The most important nutrients during pregnancy
During the 9 months your body is home to two souls, it more than ever needs strength to face the changes that happens within it, as well as the needs of its little occupant. And as your primary source of energy is food, it must be selected very carefully.
It is important that the products you eat are natural and fresh. Food that is easily digested and not of animal origin should be consumed in its most natural state, in order to preserve its healthy properties (wholegrain breads, raw sugar, unrefined vegetable oils, row nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables).
It is best to avoid:
- liver, because it contains large amounts of vitamin A, which can be toxic to the fetus
- (semi-) raw fish, eggs and meats, as they could be a source of dangerous bacteria
- fish containing potentially high levels of mercury (shark, sea bass, tuna, bluefish, etc.)
- soft cheeses, blue cheeses and unpasteurized milk, again because of the risk of pathogenic bacteria
- coffee and beverages containing caffeine, since they prevent the absorption of iron.
In the first months of the pregnancy, all major organs and muscles of your baby begin to develop, but that doesn’t mean you need an additional intake of calories in general, but only of certain nutrients. One of them is vitamin B9 (folic acid), which has a key role in the development of the brain, the spine and tissues of the child. You can get the recommended 400 micrograms per day from green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, citrus, legumes, nuts, seeds (especially sunflower), eggs.
Another important nutrient, from which you need at least 30 mg per day, is iron. It helps the supply of oxygen and nutrients to every cell of the body and it is also crucial for the production of the extra blood you need for the baby. Meat and fish are excellent sources of iron, and vegetarians can provide it by consuming more spinach, broccoli, legumes and leafy green vegetables.
During the first trimester, there is a slight increase in the needs of vitamin D and protein, too. Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are some of the best food sources of the vitamin, though if you expose your skin to sunlight daily (but in moderation!), your body will produce enough of it. Eggs, all kinds of meats, fish and dairy products can provide the needed proteins, and if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you must give prominence to nuts, seeds and legumes.
To relieve nausea, so typical of the first few weeks after conception, specialists recommend foods rich in vitamin B6 - meat, fish, nuts, sunflower seeds, bananas, avocados, potatoes, garlic and others.
During this stage of the pregnancy, the most dynamically developing are the bones, whose building block is calcium. Do not underestimate the importance of this mineral. It must be present in your menu daily (you need at least 1000 mg), otherwise your body will eventually encroach on the stock of calcium in your own bones.
Fortunately, calcium is found in a large number of food products, among which with most enviable amounts are almonds, seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin), yogurt, cheese and spinach.
In the second trimester, you still need higher levels of vitamin D, which not only strengthens the bones, but facilitates the absorption of calcium, too.
An adequate intake of magnesium is also essential. Good sources of this mineral are legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole-grain bread.
The need for protein continues to grow, as the muscles and tissues of your little one develop more and more actively. The higher requirements for iron remain, as well.
Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables to obtain a rich palette of vitamins. Particularly important is vitamin C, which contributes to the development of collagen - the main component of skin, bones, tendons and cartilage. Moreover, being a strong immunostimulant, this vitamin will protect you from infections. The recommended daily dose is 85 mg.
The need for additional nutrients is strongest at the end of pregnancy. To the already mentioned ones must be added omega-3 fatty acids. They are extremely important for the actively developing in this period nervous system of the child.
Of the three types of omega-3 fats, the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is considered most important. It can be found in abundance in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, anchovies and others.
The development of the baby's brain continues after birth, so it is better to continue taking 400 mg of DHA per day while breastfeeding, too.
Another element that helps the metabolism and the proper development of the nervous system of the baby in its last months in the womb is choline. Reliable sources of choline include egg yolks, seafood, poultry, peanuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, beets, beans.
Vitamin K, on the other hand, facilitates faster recovery after birth, so approaching the joyous event it is a good idea to eat more eggs, strawberries, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuce, beans.
The end of the pregnancy is the time when your body really needs more calories, so do not worry if your appetite is for two.
Remember to satisfy the growing "hunger" of your skin, as well, with the special cosmetic series “Zdrave mama”.