Healthy eating for pregnancy
There are a number of vitamins and minerals vital to the health of you and your baby. The good news is that all of them can be found in the food you eat!
Eating a well balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats can give you everything you need for a healthy baby.
Having said that, there are some essential nutrients that are more difficult than others to include in our diets, but still serve a crucial role in the development of your little bundle of joy.
Here is a list of some of the nutrients essential during pregnancy and where to find them.
Essential for many biological functions including protein synthesis and cellular division, making it crucial for the development of a baby. While on the other hand, zinc deficiencies in mothers may compromise infant development and lead to poor birth outcomes. The recommended daily intake of zinc for pregnant or breastfeeding women is 12 mg per day.
Where to find it: Get zinc from spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green peas, cashews and kidney beans.
Shown to be very beneficial for prenatal brain development especially when eaten in large quantities in the final trimester of pregnancy. The recommended dose of choline for pregnant women is at least 450 mg per day.
Where to find it: You can get a good amount of choline from egg yolks (one large egg provides 147 mg), lean red meat, fresh cod, salmon, and cauliflower.
Folate (Folic acid)
Helps promote the healthy growth of tissue and cells and is vital for the rapid development of a baby throughout pregnancy. More specifically, during pregnancy it supports the formation of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. The recommended dose is at least 600 mcg of folic acid (folate) per day.
Where to find it: Find folate in a variety of foods including dark leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, dairy products, meat, eggs, seafood and whole grains. Along with eating well, if you’re serious about getting pregnant, most doctors will suggest that you start taking prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid (folate) to ensure you are getting enough.
Found to be essential for the neurological and early visual development of a baby, and also used after birth to make breast milk, omega-3s are an important vitamin in promoting a healthy pregnancy.
Where to find it: Best sources of Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) are cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and herring. Alternatively, you can take a purified fish oil supplement to avoid the risk of consuming mercury found in some fish.
Used to make blood (hemoglobin) and assisting the movement of oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Iron is especially important during pregnancy as your body begins to produce extra blood for you and your baby, needing at least 27 mg of iron every day.
Where to find it: Iron fortified cereals are a good source of iron, while red meat, chicken, duck, pork, turkey, eggs, spinach, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and fish also contain iron. Eating foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, tomatoes, berries and peppers at the same time can help your body better absorb iron as well.
Beta-carotene (Vitamin A)
Essential for fetal growth and tissue maintenance and helps support the mother’s metabolism, the recommended dose for a pregnant woman is 770 mcg daily.
Where to find it: You can find plenty of beta-carotene in orange foods including carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin pie and cantaloupe.
Overall, the key is to promote a healthy pregnancy is to eat a well-balanced diet with a good dose of the vitamins listed above!
Be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about getting the right nutrients for pregnancy, as they will be able to give you specific advice on how you can eat better, or what supplements you should start taking.
Get into a healthy mindset and stay positive about the process, because in the end any steps you make towards wellness will benefit you and your baby!