That time of the year is here when everyone must come together to discuss and exchange information and ideas related to nutrition- the National Nutrition Week. Every year it is celebrated from the 1st of September to the 7th of September. The theme of national nutrition week varies every year, but the end goal remains the same- to end malnutrition in India and work towards bringing back nutritious foods to the plates of people. The condition of our country regarding nutrition and healthy eating is not that great. In fact, the Micronutrient Deficiencies That Indian Children Commonly Face hasn't even been addressed adequately yet.

However, the same is the case with pregnancy nutrition. Pregnancy nutrition doesn't receive the amount of attention it should be. A pregnant woman's diet is the sole source of the baby's nourishment and highly determines the child's future health as well. Therefore it is essential that the pregnant women choose a healthy variety of nutrient-rich foods and beverages to cater to the child's needs for growth and development.

We got in touch with Ms Swati Bhushan, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Hiranandani Hospital and asked for a few nutritional tips that she would like to send across to all the mothers-to-be. Ms Swati believes that pregnancy nutrition holds a lot of importance in the overall health of both the mother and the child. She says, 'During pregnancy, one needs increased nutrition; both to support the rapidly growing foetus and to allow for the fluctuations occurring in expectant mothers’ bodies. Food cravings happen due to the interplay of hormones, and at times high-Calorie intakes can have an adverse impact on the baby’s growth and development. Key to a successful pregnancy is eating a variety of foods from each food groups, each day to meet nutritional requirements.' She further explains the importance of each nutrient during pregnancy that a mother-to-be must include in her diet.

Here Are the Essential Nutrients and Their Source Foods a Pregnant Woman Must Include in Her Diet.

  1. Protein- Include Milk and milk products, Egg, Fish & Chicken, Pulses, whole Grains, Soybean, Nuts & Seeds, provide protein and should be a part of the daily diet
  2. Iron- Include Rajgira, Quinoa, Chana & Masoor dal, Kabuli chana/ Chola, Kuleeth/ Kulthi, Matki, Kala Chana, Rajmah, Soybean, Beetroot & curry leaves, Methi, Pudhina, Til, Jeera, Dhania, Ajwain, black Kishmish, Hing, Kali Mirch, Haldi, Methi dana, Lavang, Jayitri, Elaichi, Imli, Egg Yolk & Gud to prevent Iron deficiency
  3. Folate- Include Quinoa, Sarson ka Saag, Palak, Kari Patta, Arbi leaves, Parsley, Pudhina, Shatavari, Broccoli, Beetroot, Mango, Avocado (Makhanphal), Sem phalli, Dals & Pulses, Soybean, Til. Fish is the most abundant source of Folate.
  4. Vitamin-B12- Include Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Milk and milk products, they are all excellent sources
  5. Zinc- Include Pumpkin, Watermelon & Sunflower seeds, Til and Kaju. Other fair sources are Whole grains, Quinoa, Peanuts, Dals & Pulses, Soybean, Egg yolk and Almonds.
  6. Calcium- Include Milk & Milk products, Ragi, Rajgira, Qunioa, Kuleeth/ Kulthi, Soybean, Chaulai, Paan, Arbi leaves, Saijan/Sheng and its leaves, Methi, Ganth Gobhi, Parsley, Muli Patta, Kari Patta, Pudhina, Badam, Til, Rai, Kardi ke beej, Kali Mirch & Alsi.
  7. Vitamin-D- A sensible balance of sun protection and exposure can ensure that pregnant women are not at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Good dietary sources of Vitamin D are Eggs and Fish like Mackerel (bangda), Sardines (tarli) & Salmon (Ravas)
  8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids- Palak, Alsi, Sabja Seeds, Akhrot and Soybeans; also fish like Salmon (Rawas), Sardines (Tarli) & Mackerel (Bangda)
  9. Choline- Include Milk and milk products, Chicken, Fish and Eggs to get enough Choline in the diet. It is recommended to consume fish not more than 200 – 300 grams per week to prevent Mercury Intoxication.

There you future mothers, include these food items in your diet for a healthy pregnancy. Remember, a healthy diet during pregnancy serves as a foundation for a healthy child. Also, once the child is born, the child's first food should be the mother's breast milk as it is beneficial for both the mother and the child. Here are 14 Advantages of Breastfeeding For The Baby and The Mom

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 03, 2018 11:04 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website