I'm new to the group. I've been a vegetarian the past 20 years. I'm now 35. I've never had a problem with nutritional deficiencies. But I'm 31 week of pregnancy with my first child, and at the last midwife visit my blood results revealed a low iron level. I am not anemic (and never have been)... but the midwife believes I'm at risk of becoming so (because pregnant women need to increase their iron levels by 50%). She recommends that I take iron supplements. I'd rather increase the iron in my diet. I read up on this and found out that there are two types of iron -- heme and nonheme -- and non-meat sources of iron are always nonheme. The absorption rate of nonheme iron can much more easily be affected by other things you ingest. So drinking/eating something with high vitamin c can improve the iron absorption rate during a meal. Whereas drinking tea (including green tea), coffee or milk can significantly decrease your iron absorption rate. What confuses me is that I've read in more than one source that legumes and soy products can decrease your body's ability to absorb iron ... but on the other hand ... lentils and soy beans are an important source of iron in a vegetarian diet. Does anyone know much about this? I'm going to stop drinking green tea ... but should I really be concerned about the iron blocking effects of lentils or soy? I know ... it's a complicated question. Thanks in advance.
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