Gestational diabetes refers to a type of diabetes, one that is similar to Type 2 diabetes, but develops in pregnant women who were previously non-diabetic. Women who have Gestational diabetes are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, and a number of birth defects are associated with the condition.
Researchers at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran looked at minerals in the blood of pregnant women with and without Gestational diabetes and compared the two.
This particular study was reported on in September 2012 in the International Scholarly Research Network Obstetrics and Gynecology. It included women who were at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Their blood levels of nickel, aluminum, chromium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium were the same, but women suffering with Gestational diabetes had significantly lower levels of iron than the women with healthy pregnancies.
From this study it is not clear whether low iron levels can contribute to Gestational diabetes or whether ladies with this form of diabetes are prone to iron deficiency, but getting enough iron is important to any pregnant woman and her child.
During pregnancy women’s blood increases about 50 per cent by volume to be able to provide enough blood to feed their uterus and take care of their baby. The extra volume can result in anemia if enough iron is not provided. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for women 19 to 50 years of age is 18 mg per day. During pregnancy the RDA for iron goes up to 27 mg per day.
Many doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins with iron. Good dietary sources of iron include:
- dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach,
- dried fruit such as prunes, raisins, and apricots,
- iron-enriched grains and cereals, legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, soybeans, and artichokes.
Make chickpea burgers according to the recipe at glowkitchen.com. They call for chickpeas, olive oil, white onion, hot peppers, scallions, garlic cloves, black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, and ground oats. Serve open-face on a bed of fresh spinach. A cup of chickpeas contains 26 per cent of the RDA for iron and one cup of spinach has 5 per cent.
Kale is another good source of iron. If you eat it with citrus fruit the acid in the fruit will aid in absorption of the iron. Try making a Hale Kale Salad from the website at organicauthority.com. It includes kale, radicchio, orange slices, and fennel. The dressing calls for orange juice, lemon juice, miso, olive or flax oil, sesame oil and soy sauce. One cup of kale provides 6 per cent of the RDA for iron.