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Essential foods and nutrients for pregnancy

Essential foods and nutrients for pregnancy

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Each food group alone is unable to provide everything the body needs and less in a stage as delicate as pregnancy. For this reason, it is essential to eat everything and choose from a wide variety of foods to build a healthy and balanced diet.

To achieve a good nutritional balance, that provides the baby with everything he needs for his development, include foods from the main groups in your diet, so that carbohydrates account for 35 percent of the calories ingested, fats 30 percent or less, and proteins the other 30 percent.

The three essential food groups cannot be missing from your daily diet because they are the basis of your nutritional balance. They are as follows:

- Proteins
They are necessary for cell multiplication, which is needed by the developing baby, and for the production of blood, the volume of which increases in the maternal bloodstream. They are found in lean meats, fish, chicken, egg whites, lima beans, and soybeans.

- Carbohydrates
Essential for daily energy production. Bread, cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates.

- Fats
They serve as body energy storage and to ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system. They are foods rich in fat, meat, dairy products such as whole milk, butter or margarine, nuts and vegetable oils.

During the first trimester, the requirement of calcium increases from 1,000 milligrams to 1,200 milligrams, that of folic acid increases from 170 micrograms to 400 micrograms, and that of iron, generally, cannot be supplied only with the diet, so it is necessary to resort to to supplements, which your doctor will prescribe from the second trimester, since the requirements of iron, calcium and folic acid increase considerably, especially during the last trimester.

1. Folic acid
It is involved in blood formation and prevents neural tube defects in the embryo. It is present in green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard and lettuce), dark yellow fruits and vegetables, as well as in beans, peas, broccoli, green asparagus, in addition to nuts.

2. Calcium
Essential in pregnancy because it is used in nervous function, in muscle contraction and in the development of bones and teeth. Dairy products are the main source of calcium, but it is also found in fish with bones like sardines and anchovies, and in spinach.

3. DHA
Omega-3 fatty acids are also important during pregnancy. It is advisable to consume a serving of oily fish two to three times a week during pregnancy and lactation. The main sources of Omega-3 are, in addition to oily fish, some nuts, seeds and algae. A daily intake of 200 mg of this compound contributes to the normal brain and visual development of the fetus and the infant.

4. Iron
Mineral necessary for the production of red blood cells. It is better absorbed from foods of animal origin (meat), than from foods of plant origin (spinach, leeks and cereals). In any case, the combination in the same digestion with foods rich in vitamin C, contributes to its absorption.

5. Vitamin A
Powerful antioxidant, which is necessary to maintain strong bones. Protects the health of vision and prevents premature aging of the skin. Pumpkin, carrots, and green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin A.

6. Vitamin B6
It is used to effectively use proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is involved in the development of red blood cells. It is found in pork (ham), whole grains, and plantains or bananas.

7. Vitamin B12
It maintains the good health of the nervous system and is necessary for the development of red blood cells. It abounds in meat, chicken, fish, and milk. Vegetarians, who do not consume dairy products, need an additional supplement of vitamin B12. Vitamin D. It is the only vitamin that the body makes through sunlight. It is necessary for the mineralization of bones and teeth and helps absorb calcium from food. It is found in small amounts in dairy and cereals.

8. Vitamin C
It is essential for the development and healing of tissues and helps absorb iron. Maintains healthy teeth, gums and bones. Citrus fruits, broccoli, kiwi, and tomatoes contain this vitamin.

9. Iodine
A mineral of great relevance during pregnancy. According to the WHO, iodine deficiency is one of the main causes of neurological problems in newborns. It can be found in salt, shellfish or some fish such as cod, tuna or clams, in algae, dairy products, some cereals and in most fruits. It contributes to a correct function of the mother's thyroid gland and to avoid alterations in the brain and neurological development of the baby.

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