IRON LEVELS SORTED!
Foods to include in your diet
The right breakfast cereal can deliver a good proportion of your daily pregnancy iron needs as they have extra iron added—Special K and Bran Flakes give nearly 15 per cent, and Grape-Nuts almost 50 per cent. Add sliced strawberries or kiwi fruit to help you absorb the iron more easily, and sprinkle on iron-packed extras such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds and raisins.
The type of iron you eat, and what you eat it with, affects how much your body absorbs. Heme iron, found in lean red meat and poultry, is absorbed most easily, particularly when you consume it at the same time as non-heme iron, which is found in plant sources such as beans and leafy green veg. If you’re a vegetarian, eating food with non-heme iron alongside foods containing vitamin C, such as tomatoes, helps you absorb more.
Maintaining good levels of iron is especially important if you’re expecting twins, have two pregnancies close together or are in your mid-thirties and beyond. Max your intake with iron-rich snacks, such as a square or two of plain, dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 per cent or more. You’ll be doing yourself and your bump good, and having a little indulgence. Win, win, win!
Research shows that using traditional cast iron cookware can add valuable traces of this allimportant mineral to your food. Iron uptake from the pans is greater with moist, acidic foods, such as tomatoes, and increases with the slow cooking of stews and casseroles.