If you are thinking of having a (or maybe another) baby, then nutrition has to be high up on the agenda. The following information is meant as a guide only, and any supplementation should be as a part of a varied diet, rich in vegetables, fruit and omega 3-rich foods (and of course, water in large quantities).
First and foremost, if you are pregnant, congratulations! This is an incredible journey that you are embarking upon, and staying healthy, happy and well is more important than ever, so make sure you have the right people around you to help. The following list of 13 nutrients should be sourced from our food, so I shall concentrate on that first. Please don’t go wasting money on supplements before modifying your nutrition to get as much of this “good stuff” on your plate first:
- Antioxidants: broadly speaking these are the fruit and vegetables that are colourful, such as carrots, peppers, grapes, tomatoes, squash, and also nuts, herbs, spices and green tea.
- Vitamin D: Sunshine is your best source from March to September in the UK, with eggs, oily fish and dairy also good sources.
- Vitamin E: This is actually more important for dad’s to be, as good levels of Vitamin E are associated with good sperm health. Consider sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, dark green vegetables, eggs, butter and offal (dads only).
- Vitamin C: Good sources are actually found in many fresh vegetables, berries and apples before we consider citrus fruit (a relief if you don’t like oranges!) The birth control pill can deplete our Vitamin C, so this is worth considering.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Another piece in the antioxidant jigsaw. Good for dad and mum, and found in seafood and offal.
- Lipoic Acid: another antioxidant that actually helps to prolong the usefulness of the other antioxidants.
- Vitamin B6: Want to decrease your morning sickness? B6 is vital, so aim for bananas, turkey, salmon, cruciferous greens (green leafy vegetables) and tuna.
- Vitamin B12: Levels of this vitamin can decrease the more children you have had, and characteristically can lead to irregular or missed periods. Good sources include shellfish (avoid once pregnant), beef, lamb, cheese and eggs. Crucially there is no vegetarian source, so this needs supplementation. Vitamin B6 is needed to help absorb B12, so bear this in mind too.
- Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): The only vitamin conventionally recommended in pregnancy, and still vital for foetal development. Lentils, beans (no, not Heinz I’m afraid), asparagus and spinach are all excellent sources.
- Iron: A mineral that is best taken in a wholefood form, as supplementation (even in cereals) is hard for our bodies to absorb. Spinach, tofu, sesame, lentils, beans, red meat and molasses – found in dark sugars – are best sources.
- Selenium: Dads need this to get a good sperm count, so look for liver, most fish and turkey. (Vegetarians need to look for Crimini mushrooms).
- Zinc: So vital for everyone, and sadly lacking in our diets as cooking and processing destroys sources of zinc. Dark meats, sesame, pumpkin seeds, green peas, turkey and yoghurt are good examples of sources.
- Fatty Acids/Omega 3: If you have ever picked up a Health Tip from our Chiropractic Centre in Linton, you’ll know how much we love omegas for helping everything from brain function to wound healing. Fish oils, animal fat, butter, flax seeds and chia seeds are all great sources.
So there you go, I’d be pleased to answer any questions, just comment below or email us and I can discuss. This nutrition information is based on research from many sources, including colleagues and trusted authors. I can provide more information on request.