A lot of people believe that a woman should eat meat when she is pregnant because vegetarian diet cannot provide her with the nutrients that are required by her body during pregnancy. Infact it is also believed that vegetarians tend to transfer lesser nutrients to the unborn baby during pregnancy. But contrary to this belief, even a vegetarian diet can be very healthy and by following certain ways and getting some nutrients in abundance, a vegetarian pregnant woman too can match up a non-vegetarian pregnant lady. Here’s how:
- If a vegetarian woman gets a lot of Omega-3s fatty acids in her diet, then this can help with the development as well as function of fetus. The recommended dose of Omega-3 fatty acids is twice a week. Some sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include zinc, folate and iron. Pregnant vegetarians can get this nutrient through walnuts and flaxseed.
- Protein is another important nutrient which is mainly found in non-vegetarian food and is recommended for a pregnant woman. A vegetarian pregnant woman can get her share of protein by consumption of milk, eggs, lentils, cheese, soy products and beans. Pregnant woman is advised to have 150 grams of protein per day.
- Another way to make sure that vegetarian pregnant females get as many nutrients as their meat eating counterparts is by incorporating enough calcium in diet. Pregnant vegetarians are advised to have four servings of calcium per day and this can be done by having products like soy, milk, cheese, tofu, yogurt, kale, spinach, broccoli, seeds, nuts, dried fruit and cottage cheese. But at the same time, calcium must always be combined with a calcium absorbing nutrient such as Vitamin D. Calcium is important because it helps in the health bone development, teeth development and muscle development of the fetus.
- Vitamin B12 is very important for the production of healthy tissue and cells. Infact this vitamin is also important for breastfeeding. Pregnant women are advised to have 1.5 mg serving of this vitamin on a daily basis. Some food products which can supplement this Vitamin are milk, soy milk, egg yolk and miso.
- Antioxidants are very important for a pregnant woman and help in providing immunity to the mother and the baby. Vegetarian pregnant women can supplement enough antioxidants by getting 6 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruit every day.
- Iron is another important nutrient for fetal development and helps in the sustenance of maternal blood volume increase. Every pregnant female must have around 27 mg of iron per day and for this, a vegetarian pregnant female must supplement herself with nuts, legumes, dark green vegetables, enriched grains and whole grains.
- Folic acid is another nutrient which is especially important during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This nutrient prevents neutral tube defects and some natural and vegetarian sources of folic acid which vegetarian pregnant females can opt for are legumes and green leafy vegetables. To supplement this, you can take a multivitamin which provides 600 mcg per day.
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