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Nine Months: 5 Important nutrients pregnant women must include in their diet

In this video, mum Avantika Kukreti discusses the five key nutrients that are essential for pregnant mums. Aren’t you curious to know what these five nutrients are, and why you should care about them?

As a pregnant mum, you must be hearing and taking in a lot of advice about your diet.  What is the right diet for you? What are the nutrients that you must take in on a daily basis for the sake of your health and your baby’s proper development?

In this video, mum Avantika Kukreti discusses the five key nutrients that every pregnant women must include in her diet.

1. Iodine - Crucial for brain development

Topping the list of important nutrients is iodine. According to WHO, iodine is essential for healthy brain development in the foetus and young child. A woman’s iodine requirements increase substantially during pregnancy. This is because the mum’s body has to ensure adequate supply of iodine to the foetus.  

Iodine is required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which produces Thyroid hormones that control the body’s metabolism and many other important functions. Thyroid hormones are needed for bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.

Most foods are relatively low in iodine but there is a common source of iodine that is is found in every kitchen. It’s salt!

You generally don’t eat your food without salt, right? The best thing to do is to go for iodised salt such as Tata Salt for your daily intake. Tata Salt is India’s first nationally branded iodised salt.

2. Protein - The neurotransmitters builder

Protein plays an important role to build your baby’s body and organs, including her muscles, nerves (neurotransmitters) and brain. It is also needed to help create skin and hair. Not only this, adequate intake of protein can also help avoid stillbirth and pre-term births.

Good sources of protein include meats, fish, dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt), soy products and nuts.

3. Iron - Essential for neurogenesis

Iron is an essential component of haemoglobin. It is the protein in your red blood cells that is crucial for the transportation of oxygen throughout your body. Iron is also essential for your baby’s brain development. It helps in the development of brain processes such as myelination, neurotransmitter production, and energy metabolism.

During your pregnancy, one should be having more iron-rich foods to avoid anemia due to iron deficiency.

Meat, fish, dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach or kale), fruits (such as watermelon, raisins, and apricots) and beans (kidney, lentils, soy and peas) are some of the fine sources of iron.

4. Zinc - The builder of DNA and RNA

Pregnant mum, your baby needs zinc for her cell growth and for the production and functioning of DNA and RNA, which forms the genetic blueprint of the body.  

You should get enough zinc in your diet so that your baby’s cell growth is rapid. This mineral is also needed for the health of the immune system; zinc deficiency is also linked to low birth weight and other problems during pregnancy, labour, and delivery.

Meat, yogurt, cashews, almonds, milk, cheese, and baked beans are some good food sources of zinc for pregnant women.

5. Folic Acid - The nervous system builder

Folate (or its synthetic form - folic acid) is a type of  Vitamin B (Vitamin B9) that helps the body to form red blood cells and promotes healthy cell division.

It is a crucial nutrient especially during the first 28 days of pregnancy. In that period, the baby’s central nervous system begins to develop.

If a pregnant mum does not have enough folate nutrition in her diet, it could cause brain and spinal defects in the baby.

Eggs, fruits (such as avocados, papaya, and mangoes), dark green vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and asparagus), and beans (such as chickpeas and mung beans) are great sources of folic acid.

So, pregnant mum, now you know why you should eat healthy to support your baby’s healthy brain development.

A visual how-to-survival guide, Nine Months brings expert advice, knowledge and perspective to make your pregnancy an easy and a memorable experience for you.