How Getting More Iron in Your Diet Can Help You Feel Energized
Since finding out that you are pregnant you may be feeling more tired than usual. Even though it’s normal to feel tired during pregnancy, if your iron levels are low, you can feel even more tired. Iron plays an important role in carrying oxygen to you and your baby. When you’re low in iron, you may also feel cold, have headaches and sometimes feel cranky.
If your iron levels are low, your health care provider may suggest that you eat more foods high in iron. She may also tell you to take an iron supplement.
Did you know there are two kinds of iron found in food?
Heme iron is found in animal flesh or meat, such as cooked chicken, fish, shellfish, beef, pork and lamb. It is easily absorbed by your body.
Non-heme iron is found in plant sources and eggs. It is not absorbed as easily by your body as heme iron. Good sources include pumpkin seeds, tofu, lentils, kidney beans, whole grain and enriched breads and pastas, fortified cereals like instant oatmeal, eggs and green leafy vegetables.
Try these 5 tips to help you get more iron for your body:
1. Include fish, poultry or lean meat in your meals.
2. Avoid coffee and tea with your meals. Enjoy your tea or coffee one to two hours before or after your meals instead.
3. Avoid taking calcium supplements or antacids that have calcium with your meals.
4. If you are taking a multivitamin that contains iron, take it on an empty stomach with a small glass of vitamin C-rich 100% juice. Take it separately from other supplements.
5. Add vitamin C-rich foods to non-heme iron foods (plant-based foods and eggs).
With the increase of iron in your day you should be feeling more energy within a few weeks.