Pumpin’ (poppin’) iron

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

27 weeks, 3 days pregnant
What was that? I left out a huge part of my doctor’s appointment yesterday, just so I could make it a separate, single-focused post? Oh yeah, that was me.
The big bombshell? I have … low iron.
Not that big of a deal, right? That’s what I thought! But the nurse — who was not Friendly Nurse, unfortunately — acted like I had hours to live, or something.
Let me back up: After I had my glucose test a few weeks ago, I had gotten bloodwork done. When I sat down yesterday, the nurse said the results from the test were fine (as I kind of figured, seeing as I’m the queen of low blood sugar).
But then she looked at me seriously and said my “hemoglobin” was very low. I panicked for a second, thinking, “What the hell is hemoglobin???” and then she explained that it was my iron. I had low iron.
BFD, right? My mom has low iron. Darling Husband has low iron. No biggie.
And I noticed there was a Post-it and a highlighted note on my folder, saying a big fat “99.” Not-so-nice Nurse went on to explain that normal levels for women were between 120 and 160, and I was … yup, 99. According to my last round of bloodwork, my level was 125 at that point. Oops.
Then the nurse — who I was really started to dislike by this point — took a pamphlet off the wall and read it to me. Like I was an idiot. I felt like saying, “Um, now that I know I have low iron, I’ll work on it. Promise.”
So here is the outcome out my low-iron-ness:
  1. I will take one slow-release iron pill every day (with orange juice, which improves iron absorption)
  2. I will increase my fibre intake (since taking iron supplements can cause the C-word)
  3. I will work on eating more iron-rich foods
Here’s the CliffsNotes version of what the nurse told me:
Eating these foods helps to increase your iron absorption (i.e. eat this stuff with the iron-rich stuff):
  • Oranges
  • Orange juice
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Green & red peppers
Iron-rich grains:
  • Brown rice, 1 cup cooked (0.8 mg)
  • Whole wheat bread, 1 slice (0.9 mg)
  • English Muffin, 1 plain (1.4 mg)
  • Cream of Wheat, 1 cup (10.0 mg)
  • Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup (6.3 mg)
Iron-rich legumes, seeds, and soy:

  • Sunflower seeds, 1 ounce (1.4 mg)
  • Soy milk, 1 cup (1.4 mg)
  • Kidney beans, ½ cup canned (1.6 mg)
  • Raw Spinach, 1 cup 1 (mg**)
  • Cooked Spinach, 1 cup (3.5 mg **)

Iron-rich vegetables:

  • Broccoli, ½ cup, boiled (0.7 mg)
  • Green beans, ½ cup, boiled (0.8 mg)
  • Potato, fresh baked, cooked w/skin on (4.0 mg)
  • Vegetables, green leafy, ½ cup (2.0 mg)

Other iron-rich foods:

  • Blackstrap Molasses, one tablespoon (3.0 mg)
  • Dates or Prunes, ½ cup (2.4 mg)
  • Beef, Pork, Lamb, three ounces (2.3 to 3.0 mg)
  • Liver (beef, chicken), three ounces (8.0 to 25.0 mg*)
  • Dark meat Turkey ¾ cup (2.6 mg)
  • Pizza, cheese or pepperoni, ½ of 10 inch pie (4.5 to 5.5 mg)

So what do you think?

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