The superfoods of pregnancy

The superfoods of pregnancy. In 9 months you will give birth. Until then, however, many changes will occur in you and your baby. And because you definitely have a lot of questions about weight and everything you should and should not eat and drink during pregnancy, we made sure you get all the answers.

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Pregnancy. A very special period in a woman’s life, which is accompanied by physiological anatomical, and functional changes that affect almost all the mechanisms of her body. These changes have as their main goal the adequate provision of the necessary nutrients that the fetus needs to develop in the best possible and safe way. Recent scientific data even show that the processes that take place in the fetus before it is even born in its mother’s womb may be directly related to its later life. This is due to the fact that during endometrial life the organs and tissues of the fetus are in a critical period of development (critical period of development) and are significantly affected by the supply of oxygen and nutrients by the mother through the placenta. Therefore, malnutrition of the mother during pregnancy can have significant effects on the health of the child, not only during intrauterine life but also in adulthood.
It is easy to see how important proper nutrition is for a mother during pregnancy. So let’s see what its main features should be:

How much weight should a pregnant woman gain?

Weight gain during pregnancy is a normal and necessary process, which supports the healthy development of the fetus and the smooth outcome of pregnancy. However, if it exceeds either the desired range upwards or downwards then it can lead to a higher risk of complications and problems for both mother and child. For example, increased weight gain during pregnancy is a significant aggravating factor, as it is associated with a higher risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, as well as a higher chance of premature birth, cesarean section, and increased birth weight. weight. Alongside, Research in recent years suggests that increased weight gain during pregnancy may also be associated with long-term health consequences for the baby, such as higher body fat deposition and obesity. Conversely, gaining a woman very little or losing weight when done with a diet can also cause problems.

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So the recommended weight gain in pregnancy varies depending on the body mass index of the expectant mother and is 11.5-16.0 kg for women who start with normal body weight, 7.0-11.5 kg for overweight, and 5, 0-9.0 kg for obese women.

It should be noted that the great development of the fetus, and consequently of the weight, takes place during the last trimester of pregnancy. That is why it is important for the first six months, and especially the first trimester, to keep the weight as controlled as possible. A very common mistake that is made, especially in the first pregnancy, is that a pregnant woman gains weight very abruptly (eg, 7-8 kg in the first two months), and then it is not easy to control her weight.

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How many calories are needed

Energy requirements during pregnancy increase due to the energy costs of pregnancy. Thus, a pregnant woman needs to consume at least 1,800-1,900 calories per day. Any energy adjustments of her diet should be made with special care and with the main focus on the pre-pregnancy weight and the satisfaction of the basic energy and nutritional requirements during the pregnancy period. Even for overweight and/or obese women, the goal during pregnancy is not to lose weight but to control their intake.

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What ingredients should not be missing from her dish

During pregnancy, the increased demands of both the fetus and the mother require a clear increase in the daily intake of nutrients by the pregnant woman. This increase concerns all nutrients, fat, protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and trace elements, vitamins. However, special emphasis should be given to certain nutrients that are considered crucial for the smooth development of the fetus, but also the general health of both him and the expectant mother. Specifically:

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Protein

Protein requirements during pregnancy have not yet been determined with absolute precision. Clearly the development of the fetus, especially during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, as well as the normal enlargement of certain organs of the pregnant woman, such as the uterus, placenta, breasts, require an increase in protein intake, especially of animal origin. Therefore, it is recommended to increase the consumption of meat (chicken, turkey, pork, beef, fish, etc.), eggs, and dairy products during pregnancy.

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Minerals and trace elements

  • Iron: One of the most important components of the body during pregnancy is iron. Increasing the pregnant woman’s red blood cell count for optimal blood supply to both herself and the fetus significantly increases iron requirements. For this reason, it is necessary to increase the intake of foods that are sources of iron, such as beef, chicken, dairy products and eggs, and secondarily spinach, broccoli, lentils, beans, dried apricots.
  • Calcium: Calcium is also very important for the development of the fetus. Especially during the third trimester of pregnancy, which is the stage of maximum ossification of the fetus, the requirements increase significantly. Thus, for a pregnant woman, a satisfactory calcium intake ranges from 1,200-1,500 mg per day, ie at least 3 servings of dairy products (1 serving = 1 glass of milk or 1 cup of yogurt). Also, in addition to dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fish ate with bones such as sardines, seafood, and nuts such as almonds and sesame.
  • Folic acid: It is also essential for a pregnant woman. It is a component of many and important physiological processes in the body, as it acts as a coenzyme in various metabolic reactions, such as the synthesis of genetic material, the development of the brain and the wider nervous system, etc. Consequently, during pregnancy, when the anabolic processes of cell formation are increased for both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the requirements for folic acid increase greatly. Sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, fruits, and especially oranges and citrus fruits, legumes, and nuts, which should be included in the daily diet of pregnant women.

