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Kavita Devgan's Recipe For A Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

Kavita Devgan

Kavita Devgan
06 March 2020

This article is authored by Kavita Devgan. Kavita is an acclaimed nutritionist with 20 plus years of experience as a weight loss and holistic health consultant.

When you are pregnant you need to be even more careful about what you plate. After all, a healthy pregnancy is a healthy baby in the making, and there is no way that you can take chances with that at all.

What the mother eats, influences not just the general health but also the neurological and physiological development of the foetus, and only a well-nourished woman can optimally nourish the baby growing inside her. Besides, a healthy diet is imperative to gain enough energy and stamina during pregnancy. That is why pregnant women must learn how to max both, their happiness as well as their health quotient.

Healthy Pregnancy Diet

First, the basics

Calorie requirements vary from women to women but most women need approximately 300 extra calories per day to meet the increased metabolic needs of pregnancy. That said, don’t eat in excess to avoid gaining too much weight (it’ll be a task shaking it off after delivery!). Get enough fibre through fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals. Avoid processed or refined foods and eat un-polished legumes. Eat variety of foods to score a wide range of essential nutrients. Stay hydrated; drink about eight to ten glasses of fluid (2 to 2.5 litres) daily during pregnancy.

Protein Rich Food Pregnancy

Take protein seriously

Average daily requirement of protein is 0.8 - 1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means an average woman weighing 60 kg will need about 48 - 60 gm of protein per day. The need for protein though goes up substantially during pregnancy as it is needed to form new cells and build the body of the foetus. According to Nutrition Foundation of India, during pregnancy, this requirement goes up by 23 grams per day and a deficiency can have a drastic negative effect on the health of both the mother and the foetus / baby.

Focus on both right quantity (required number of grams) as well as high quality protein to meet the needs. Get it from animal products like meats, milk and eggs or vegetarian sources like nuts and seeds, milk and other dairy products, pulses and soya products. Vegetarian women must get all the essential amino acids by eating a wide variety and making smart pairs by combining vegetables with grains and legumes or seeds.

Don’t fight the fat

Fat provides compounds that are essential for cells to form. They also deliver vitamin E that protects growing cells. So, stick to good fat sources. Focus on omega 3 (fatty fish, flax seeds, walnuts) and good fats like nuts and seeds and avoid trans fats (fried and processed foods) completely.

The necessary nutrients

The necessary nutrients

Iron needs greatly increase during pregnancy to support the increase in maternal blood volume, formation of haemoglobin, normal development of the foetal circulatory system, and foetal iron that the baby will continue to use after birth. Get it from: Dark green leafy vegetables (cauliflower greens, mustard greens, chulai or amaranth, parsley, mint) Dried beans (especially soya, cowpea, kidney, bengal gram roasted) Dried fruits like raisins, dried apricots and dates. Fruits like prunes, water melon Eggs (especially egg yolks) Liver, red meat Sea food Whole grains (bajra, buckwheat), iron-fortified cereals Iron from vegetables, fruits, grains, and supplements is harder for the body to absorb. If you mix some lean meat, fish, or poultry (haem iron) with beans or dark leafy greens at a meal, you can improve absorption of vegetable sources of iron up to three times. Also, foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, amla, guava, capsicum and other fresh fruits help increase iron absorption.

Adequate zinc levels in pregnancy help prevent infectious diseases, avoid abnormally long labour, and support foetal growth. Zinc and iron are found in many of the same foods (meats, and dried beans).

Calcium is an important mineral that a mother-to-be needs. An increase in dairy products like skim milk, cheese, yoghurt, puddings etc., is an easy way to consume lots of calcium. Good non- dairy sources of calcium include salmon, broccoli, beans, sesame seeds, figs, beans, and almonds.

Folic acid, a B vitamin that is needed to prevent anaemia in the mother and neural tube defects in the baby. The body also needs folate to produce and maintain new blood cells. Include green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, unpolished rice, whole cereals, dried legumes, nuts, fresh oranges in daily diet.

Finally, a word of caution - Don't take supplements without consulting your doctor. Too much vitamin A, B6, C, D, E, or K, or too much zinc, iron, or selenium, can be harmful during pregnancy. Striking a balance through your diet is the key.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Hypertension In Women

Karishma Chawla

Karishma Chawla
27 October 2020

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert. She advises people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or to achieve a specific health-related goal.

