Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor, MegaFood Medical Director | April 2020 |
When you first learn that you’re eating for two, your daily nutrition suddenly comes into sharper focus. While grocery shopping or dining out, you have a new and refreshed mission to ensure that you eat an array of nutritious foods that will provide key vitamins and minerals needed during this time. Here are 4 essential nutrients (along with food sources) to support the optimal health of you and your baby.
Folate is perhaps the most well-known of the crucial nutrients needed for pregnancy.* And since folate is a water-soluble vitamin, it’s ideal to replenish your folate stores daily. Reach for leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula to get more folate in your diet. Beets and beans are also great food sources of folate. If you’re interested in trying beets but are unsure what to do to prepare them, simply roasting beets in the oven with olive oil and salt is a tasty and easy way to go. Yum!
Did you know that 1 in 10 women in the United States is at risk for low iron?Footnote 1 And the likelihood of becoming iron deficient increases during pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will likely keep a close eye on your iron levels throughout pregnancy. Iron has a lot of important jobs to do in the body, such as supporting healthy red blood cell production (requirements are higher during pregnancy).* Food sources of iron come in two main forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found in animal-based food sources and includes beef, turkey, tuna, eggs and shrimp. Non-heme iron is found in vegetarian foods such as beans, tofu, cashews, apricots and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.
Choline is a nutrient that is similar to B vitamins, and often grouped into the “B team”. You may not have heard much about choline yet, but it’s needed to support the healthy development of the baby.* Recent population studies have shown that common diets in the United States may be low or deficient in choline.Footnote 2 One of the best dietary sources of choline? Egg yolks! Consider eating a whole egg to get a choline boost.
4. Vitamin D3
Because Vitamin D deficiency is so widespread, it’s ideal to have your blood levels checked prior to conception, if possible. Many doctors are now routinely ordering Vitamin D along with other standard labs in pregnant women. Optimal levels of vitamin D support bone health in both mom and baby.* Vitamin D also supports immune health.* One of the best ways to get Vitamin D is through sun exposure, but this can be particularly challenging during short, dark days of fall and winter. Food sources of vitamin D include fish such as salmon, eggs, cheese, along with fortified foods like cow milk, dairy alternative plant based milks, and cereals.
Even with a renewed focus on nutrition during pregnancy, it can be challenging to get all of the nutrients that you need from your diet alone. This is where a prenatal multivitamin can play an important role. MegaFood Baby & Me 2™ combines optimal levels of iron, methylated folate and B12, B6, vitamin D and choline for healthy mood balance for moms-to-be,* and is formulated by award-winning integrative medical physician, Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.
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1 Center for Disease Control. Recommendations to Prevent and Control Iron Deficiency in the United States. 2 J Am Coll Nutr. 2016;35(2):108-12. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1080127. Epub 2016 Feb 17. Assessment of Total Choline Intakes in the United States. Wallace TC1, Fulgoni VL 3rd