The best diet for a healthy pregnancy

Undoubtedly, the most important component of following a healthy diet during pregnancy is to focus on a healthy diet. food rich in micronutrients. In quality and quantity as a pregnant woman increases her nutritional requirements.

The diet of an expectant mother directly affects the mental development of the fetus, the weight of the newborn, the risk of disease and even the child's immune system..

Once again, the Paleo framework is best suited to meet the needs of the pregnant woman.

Micronutrients during pregnancy

At this stage, soluble vitamins such as A, B, D, K2 and iron play a fundamental role.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is crucial for good embryo growth. We refer to the correct development of the eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, nervous system, respiratory and circulatory systems.

Foods rich in vitamin A: liver and eggs. Also dairy products for those who include them in their diet.

Especially among the plant-based foodsThere are great precursors of vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes... Some people have trouble extracting vitamin A from these foods. It is easier to obtain retinol from animals.

Vitamin B9 (folate)

This is one of the most famous vitamins of pregnancy, even before pregnancy women should have good levels of this vitamin.

Folate is important from the very beginning because it helps the fetal brain and spinal cord growth that develop in the first month of pregnancy. Studies show a clear relationship between deficiencies of this vitamin and neurological birth problems such as spina bifida.

Vitamin-rich foods B9The following are the most important vegetables: green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, beets, cauliflower, nuts and seeds, liver and lentils for those who include legumes in their diet.

We recommend a consumption between 600-800 mcg per day. You can get them with the following combinations:

  • 60 gr of chicken liver : 330 mcg of folate
  • 1 cup broccoli: 168 mcg of folate
  • 60 gr of calf liver: 162 mcg
  • 1/2 cup of asparagus: 134 mcg of folate
  • 2 cups of spinach: 116 mcg of folate
  • 2 cups of kale kale: 39 mcg of folate
  • 1 large egg: 25 mcg

It is easy for the doctor, instead of reinforcing this natural source of vitamin B9, to resort to supplementation. But as we will see in the section on supplements, the best option is always in food and not in pills.

If you consume liver in your diet and accompany your meals with green leafy vegetables, it is easy to meet your folate needs.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and plays a key role in the immune system.

But not only that, according to recent studies a good level of vitamin D can prevent pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure), gestational diabetes, premature births and low birth weights. It even reduces the risk of developing asthma in the baby's early years.

Vitamin-rich foods DVitamin D is absorbed mainly by the skin through controlled exposure to the sun, but not only through foodstuffs: eggs (particularly the yolks) and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines... but beyond food, vitamin D is absorbed mainly through controlled exposure to the sun of the skin.

Calcium

Necessary for the musculoskeletal development, regulation of blood pressure and the proper functioning of the nervous system.

It plays a more important role in the third trimester. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and plays a fundamental role in the immune system.

Calcium rich foodsThe following products: green leafy vegetables, broccoli, small sardines that you can eat the scraps, and dairy products for those people who include them in their diet.

best diet during pregnancy

We recommend a intake between 1000-1300 mcg per day.

Hill

Important for the good neurological development of the fetus.

Foods rich in CholineEggs (yolk), liver, shrimp and veal.

We recommend a intake about 450 mcg per day.

Iron

It is required for maintain the increase in blood volume.

Calcium rich foodsred meat, organs and green leafy vegetables.

We recommend a intake about 27 mcg per day.

Zinc

It is used for the cell growth, the immune system, the production of enzymes and insulin..

Foods rich in ZincBeef, pork, horse, fish (especially oysters), nuts and seeds.

We recommend a consumption about 11 mcg per day.

Omega 3, especially DHA and EPA

Basic for the development of the baby's brain, vision and central nervous system.

Inadequate levels of omega-3 can negatively affect the risk of preeclampsia and preterm delivery.

Foods rich in Omega-3Fish is the best source, but you can also supplement with nuts.

food for pregnant women

Many people are afraid to eat fish for fear of ingesting high levels of mercury. But the benefits of eating fish outweigh the actual risk they may pose. To minimize mercury intake, incorporate more small fish into your diet, as they potentially contain lower levels of this heavy metal.

We recommend a intake about 27 mcg per day.

It is necessary to emphasize that more benefits are obtained in food from organic agriculture and livestock since the quality of their final products is much higher than food products obtained by more common methods.

To change your diet and include more of these foods, I recommend you to my ebook.

Macronutrients during pregnancy

As we said at the beginning of the post, the most important thing is the quality of the food and not so much its distribution in macronutrients.

Protein

Naturally, pregnant women tend to develop little interest in meats in particular. It seems to be nature's own mechanism to reduce protein intake as the capacity of the a pregnant woman's body to convert ammonia into urea is reduced. during this period.

Protein should account for approximately 15-20% of total calories consumption. It should be around 1.2 grams per kg in the early stages of pregnancy and about 1.5 grams per kg towards the end.

Carbohydrates

On the other hand, it is easy for your body to prefer foods with a higher carbohydrate content such as rice or potatoes, especially during the first months when there is a greater sensation of nausea.

Carbohydrates should be from natural sources, real food. The pregnant women are more prone to suffer from diabetes in your condition. The reason is because a mom-to-be who is very sensitive to insulin could take most of the nutrients and create deficiencies in the fetus. As Mother Nature takes care of everything, she wants to ensure that the species survives and that the fetus is well nourished. That is why it is easier to develop diabetes.

