– Nutrition in Pregnancy –
Protein in Pregnancy:
Good Sources of Protein: Animal Protein, pulses and cereal grains, dairy products, nuts, Spirulina, eggs. In pregnancy, protein requirements increase from 9 grams per day to 80-100 grams of protein needed per day because of the many special demands of tissue building that can only be met with adequate protein, not only baby but blood expansion, placenta, breast growth, milk production, immune system, blood clotting, etc. The body has mechanisms that make sure it’s requirements for protein are met. Caloric intake also increases in pregnancy. As caloric and protein requirements become greater the lack of sufficient quantities of either one has more serious immediate consequences.
What is Protein? Proteins are combinations of only 22 amino acids, eight of which are essential nutrients for humans. This means that the human body cannot make them and must get them from somewhere else. The Human body assembles and utilizes about 50,000 different proteins to form organs, nerves, muscles and flesh. Enzymes and antibodies are specialized proteins. Protein is an essential part of nutrition because they are needed for normal growth and the formation of hormones, for the process of blood clotting and for the formation of milk during lactation. It also helps to regulate the acid-alkaline balance of tissues and blood.
Vitamins in Pregnancy:
The most effective way for us to absorb vitamins and minerals is directly through our food sources. Different types of food processing affects vitamin content differently. Some vitamins are heat sensitive, but steaming and water-less cooking preserve minerals and vitamins fairly well. Boiling rapidly, not so well. Vitamins are persevered better in an acidic liquid rather than an alkaline liquid. Oxidation causes vitamin loss. In canning, long temperatures of high heat are used, which are destructive to some vitamins, but not all. Cold temperatures and freezing as well as sun or air drying retain vitamin content. Some methods of food processing, including simmering bones in acidic liquid to make broth, culturing of dairy products, sprouting and traditional methods of pickling, fermenting and leavening, actually make nutrients more available. Vitamin E is fat soluble and is needed for circulation, tissue repair and healing, which is very important during pregnancy and recovery postpartum. It also helps in the treatment of sterility. Vitamin E is the deactivation in free radicals. It works well alongside selenium and zinc.Vitamin E is found in unrefined vegetable oils, butter, organ meats, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is an antioxidant which protects the body against free radicals and pollutants, decreasing risk of cancer. Most importantly Vitamin A is a catalyst on which numerous biochemical processes depend. Proteins, minerals and water soluble vitamins cannot be utilized without Vitamin A in the body. It also aids in protein digestion and plays a vital role in building strong bones and rich blood. Vitamin A is found in butter fats, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats, seafood and fish liver oils. It is very important to obtain Vitamin A from food sources because synthetic sources may have a toxic effect. Antibiotics, laxatives, fat-substitutes and cholesterol lowering drugs interfere with the absorption of Vitamin A.
Cholesterol acts as a precursor to essential corticosteriods and to sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. It is also a precursor to Vitamin D, which id needed for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function. It helps with digestion, acts and a antioxidant, gives our tissues structural integrity. It’s needed for proper function of Serotonin in the brain.
Sources of fats to avoid: Meat from Grain fed animals, seed oils like, safflower, sesame, corn, sunflower or peanut. margarine, hydrogenated vegetables.
Excellent sources of fat: Mackerel, flaxseed oil, butter, cheese, cod liver oil, salt water fish, salmon, halibut, cod, shellfish, lobster, crab, meat and dairy from grass fed animals. Don’t be afraid to eat good fats! Dietary fats in the body provide a concentrated sources on energy in the diet. They provide a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. They provide the building blocks for cell membranes. They slow down nutrient absorption so we can go longer without eating. The act as carriers for vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are fat-soluble vitamins. Dietary fats are essential in the conversion of carotene to Vitamin A and for mineral absorption.
Refined Sugars and Flours:
Carbohydrates are starch and sugars. They are produced by all green plants in their leaves through sunlight, CO2 and water. The primary use of carbohydrates in the body to supply energy wherever it is needed for example, accomplishing cellular processes, thinking or moving. It is provided in the form of glucose molecules, broken down from starches. In pregnancy, they provide the energy for the women to support life. They help women to have enough energy to go through with labor. If she doesn’t have enough calories than she burns proteins needed for other functions. Whenever possible, eat complex carbohydrates. For example, whole-grain breads and pastas, vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes and legumes rather than simple carbohydrates: white bread, cookies, pretzels and chips, and sugar and sweeteners. Vitamin E, B, fiber, protein,
magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium are provided in abundance by whole grains. Unfortunately, these essential vitamin and mineral components are striped in the refining process. Fortification adds a few synthetic vitamins and minerals, which may be dangerous, to white flour and polished rice after the essential factors have been removed. Some researchers believe that the excess iron from fortified flour can cause tissue damage or/and heart disease. Vitamins B1 and B2 that are added to grains without B6 lead to imbalances to numerous processes involving B vitamin pathways.