Gluten-Free Diet During Pregnancy

Folate

Possibly the most essential nutrient when you’re expecting, folate helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida. The government requires food manufacturers to add it to some flours and commonly eaten grains (breads, pastas and cereals) — but since many gluten-free products are not made with this enriched flour, you should make sure to check the folate levels on the nutrition label of the goods you buy. Since prenatal vitamins have at least 400 mcg, you can meet your pregnancy requirement of 600 mcg per day pretty easily. Just fill up your plate with natural gluten-free food sources including:

  • Spinach (131 mcg in 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Enriched white rice (75 mcg in 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Asparagus (89 mcg in 4 spears)
  • Avocado (60 mcg in half an avocado)
  • Kidney beans (46 mcg in 1/2 cup cooked)

Iron

Iron helps you create red blood cells that carry oxygen to your whole body — vital when you’re growing a baby, since your body’s pumping a whole lot more blood. In fact, pregnant women are at a greater risk of anemia (or low red blood cell count), so do your best to get at least 27 mg per day from gluten-free sources. The most iron-rich foods have about 3 to 4 mg per serving. These include:

  • Red meat or dark meat poultry (about 2 mg in 3 ounces cooked; also a good source of B vitamins and minerals)
  • Legumes like chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans (about 3 to 4 mg in 1 cup cooked)
  • Spinach (6.4 mg in 1 cup cooked)

Bonus: These foods also provide approximately 2 to 6 mg of zinc to help you meet your requirement of 12 mg per day.

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