Hypertension is quite often considered a men’s health problem, but that’s a myth. In fact, men and women have a similar risk of developing high blood pressure. But after the onset of menopause, women actually face higher risk than men of developing high blood pressure. Although prior to 45 years of age, men are slightly more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing inside the lining of arteries. High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the force increases and stays higher than normal for a period of time.

Hypertension is often referred to as a silent killer. If untreated, it can lead to a major health set back and cause many complications. In most cases, there may not be any symptoms of high blood pressure. Sometimes, in case of sudden or severe increase in B.P., individuals may experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or nosebleeds. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and kidney failure. These problems worsen when high blood pressure is present along with diabetes. For women, high blood pressure during pregnancy can be dangerous for both mother and child.

What causes it? Reasons for high blood pressure

Eat Breakfast

• Genetic factors: Hereditary factors – one of the leading reasons for high blood pressure, which worsen when the environmental factors are not healthy.

• Body weight: Obesity and diabetes along with their associated disorders are often associated with hypertension.

• Age:Chances of a high blood pressure diagnosis increase steeply with age. But research now shows that high blood pressure can affect adolescents and the young as well.

• Gender: Risk is greater in men than women, but after menopause, the difference decreases.

• Dietary factors: Some dietary factors that can contribute to high blood pressure include excess calories coming saturated fats, diets that contain high sodium foods, and less calcium and magnesium in the diet

• Potassium: Decrease in potassium intake and low intake of high potassium foods like fruits and vegetables can also lead to increase in heart rate and high blood pressure.

• Contraceptives: Certain oral contraceptive pills may lead to high blood pressure

• Lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle devoid of exercise can contribute to high blood pressure. Stress, smoking, tobacco intake, and alcohol intake also lead to increase in high blood pressure.

• Other medical conditions High blood pressure can also be a result of other medical conditions such as kidney problems, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Hormone issues such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome and Hyperaldosteronism (increase in aldosterone) and preeclampsia in pregnancy are responsible for high blood pressure diagnosis.

Measures to reduce high blood pressure

Reduce sodium intake
It is important to note that it’s not the consumption of salt but excessive consumption of sodium is a concern. Sodium is a compound found naturally in foods. One teaspoon of salt contains 2400 milligrams of sodium and the amount recommended for daily consumption is approximately the same. The amount of recommended sodium intake reduces further to approximately 1500 mg under conditions such as hypertension, kidney issues, water retention, and heart condition to name a few. But these problems are usually correlated with high consumption of sugar and fat. Hence it is beneficial to avoid foods such as processed foods, salted snacks, pickles, papad, sauces and instant soups. These are some known sources of excess sodium and not the usual home cooked foods.

It’s important to avoid sprinkling excess salt at the table. Rather use adequate salt during cooking and experiment with reduced sodium salt after conferring with your physician. Tata Salt Liteis a good option for those looking to reduce sodium intake. It provides 15% reduced sodium than regular salt. Inclusion of herbs and spices like like coriander, ginger, turmeric, mint, garlic or lemon juice can also help improves the taste and flavour of the food.

Improve intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium How to Increase Immune System
This can be done by inclusion of low-fat dairy products for calcium and green leafy vegetables for magnesium. Fruits and vegetables rich in potassium are bananas, watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, sweetlime, leafy vegetables, milk and almonds. Eating three to five servings of these foods daily would ensure sufficient potassium intake and regulate blood pressure.

Reduction in refined carbohydrates
Though this is not a direct connection, but the preparations and the nature of these foods usually contain excess sodium for taste and preservation purposes. Add omega 3 foods such as fatty fish, walnuts and flaxseeds to reduce blood pressure.

DASH DietDash Diet has been found to be a good approach for the treatment of hypertension. This diet emphasizes consumption of fruits, vegetables, low sodium, and low-fat dairy foods. It also includes low amounts of saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol to reduce blood pressure. This includes whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts and other foods rich in potassium, calcium, omega 3 and magnesium.

Lifestyle MeasuresLifestyle measures include regular exercise of 30 minutes daily, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga, avoidance of rage and anger, adequate sleep, low alcohol intake, no smoking and normal body weight with low body fat percentage.

High blood pressure can affect the physical, professional, personal and economical life of any individual. As women tend to juggle multiple priorities, managing their own health often takes a back seat. It is advisable to take some judicious measures such as dietary and lifestyle modifications in order to prevent the onset of hypertension, control it and minimize its risks.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 



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