Eat up: Essential nutrients to consume during pregnancy

When it comes to nutrition during pregnancy there is no one magic or special diet. Actually, the same principles that constitute a healthy diet should be maintained and applied to pregnancy. If you do not practice a balanced diet now, it’s never too late to start! To ensure your baby gets all the nutrients she needs, be sure to eat lots of vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Below we’ll provide a breakdown the essential nutrients for pregnancy and the foods that contain them.

Folate (folic acid): Folate is part of the vitamin B family. It plays a very big role in preventing birth defects including neural tube defects. Aside from your daily folic acid supplement be sure to include these great sources of folic acid to your diet.

• Fortified cereals
• Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and asparagus
• Dried beans and lentils
• Citrus fruits
• Eggs
• Nuts and peanut butter

Calcium: The developing bones and teeth of your baby need lots of calcium. Getting enough of it means your body will provide adequate amounts for you and your baby. If you do not consume enough, it will be taken from your bones to be supplied for your baby. Examples of food sources include:

• Dairy products (best absorbed by the body)
• Salmon
• Broccoli
• Kale
• Calcium-fortified orange juice
• Eggs
• Cabbage
• Tofu

Protein: It is essential for the growth of fetal tissue and brain. It also helps with breast and uterine tissue growth during pregnancy, and even plays role in increasing blood supply. When pregnant, an extra 25g of protein should be added to your diet per day. Here are some natural sources:

• Lean beef
• Beans
• Seafood
• Nuts and peanut butter
• Cottage cheese
• Chicken
• Tofu

Vitamin D: Helps promote bone and teeth growth. You can consume vitamin D from these sources:

• Fatty fish
• Sunlight (the best way to acquire this vitamin. Exposure to sunlight helps the body synthesize this important vitamin)
• Eggs
• Fortified milk and juice

Iron: Another very important micronutrient responsible for supplying the appropriate amount of oxygen to you and your baby. Iron works together with sodium, water and potassium to increase blood flow too. There are two types of iron: heme iron, which is animal-based and more readily absorbed, and non-heme iron present in plant sources. Food sources for iron (heme and non-heme) include:

• Lean beef and poultry (best absorbed by the body)
• Enriched cereals
• Eggs
• Dried fruits
• Dark green leafy vegetables

Along with eating a balanced diet full of the necessary nutrients it’s important to drink plenty of water and take the prenatal vitamins recommended by your doctor. This will ensure you are receiving the sufficient amount of nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy.

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