Here are the top five Nutrients for Mothers- to- be to ensure the Foetus is safe and healthy!
The most important nutrient that helps in preventing birth defects is Folic acid.Two common defects that occur duirng pregnancy due to deficiency of folic acid are Spina Bifida & Anencephaly.
Foods rich in Folic acid are recommended, eg. Spinach, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lentil, Beans.
Zinc stores are well built during pregnancy.Zinc deficiency along with Protein in the maternal diet can lead to Gastroschisis– a birth defect. Zinc also has an important role to play in the infant’s brain development. Its deficiency can lead to Toxaemia or Anaemia in the Foetus.
Foods rich in Zinc are advised like Whole grains, Nuts like Almonds, Walnuts, Red Beans, Baked Beans, Low fat milk, Oysters, Chicken,etc.
The B complex vitamins have a crucial role to play in prevention of Congenital Heart disease particularly if mother’s diet is rich in saturated fats. Niacin helps lower the bad cholesterol(LDL) & increase the good cholesterol(HDL).It also reduces the incidence of Spina Bifida.
Foods rich in B Vitamins are Advised like Low Fat Dairy, Leafy Vegetables, Whole grains, Nuts, Fish, etc.
Omega- 3 Fatty Acids
These essential fatty acids are very important for baby’s Eye & Brain development.Omega-3 fatty acids will have an added advantage for the mother during Pregnancy as they will improve skin tone & reduce the intensity of the stretch marks.
Food sources like Organ Meats, Nuts & Oli seeds Are advised.Fish intake is not advised because of the toxic metals present in it.
Iodine deficiency in Maternal diet can lead to Foetal Brain damage. It can cause Cretinism– Neurologic, Hypothyroid.This condition is critical as it can cause Mental deficiency, Deaf- Mutism, Motor Rigidity or even Hypothyroidism.
Food sources are Milk & milk Products like cheese, Curd, Sea vegetables, Strawberries,etc.