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  • Get The Most From Your Iron
  • Author avatar
    Kristen Bocanegra
  • The Basics: Food & Nutrition
Get The Most From Your Iron

Iron is a vital part of keeping both mommy and baby healthy. It is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, delivering oxygen to you and your baby, developing your baby’s brain and nervous system, and helping with your body’s energy production.

Get The Most From Your Iron

While iron is available from a variety of whole foods, your body’s ability to use the iron you’re eating largely depends on its source. Animal-based sources of iron, known as heme iron, are more easily absorbed than plant-based sources of iron, or nonheme iron. Whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to maximize your body’s use of the foods you eat, pairing your nonheme (plant-based) iron foods with vitamin C will increase your iron absorption.

Here are some great iron and vitamin C pairings to boost your iron intake:

Excellent Nonheme Iron Sources

Vitamin C Pairing

Oatmeal (steal cut or rolled)

Strawberries, mango, pineapple
(Skip the dairy and opt for almond milk, as calcium can decrease your iron absorption.)

Spinach and Kale (dark leafy greens)

A citrus-based vinaigrette
Try: Mom FAST Vinaigrette

Hummus (chickpeas)
Try: Garbanzo & White Bean Hummus

Bell peppers and broccoli florets

Quinoa and Lentils

Tomatos and select herbs like cilantro, chives, thyme, basil and parsley
Try: Italian Quinoa Power Salad

Added Bonus:
Dark leafy greens, chickpeas, and oats are also great breastfeeding support foods.

Quick note:
Whether you’re eating a bowl of spinach or taking an iron supplement, avoid pairing iron-rich foods with calcium. As briefly noted above, calcium, unlike vitamin C, actually inhibits your body from fully absorbing the iron you ingest. 

  • Author avatar
    Kristen Bocanegra
  • The Basics: Food & Nutrition

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