At this point, it should be mentioned that during pregnancy a pregnant woman most often takes supplements from the above nutrients, which should be taken into account.

Can a pregnant woman drink alcohol?

Regarding alcohol, animal studies show that alcohol intake during pregnancy reduces the growth of fetal brain cells. In humans, it penetrates the placenta and is concentrated in the developing environment of the fetus. Therefore, excessive intake during pregnancy can cause serious complications, such as miscarriage, developmental, motor, and neurological damage to the fetus. However, despite the obvious side effects of excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy, a minimum intake has not been set. For this reason, the recommendation given is to avoid alcohol consumption as much as possible during pregnancy.

How much coffee to drink?

Caffeine is a substance that passes through the placenta to the fetus and its overconsumption can affect this. The amount of coffee that a pregnant woman will consume has to do with how much caffeine is recommended by experts that she could consume daily. This limit is 200-250 mg, when for a healthy adult it is 400 mg. A hot instant coffee will give us about 110 mg of caffeine and a frappe about 160 mg, based on the usual dosage we use for its preparation (3 g hot or 4 g cold). A filter coffee will give us about 85-100 mg of caffeine, a Greek (based on the average amount of consumption which is 8.5 g of coffee) 70 mg, while if it is double 115 mg. It should also be noted that perhaps more attention needs to be paid to “hidden” sources of caffeine.

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For example, a cup of black tea can give us up to 40 mg. A cola-type soft drink up to 40 mg. An ice tea up to 25 mg. A medium piece of dark chocolate up to 20 mg. It is therefore important for a pregnant woman to take into account the total amount of caffeine she will consume daily from the food and beverages she will consume. As it turns out, one to two cups of coffee a day is not prohibitive for a pregnant woman, always counting the alternative sources of caffeine in her daily diet. So coffee is not forbidden in pregnancy, but, as for many other things, we say “excellent measure”. It is therefore important for a pregnant woman to take into account the total amount of caffeine she will consume daily from the food and beverages she will consume. As it turns out, one to two cups of coffee a day is not prohibitive for a pregnant woman, always counting the alternative sources of caffeine in her daily diet.

So coffee is not forbidden in pregnancy, but, as for many other things, we say “excellent measure”. It is therefore important for a pregnant woman to take into account the total amount of caffeine she will consume daily from the food and beverages she will consume. As it turns out, one to two cups of coffee a day is not prohibitive for a pregnant woman, always counting the alternative sources of caffeine in her daily diet. So coffee is not forbidden in pregnancy, but, as for many other things, we say “excellent measure”.

What not to eat

In addition to what a pregnant woman should eat, there are some that should not, mainly due to their content of “toxic” to the fetus or due to the increased chance of contamination with harmful ingredients or possible alterations. So let’s see what to avoid:

  • Soft cheeses, cold cuts, and pτέtés: Some soft brie or blue Roquefort cheeses, as well as many uncooked types of meat, may contain listeria, a bacterium that can cause listeriosis, with serious consequences for the embryo. Therefore avoid these foods and choose hard cheeses made from pasteurized milk and well-cooked meat products.
  • Uncooked meat: Avoid eating meat or poultry if they are not very well cooked, as they may contain bacteria such as toxoplasma or salmonella. Pay special attention to products such as sausages or foods that contain minced meat.
  • Foods and sweets that contain raw egg: Avoid sweets such as tiramisu, uncooked mousse, or foods such as homemade mayonnaise or various dressings that may contain undercooked or raw eggs, as there is a risk of salmonella infection.
  • Raw fish or seafood: Raw or smoked fish, such as sushi, smoked salmon, or poorly cooked seafood, may contain bacteria or parasites that can cause poisoning and should therefore be avoided.
  • Large fish: Some fish, such as swordfish, tuna, salmon, are high in mercury and should be avoided during pregnancy. Prefer fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, cod.
  • Liver and offal: There is a risk of infection with toxoplasmosis, which can be fatal to pregnancy.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Available research data on sweetener consumption during pregnancy is limited, so it should be avoided.
  • Energy drinks: They contain ingredients such as taurine, inositol, carnitine, and ginseng. The safety of many of these ingredients during pregnancy has not been adequately investigated and it is therefore recommended to avoid them.

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