of what you eat, it’s difficult to get enough iron (27 milligrams per day) from food alone, so your OB will likely recommend you take an iron supplement or prenatal vitamin with iron. If you’re unsure of what to take, ask your doctor.

As far as food is concerned, you’ll find iron in lean red meat, but it’s also in vegetarian-friendly foods, so don’t worry if you’re not a steak-eater. Just be sure to also eat oranges, tomatoes, or red bell peppers, since vitamin C helps boost iron absorption.

Meat. Your body easily absorbs iron from animal sources. And it’s not just beef. Turkey and chicken (without the skin) are also good sources.

Tofu. One-half cup of tofu has 3.5 milligrams per serving.

Lentils and other legumes, such as chickpeas, green peas, and kidney or lima beans, are good choices. One cup of lentils contains 37 percent of your daily iron. They’re also a great pick for non-animal protein, fiber and folate.

Spinach. Cooked spinach, along with collard greens, kale and turnip greens are good plant sources of both folate and iron. They also go great with vitamin-C-rich foods. Sauté spinach with red bell pepper slices or toss mandarin oranges on a spinach salad.

Fortified breakfast cereals. These have added iron and are usually also fortified with folic acid. Add strawberries to get your C.

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