ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS

What happens in labourDuring pregnancy your body goes through a lot of changes and to cope up with all the changes and for proper development of the baby it is necessary that you eat a very nourishing and healthy diet, which is rich of vitamins and minerals. Following is the list of all the vitamins and minerals that are essential to your body during pregnancy.

Calcium:
Calcium is obtained from milk, milk products, fish, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, beans and pulses, green vegetables particularly spinach. Best taken with vitamins A, C, D, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

Benefits:
Promotes strong and healthy bone production. Controls blood clotting mechanisms and proper nerve and muscle function. During the first trimester, bone density tends to diminish therefore it is important to increase levels prior to conceiving. Recommended during labour to ease pain when used in conjunction with vitamin D.

Chromium:
Chromium is found in black pepper, liver, wholegrain, wheatgerm, vegetables, butter, beer, and molasses.
Benefits:
Needed for the regulation of the glucose and the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol. Research indicates that deficiency may be linked to heart disease. Chromium is not always easily absorbed though it can be readily lost.


Cobalt
:
Cobalt is found in Green leafy vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, fruits and wholegrains.
Benefits:
An essential part of vitamin B12 for the normal functioning of cells, especially red blood cells. Deficiency is associated with slow growth and goitre.

Copper:

Copper is found in brazil nuts, organ meats, dried legumes, green vegetables. Best taken with cobalt, iron and zinc.
Benefits:
Helps brain development, bones, nerves and connective tissue. It is involved in many enzyme systems and essential in the production of RNA. Copper deficiency is rare and copper in excess can be toxic.

Folic Acid:

Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach etc, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains, oranges, meat and potatoes. Recommended supplement: 500mcg.
Benefits:
Significantly helps reduce the risk of spinal deformity such as spina bifida by 70 per cent and reduces the incidence of cleft lip or palate. Aids in the production of blood cells and haemoglobin. Can also help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, colon cancer and cervical cancer.

Iodine:

Iodine is found in water, iodised salt, onions, shellfish, mushrooms and dark leafy green vegetables.
Benefits:
Necessary for growth, mental and physical development and maintenance of health. Deficiency in pregnancy can result in cretinism in children, a congenital disease with mental and physical retardation.

Iron:
Iron is found in fish, meat, lentils, beans, nuts, dark molasses, eggs, green leafy vegetables, seaweed, fortified cereals, wholegrains, dried fruit especially apricots, raisins, prunes, parsley. (Avoid liver as it contains high Vitamin A content). Extra iron is often prescribed during pregnancy if you are iron-deficient (anaemic). Check with your doctor.
Benefits:
Essential in production of red blood cells. During pregnancy this volume increases by a third to nourish you and the developing baby. If your blood does not contain enough haemoglobin, insufficient oxygen will be carried to your baby. Warning signs may be tiredness and pallid colour.

Magnesium:
Magnesium is found in cereals, nuts, soya beans and soy products, milk, fish and meat.
Benefits:
Can help is preventing muscle cramp. Often levels of this mineral are low in pregnant women.

Manganese:
Manganese is found in nuts, wholegrains, seeds, leafy greens, egg, liver, parsley, cloves, ginger. Best taken with vitamins B1, E, calcium, phosphorus.
Benefits:
Needed for numerous enzyme reactions, formation of thyroxine, bone growth, fat metabolism, nerve function, and blood clotting.

Nickel:

Nickel is found in soybeans, lentils, nuts, grains, vegetables.
Benefits:
Is found in RNA and DNA and in all tissues and fluids. Deficiencies have been linked with reproductive failures and growth problems.

Phosphorus:
Phosphrous is found in Whole grains, breads, cereals, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, seeds, and nuts. Best taken with vitamins A, D, EFA, calcium, iron, manganese and protein.
Benefits:
Is the second most abundant mineral in the body and is found in every cell. Plays a part in almost every chemical reaction in the body including metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, in muscle and nerve function, digestion, kidney function and skeletal growth.

Potassium:
Potassium is found in Wheatgerm, wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Best taken with vitamin B6 and sodium.
Benefits:
Needed to regulate blood pH and proper nerve function. Helps maintain the fluid balance in the body and is necessary for growth. A deficiency may cause headaches, water retention, irregular heartbeat, bone and joint pain, constipation, cramping, irritability and insomnia. It may be linked to poor sperm mobility. Deficiency may cause abnormality in the kidneys of the developing foetus.

Selenium:
Selenium is found in butter, brazil nuts, wheatgerm, wholegrains, garlic, breast milk. More effective when taken with vitamin E.
Benefits:
Powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent chromosomal damage associated with birth defects and cancers. Helps the body fight infection. Useful during preconception to detoxify the liver.

Silicon:
Silicon is found in Wholegrain, wholemeal bread, vegetables, water.
Benefits:
Crucial in the formation of connective tissues, bones, the placenta, arteries and skin.

Vitamins:
B6 & B12 B6 is found in fish, egg yolk, avocados, seeds, bananas and B12 is found in eggs, dairy products, meat, fish, and some breakfast cereals.
Benefits:
Vitamin B12 assists in the production of genetic material DNA and works with folic acid in preventing neural tube defects.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is found in fresh fruit and vegetables particularly kiwifruit, citrus fruits. Recommended: 1000mg daily.
Benefits:
Vital in helping your body to absorb iron. Boosts your immune system and aids growth and repair.

Vitamin D:

The body synthesises Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Dietary sources include eggs, milk, and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna.
Benefits:
Assists in absorption of calcium and aids in building healthy bones.

Water:
Recommended 2 litres daily. Add squeeze of fresh lemon or grapefruit for taste.
Benefits:
Vitally important to maintain hydration and overall body health. Improves skin, lowers risk of constipation, cystitis, and water retention, all of which are common during pregnancy.

Zinc:
Zinc is found in high fibre foods, brazil nuts, meat, cheese.
Benefits:
Zinc is one of the first supplements recommended for fertility problems. It is an important component of semen and deficiency in males is linked to a low sperm count and is thought to produce sperm that are too weak to penetrate the egg. Deficiency is common and can also lead to miscarriage, growth retardation in the uterus, long labour, stillbirth and congenital handicap. It is also necessary for strong muscle contraction.

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