Day 86, Essential Nutrients

I am sure that you have heard this enough number of times – “The baby is eating what you are eating”. This is one of the most common statements that is repeated time and again to pregnant moms by well meaning family and friends. Most of us do know that eating right is helping the baby develop physically and mentally. Besides this it also helps the mom to stay fit and healthy, gain the right amount of weight and have a better birth experience. But then there are so many foods out there, so what exactly am I supposed to concentrate on ? A Balanced Diet, Yes. But besides this a special focus on some of the vital nutrients would be great as well.

CALCIUM – Calcium is needed for the formation of teeth, skeletal system, nervous system, muscles and heart. Just about everything. Calcium is best absorbed when vitamin D is present which is why most calcium supplements come with a small dose of Vitamin D. The main sources of calcium are milk and milk products. Consume 2-3 cups of milk per day to meet your calcium requirements during pregnancy. Other sources of calcium will include dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, sesame seeds, nachni and jaggery. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight which your body can absorb through the skin. Some food sources of Vitmain D include Salmon, Mushrooms and Egg Yolk.

Essential Fatty Acids – There are three main types of Essential Fatty acids that your body needs during pregnancy. Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9. There are certain kinds of Omega-3 fats, called EPA and DHA which are essential for the normal development of your baby’s brain, nervous system and immune system. There has been a lot of research which has proved conclusively that Omega-3 fats are critical in the formation of the human brain in the womb and in the first couple of years of life. It is essential that Essential Fatty Acids are consumed in the form of food as your body is unable to produce these naturally. Some food sources of Essential Fatty Acids include Fish, Hemp seeds, Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Almonds, Olive Oil, Eggs, Whole grain foods and Dark Gree leafy vegetables.

Folic Acid – Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate which is part of the vitamin B family. This nutrient is specially important in the three months prior to conception and in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is recommended that if you are a woman of child bearing age and are planning to have a baby then you should start taking a folic acid supplement regularly. It is essential for the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spine. Adequate intake of folate can help prevent abnormalities and birth defects related to the spine. Natural sources of Folic acid include legumes, fortified cereals, oranges and green leafy veegtables.

Ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of these vital nutrients is essential for every pregnancy so make sure that you include generous portions in your daily diet.

Pregnant Moms also need to eat every 2-3 hours which means six meals. Lets look at the combination of different food categories that should make your every meal. These would be your main meals. Each of your main meals must contain all the five food groups – Carbohydrates, Vegetables/Fruits, Protein, Milk Protein and Fats. All of these nutrients work in tandem with each other and hence there is maximum nutrient absorption. Imagine if my hand was missing one finger, the hand would not be fully functional right ? The same way if any food group is missing from the meal then the absorption of nutrients is not optimum.

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