It is recommended that a consumption of 30-50% of the total calories from carbohydrates.

Fats

The fats are essential for a baby's good brain development.

During pregnancy, the mother increases her cellulite and cholesterol reserves.. As the mother feeds her baby with breast milk, these fat concentrations are transferred to the baby.

The recommendation of the cFat consumption is around 30% of total calorie intake..

foods with folate

Foods to avoid

Although it may seem like a long list now, there are many more foods that you can eat compared to those that you cannot. Most of the forbidden foods are because they are raw, but there are options:

  • Alcohol: practically should not be on the food list. Tobacco and alcohol are totally forbidden during pregnancy.. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is related to mental development problems in children.
  • Caffeineespecially during the first trimester as it can increase the risk of miscarriage. If you want to reincorporate it later on, limit coffee consumption to 2 cups a day, or 4 cups of tea because caffeine is absorbed quickly and reaches the placenta and consequently the fetus which does not have the enzymes, as adults do, to metabolize it.
  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables: since increase the risk of toxoplasmosis. It is recommended that you consume these foods at home, where you can make sure that you have washed them properly.
  • Raw eggsin mayonnaise-type sauces, as it increases the risk of salmonellosis.
  • Unpasteurized dairy products: as they present a risk of listeriosis.
  • Raw meats: including sausages. If meat is served cooked, make sure it is not completely cooked. For the consumption of sausages, it is recommended that they be frozen to eliminate the presence of the toxoplasma parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
  • Raw fishYou can only eat raw, smoked, salted, pickled, marinated fish... any version that is not cooked, if the fish has been previously frozen. During this process, in case the fish was contaminated by the anisaki parasite, it would be exterminated by freezing. Although by law all restaurants are required to ensure that they follow this process to avoid anisaki poisoning, it is recommended that consumption of this risky food group be avoided outside the home.

Eating for two?

It is typical to be told that when you are in a state of good hope, you cannot lack anything and you should eat for two. But I advise you not to take this literally.

Assuming we start from a healthy diet, it is sufficient to increase by a few 100-200 calories per day during the first trimester. This is little more than eating the usual food and adding a banana. In addition, during this early phase of pregnancy many pregnant women experience frequent nausea or even vomiting. In this case, it will be difficult for you to eat more than before. Once again, prioritize quality above all else. Many moms find relief by eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

From the second trimester onwards, you are more likely to feel better and recover your appetite. From this phase of pregnancy onwards, you need to consume some 300-400 calories more..

There are some cases of moms who take advantage of this stage to indulge themselves by eating whatever they feel like, in whatever quantity they feel like. But as we have seen, beyond the fact that the mother-to-be may gain extra weight, the quality and quantity of her diet have a direct impact on her baby's health. Despite popular belief, it is not true that "now anything goes"..

Cravings

Many mothers experience cravings during pregnancy. The urge to eat a particular food at that very moment.

In fact, is not so different from a craving of another person who is not pregnant, but our belief makes us think that a pregnant woman can't lack anything. During pregnancy, many hormonal changes occur and these can lead to more cravings than before. If willpower was not your strong point before you became pregnant, during this period it will be more difficult to control.

The longer you have been eating healthy, the less cravings you will have. This is the same as if you were not pregnant.

If your cravings are strong and continuous, and the food you crave is junk food, try to find a healthier version of your cravings. If they are sweet, you may want to serve yourself a piece of fruit, a date....

Supplementation

Folate (vitamin B9):

With studies showing a clear link between B9 deficiency and neurological problems in the baby, this vitamin is the first one you are offered to supplement when you are at the doctor's office. The problem is that the synthetic version of this vitamin is folic acid, which is not the same as the folate naturally present in some of the foods we mentioned earlier.

Folic acid is a lab-created version of folate and our body metabolizes it differently.. The main problem is that its excess is associated with multiple disorders in the mother and her children: such as asthma, cancer and insulin resistance.

The best option is to turn to real food and avoid supplementation and ultra-processed "vitamin-enhanced" food. In short, stay away from fortified junk (like breakfast cereals) and get your folate from real food.

If you want to take a supplement of this vitamin, choose a supplement with folate, not folic acid. There is a noticeable economic difference but for all that we have discussed, it is worth the investment.

Summary

I hope that after this reading don't feel overwhelmed with the amount of food you have to consume. of one kind or another to make sure your baby is not lacking anything.

Information is power and helps us to be more aware to make better decisions. Unless you suffer from a deficiency that you have to put special interest in covering, if you eat a Paleo-style diet, composed of foods that truly nourish while keeping these general considerations in mind, you can have a healthy pregnancy.

Paleolithic women did not have to weigh their food to know if they were consuming enough vitamin A or K. So take note to improve some part of your diet that needs further reinforcement, but eat real food and you'll be doing well.

And remember that within a healthy eating environment, being pregnant you can also indulge in something you feel like eating beyond the recommendations. You don't have to be overwhelmed because that food is going to ruin your good nutrition.

If you need to know more about the paleo diet, here you have this book with everything you need to knowexplained in a language within everyone's reach.

If you need recipe ideas that support this lifestyle, don't miss out on my recipe book.

Bibliographic references
* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19052032
* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24930442
* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19863600
* https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084635
* https://joe.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/joe/224/3/245.xml

* Paleo principles, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD