Pre Pregnancy diet - So you may be wondering what comprises a healthy pre pregnancy diet. Find out which key nutrients you require to include in your pre pregnancy diet.
Constitutes of a balanced diet
A balanced diet is no rocket science but merely paying attention to what food products you are consuming and at what amounts. A balanced diet can be your regular meal with the required amounts of all food groups consisting
- Carbohydrates from cereals such as jowar, bajra, ragi, dalia, oats, whole wheat bread, rice, potatoes.
- Protein from lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and pulses.
- Plenty of fruits and vegetable to meet your body’s demand for vitamins and fiber. Intake of variety of fruits and vegetables is recommended.
- Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and regular cheese to meet your calcium requirements.
- Have nuts as they are a good source of protein and healthy fats.
- Avoid or have sparingly foods which are rich in fats and sugar.
- Intake of water should be at least eight glasses per day.
Need of vitamins and supplements
In addition to a balanced diet, certain nutrients should be included in a pre-conception diet to meet the requirements of a woman’s body readying for pregnancy. Natural food sources may not meet the daily requirement of the various nutrients needed by the body and can be taken in form of vitamin supplements. These supplements are not to be substituted in place of a regular diet instead is an additional source of nutrients. Consult your doctor regarding the right pre-natal supplements for you and the correct dosage. The following nutrients should be continued during pregnancy too.
Folic acid: It is a B vitamin which is not only important before conception but even during pregnancy.
Advantages of Folic Acid
- This vitamin aids in the brain development of the baby and reduces risk of birth defects in the brain and spinal cord.
- Insufficient amount of folic acid in a mother’s body increases the chances of a baby suffering from neural tube defects (NTD) such as spina bifida in which the spinal cord is exposed due to incomplete fusing of the vertebrae which can cause paralysis and mental retardation.
- A folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms should be taken by women planning a pregnancy or who are already pregnant.
- Along with a supplement intake of folic acid through natural sources such as green leafy vegetables, cereals and pulses and nuts should be taken. Folic acid evaporates with longer cooking time therefore steam or reduce cooking time to retain the nutrients.
Iron: Many women, especially Indian women are anemic due to low intake of iron. Good sources of iron are meat, fish, poultry, leafy vegetables, beans and fortified cereals. Poor intake of iron and monthly menstruation depletes iron stores from the body.
Advantages of Iron
- To avoid iron deficiency during pregnancy it is important to have adequate amount of iron not only for yourself but for the developing baby.
- The body absorbs iron better from meat sources when compared to plant sources.
- Avoid all kinds of tea and coffee as they contain tannins which prevent iron absorption by the body.
Advantages of Calcium
- Calcium is not only required by your bones to carry the extra weight during pregnancy but is also needed for your baby’s bones.
- Insufficient calcium intake in your diet may result in the fetus absorbing calcium from the mother’s bones, thereby weakening the bone structure and putting her at risk of osteopor...
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