During pregnancy and when there is excessive blood loss, such as heavy menstruation, a woman’s body requires more iron. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for pregnancy and for women under 51 years of age is 15 milligrams per day. Most prenatal vitamins contain more than this amount. Anemia is present when there is a reduced amount of red blood cells circulating in the blood, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried in the blood. Anemic women may require more than the normal amount of iron, so that the body can make more blood cells and improve oxygen levels. Iron also promotes the immune system and helps to build protein in the body. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, headache, weakness, and irritability. There are other types of anemia that are not caused by lack of iron alone. Your doctor will take lab tests to determine what type you may have.
Iron is-best absorbed when it comes from animal sources but plants also contain iron. Organ meats, such as liver and kidneys, are high in iron but are also high in cholesterol and some nutrition experts believe that they are also high in toxins. Therefore, they may not be the best choice. Eating a vitamin C rich food along with iron rich foods helps to increase absorption. Some foods high in vitaminC are tomatoes and tomato juice, oranges and orange juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, green andred pepper, and broccoli. For example, drinking orange juice after eating your fortified breakfast cereal will increase total absorption. Tomato sauce with ground beef will have the same effect. Combining rice, beans, and tomatoes will boost iron absorption also. Do not drink coffee or tea with your meals as both the regular and decaffeinated can reduce absorption.
|Beef, cooked (3 oz.)||3 mg|
|Shrimp, cooked (3 oz.)||3 mg|
|Poultry, cooked (3 oz.)||1 mg|
|Pork, cooked (3 oz.)||1 mg|
|Fish, cooked (3 oz.)||1 mg|
|Fortified breakfast cereal (1/2 cup)||2-18 mg (check the nutritional label)|
|Apricots, dried (1/2 cup)||3.6 mg|
|Molasses, blackstrap (1 tablespoon)||3.5 mg|
|Spinach, cooked (112 cup)||3.2 mg|
|Potato, baked in skin (1 medium)||2.8 mg|
|Prune juice (114 cup) Drledbeans, cooked (1/2 cup)||2.6 mg|
|Nuts and seeds (1 oz)||2.6 mg|
|Enriched Rice, cooked (112 cup)||1.5-2 mg|
|Raisins, seedless (1/3 cup)||1.2 mg|
|Strawberries (3/4 cup)||1.1 mg|
|Tomato juice (112 cup)||1.1 mg|
|Whole wheat bread (1 slice)||1.1 mg|
The leading cause of poisoning for children is ingestion of iron supplements. Store your vitamins out of children’s reach and request childproof caps at the pharmacy.