A healthy body is the beginning of everything. It leads to a happy heart and good reproductive health which makes pregnancy less exhausting. All this contributes to the birth of a healthy child who will have a childhood free of evitable illnesses.
There are certain vitamins and minerals that will help you to achieve a healthy body and provide your foetus with everything it needs. With some attention into planning your diet, consuming them as capsules will not be necessary.
Iron, Calcium and the Significant Zinc
Iron and calcium are two of the most obvious essential minerals in human body that is required for it to be strong and active. While iron is essential for the production of haemoglobin which keeps every cell in human body oxygenated and in working condition, calcium lays foundation for healthy bones and teeth.
Adequate intake of iron which is 35 mg per day, prevents the bad news called anaemia which can cause low birth weight and premature delivery. Including proteins such as beef and liver (in moderate amount), spinach, lean fishes, dried beans, dried fruits, eggs, ragi, jaggery, rice flakes, grains such as wheat germ and oatmeal are filled with iron.
Calcium is important during pregnancy for the functioning of muscles and nerves. It is required for the calcification of foetal bones and teeth. Protection of calcium resources of mother is significant for lactation. A pregnant woman should have up to 1200 mg of calcium in their diet. Intake of milk, yogurt, cheese, small fish and bones, soy milk and dark green leafy vegetables (especially drumstick leaves) will provide enough calcium to your body.
Apart from maintaining good reproductive health, zinc helps the body to produce insulin and other important enzymes. Around 12 mg of zinc intake per day is required for a healthy pregnancy which can be achieved by including red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products in the diet.
Protein and Good Fat
The human body is made up of 16% of proteins and 16% of fats which makes both of them inevitable in our diet. The amino acids which are the smaller units of proteins helps with repairing tissues and cells including blood cells. Hence, it is vital for the growth of foetus. Amino acids are responsible for immune response and making of hormones, enzymes and nucleic acids. They also lay foundation for the development of amniotic fluid. Protein plays an important role in enlargement of uterus, mammary glands and placenta along with helping with labour, delivery and lactation. Approximately 78 g protein intake is adequate in your daily diet which can be acquired from meat, poultry, beans, lean fishes, legumes and nuts.
Not all fats are enemy of your heart. Monounsaturated fats are one of the major energy sources and helps with controlling LDL (bad cholesterol) which reduces risk of high blood pressure and other risks during pregnancy. Avocado is the perfect choice at this point because apart from monounsaturated fat, it has up to 20 vitamins and minerals. One-third of an avocado should be enough a day which is why it is known as the pregnancy super food. It is recommended for the mother to limit the intake of saturated fats which are found in ghee, butter and cheese.
Vitamin B Complex
These vitamins helps human body to function and some of them are quite important during pregnancy. Thiamin (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin (Vitamin B3) and pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) play key role in maintaining energy of your system along with regulating the nervous system and other bodily functions such as digestion and forming RBCs. They also contribute to the health of skin and eyesight. Having sufficient pyridoxine helps with morning sickness as well. Adding a good amount of whole grains and veggies such as carrot, broccoli and cabbage, diary, fish, berries, legumes, nut and poultry will provide enough of these vitamins to your body.
Vitamin B9 aka folic acid and Vitamin B12 aka cobalamin have more niche duties to perform. Folic acids supports the placenta and prevents the foetus from developing spina bifida, a birth defect with incomplete closing of backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. Vitamin B12 is an important factor in the making of DNAs and sufficient intake will prevent neural tube defects. Vitamin B9 and B12 can be acquired from oranges, green leafy vegetables, liver, beef, poultry and fish.
Vitamins A, E, C and Plenty of Sunshine
Our body acquires beta carotene from liver, milk, eggs, fruits, green and yellow vegetables, and convert into Vitamin A, which is essential for immune system and mucus membranes. Up to 770 mg – 1000 mg of Vitamin A is a must have supplement during pregnancy for the bone growth of your baby.
A daily intake of 3 mg of Vitamin E is helpful in forming the RBCs and muscles of the baby. Vitamin E reduces the possibilities of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths. It can be acquired from vegetable oils such as wheat germ oil, almond oil and sunflower oil which are good antioxidants as well. Spinach, kiwi, whole grains and egg yolk are also good sources of Vitamin E.
An approximate intake of 80 mg of Vitamin C in daily diet will protect the tissues from damage and helps with tissue repair. This antioxidant helps the body to fight infections and build a healthy immune system. Vitamin C which is also known as ascorbic acid helps the body to absorb iron. It also plays an essential role in tissue repair, wound healing, making of cartilage bones and tendons by being a vital protein in the making of collagen. The lack of it can affect the mental development in new born babies. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, guava, mango, amla, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes will provide the pregnant woman with sufficient Vitamin C.
Vitamin D is one of the most easily acquired vitamins because it is found in milk, dairy products, fish, eggs, liver, pork and none other than surplus amount of sunshine we are blessed with. Apart from contributing to the growth of strong teeth and bones, vitamin D helps the body to use calcium and phosphorus. Approximately 5 mcg of vitamin D per day is enough for the healthy development of the baby.
It is always good to consult your doctor and figure out if you have any deficiencies before pregnancy, so that you can make up for those vitamins and minerals in your diet.