*Images from Google
Whether you’re looking to prepare your body for pregnancy, or you’re already pregnant, the best thing you can do for your new baby is nourish yourself. There are a few key vitamins and minerals one needs pre-natally, and although you can take a supplement, the more efficient (and more fun) way of getting these nutrients is through food! Make sure to include these five important nutrients in your healthy and balanced pregnancy diet.
Nutrient #1: Folic Acid and Folate
Folic acid is an essential nutrient for expecting women, as it has been proven to prevent birth defects. Many breads and cereals have been fortified with folic acid, so if you’re eating these sources of grains, you’re probably getting enough! However, if you follow a low-carb or gluten-free diet, make sure to eat foods like dark leafy greens, beans, and asparagus, as these also have plenty of this to supplement a pregnancy. 600-800 micrograms is the recommended daily amount!
Nutrient #2: Iron
Iron is very important, as it is said to prevent premature births, and anemia in both baby and mother. It also prevents low birth weight (which can be dangerous and lead to birth defects.) Iron can be most easily absorbed from meat like beef and pork, but can also be found in dark leafy greens, fortified bread products, and beans.
Nutrient #3: Calcium
You’ve heard your whole life that milk builds strong bones, and this is even more true for little ones who are growing inside the womb! It also aids muscle and nerve function in both mother and baby. Find calcium in dairy products, but also in fortified grains, soy milk and dark leafy greens.
Nutrient #4: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant—it can help your immunity which is extra-important when you’re pregnant, but it can also help your body absorb iron (see above) and prevent tissues from damage. Find vitamin C in citrus fruits and in bell peppers, tomatoes, and berries.
Nutrient #5: Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is a special vitamin for the first trimester—it can help with morning sickness! B6 also helps form red blood cells. It is found in foods such as lean meats (chicken, fish and pork), beans, bananas, broccoli, oats, and brown rice.