Iron rich food for vegetarian during pregnancy

Study shows that during pregnancy our body produces 40% extra blood. This means we need to take extra iron, either you get it through supplement or from iron-rich food. Iron rich food for vegetarian during pregnancy is very important.

Iron is the main element in the formation of blood. The daily iron requirement in women who are older than 19 years requires 17 – 18 milligram/day. During pregnancy, you will need at least 27 -30 milligram/day

In food iron is present in two forms: heme iron and nonheme iron. Heme iron can be found in animal-based food products such as meat, fish, and poultry (they also contain nonheme iron ). On the other hand nonheme iron can be found in vegetables, grains, fortified foods, and supplements.

So for vegetarians, we have to care about our iron intake because the nonheme iron absorption rate is very low. Therefore it is essential to understand some of the factors which enhance and impairs our absorption of nonheme iron.

The important thing is, your body will not absorb 100% iron from what you have consumed.

Iron absorption will affect by certain food like,

  • Food which contains phytate and fiber (like whole grain, legumes, cereals, and soy product)
  • Calcium-rich food (like dairy product)
  • Food which contain polyphenols and tannins (like coffee, wine, tea)
  • Food which contains oxalates (spinach, beetroots, chocolate, beer, etc..)
  • Low stomach acid (antacids)

The food which helps in absorption of iron,

  • Food rich in vitamin C (like citrus fruits, dark green vegetable, bell pepper, melons, etc.)
  • Food with vitamin A and Beta-Carotene (like carrots, sweet potato, squash, etc..)
  • Meat, fish, and poultry (for nonvegetarians)

Here are some iron-rich food for vegetarian during pregnancy

  • Green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, etc..
  • Nuts especially cashew
  • Dried fruits such as apricots
  • Seeds like sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Legumes ( lentils, dried peas, and beans)
  • Whole grain 

Here, you might think there are certain food which are great source for iron but they also impairs the iron absorption, like whole grain, legumes. In that case what we can do is, we should consume that food in such way or in combination with the food which improves the iron absorption.


  • Legumes:- legumes are a very good source of iron but it contains Phytate which is the substance who impairs the absorption. So be sure you consume this item with food that enhances the absorption.

                              if you are preparing a meal from legumes than be sure to add tomato or tomato sauce (vitamin C from tomato helps you absorb iron from legumes).        

  • Spinach:- spinach is a very good source of iron (nonheme) but it contains oxalic acid which impairs the iron absorption.

                    so if you are preparing a meal out it. Let’s say, you are preparing salad than dress your green with homemade orange-juice based dressing to enhance the nonheme iron absorption.

  • Tea and coffee lovers:- if you are tea or coffee lover then make sure to leave a couple of hour space between nonheme iron meal and coffee or tea.
  • Antacids:- frequently antacid can affects the iron absorption. So, do not overdo on Tums( type of antacids)!

Thank you,

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my other pregnancy article

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