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Childbearing Years: Iron and Folic Acid continued...

Also be aware that medications such as antacids that decrease stomach acid can reduce the absorption of iron.

How much iron you need: 18 milligrams per day for women 19-50 years old. For pregnant women, it increases to 27 milligrams per day.

Foods high in iron: Meats, seafood, nuts, lima beans, spinach, broccoli, and iron-fortified cereals

How much folic acid you need: 400 micrograms per day for women 14 and older; for pregnant women, 600 micrograms per day; for breastfeeding women, 500 micrograms per day

Foods high in folate: Beans, lentils, peas, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and breads and cereals fortified with folic acid

Moms-to-Be: Calorie Requirements

Although pregnant women do need more carbohydrates and calories, Johnson has one major myth to bust. “It is an important message for women to hear that they are not actually ‘eating for two.’ The extra calorie needs don't even start until the second trimester, and even then they are quite modest," she says. "I find that most women are able to meet their caloric needs by listening to their own hunger cues.” You'll need about 350 extra calories in the second trimester, 400 more in the third, and more if you are carrying multiples.

And not just any calories. Johnson points to studies linking a baby’s future food preferences to the mother’s diet during pregnancy. “Babies are continually swallowing amniotic fluid, which takes on the tastes of the mom's diet,” Johnson says. “If it's a junk food diet, it will taste quite different than a diet based on good, healthy foods. Anything you put into your body will go into the baby's body.” That's true for breast feeding mothers as well.

Your Daughter's Diet: Calcium and Iron

Anyone who's tried to get a teenager to eat a healthy diet knows it can be an uphill battle. Teens often seem to subsist on a diet of fast food and snacks -- foods that are high in fat, saturated fat, and calories and low in nutrients.

Amy Jamieson-Petonic, director of wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic, says, “ Nutrition during the teen years can have a big impact on future health, including prevention of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.”

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From fruits to nuts, see the best source of fiber in natural foods.
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Dietary Fiber Poll

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