Last Updated on Mar 16, 2017

Diet for Anemia in Pregnancy

A modified diet rich in folate, vitamin B12 and iron is essential for the rapid rise in hemoglobin level.

Folate is commonly present in-

  • Liver, kidney
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Yeast
  • Nuts
  • Fruits

Vitamin B12 is exclusively present in foods of animal origin-

  • Meat
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products Iron is absorbed much more readily from animal sources (heme iron) than from non-animal sources (non-heme iron).

One serving of red meat in a day will raise the hemoglobin levels very rapidly.

Liver is best avoided during pregnancy because it contains unsafe amounts of vitamin A, which can cause birth defects. One serving per week is safe.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron during pregnancy is 30 mgs. Here are some foods rich in iron.

Foods that provide 0.5-1.5mgs of iron-

  • Chicken, 3 ounces
  • Green peas, 1/2 cup
  • Tomato juice, 6 ounces
  • Broccoli, 1/2 cup
  • Brussels sprouts, 1/2 cup cooked
  • Whole wheat bread, 1 slice
  • Dried apricots, 5 halves
  • Raspberries, 1 cup
  • Strawberries, 1 cup

Foods that provide 1.6-3mgs of iron-

  • Sirloin steak, 3 ounces
  • Roast beef, 3 ounces
  • Lean hamburger, 3 ounces
  • Baked potato with skin
  • Kidney beans, 1/2 cup cooked
  • Lima beans, 1/2 cup cooked
  • Navy beans, 1/2 cup cooked
  • Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked
  • Raisins, 1/2 cup

Foods that provide 3-12mgs of iron-

  • Clams, 4 large or 9 small
  • Oysters, 6 medium
  • Spinach, 1/2 cup cooked
  • Fortified cereal, 1 cup

Additional sources of iron-

  • Lean beef, pork or lamb
  • Green vegetables, all kinds
  • Beetroot
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Soy bean flour
  • Enriched pastas
  • Unpolished rice
  • Unrefined sugars, such as molasses
  • Apples, pears, figs
  • Almonds
  • Black grapes, plums
  • Carrots, radish
  • Celery
  • Fenugreek seeds

Beetroot consumed in any form is an excellent source of iron. Beetroot juice and apple juice can be consumed together to make it palatable.

Dried potato peels can be fried or toasted to make a snack.

Eating ripe bananas mixed with honey twice daily are believed to increase the levels of hemoglobin.

Herbal sources of iron- Amaranth greens, Dandelion root

The body must receive a combination of at least five to seven of these edibles every single day, in order to boost the count.

It is preferable to have most of the listed components (except meat) raw.

Cooking may destroy iron content by as much as half.

Cooking with cast iron pots can add 50-80% more iron to the food.

Tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol inhibit the absorption of iron. So it is best to avoid them and instead have herbal tea, fresh fruit/vegetable juices or water.

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