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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

National Nutrition Week 2020: Good food habits pregnant women must follow

"Pregnancy is a beautiful-yet-crucial phase in every woman's life but ignorant lifestyle habits can impact the health of a pregnant woman," says online fitness trainer and a sports nutritionist Diksha Chhabra

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | September 7, 2020 2:10:43 pm
eating healthy during pregnancy, pregnancy tips for first-time mothers, pregnancy and healthy eating in lockdown, national nutrition week, indian express newsLocal vegetables, fruits, spices, cereals, grains, lentils, dairy products, etc., are rich and sufficient enough to maintain a healthy balance of food and health. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Being pregnant while a pandemic is on can be distressing. Especially for first-time moms, who are discovering the experience amid a global health crisis. But mothers-to-be have to be mindful of their health, no matter what. While it is natural for them to worry, doctors say all they need to do is take care of is their diet, and not leave the house unless absolutely necessary. As such, Diksha Chhabra, an online fitness trainer and a sports nutritionist shares some tips on how they can eat healthy with whatever is available in the kitchen. Read on.

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“Indian kitchens and pantry are full of nutritious ingredients and superfoods. Our local vegetables, fruits, spices, cereals, grains, lentils, dairy products, etc., are rich and sufficient enough to maintain a healthy balance of food and health — provided the meals are planned properly and eaten along with the right exercise routine. In the current scenario, lack of physical activity and long hours of stressful work — along with mindless eating — can cause many lifestyle problems like diabetes, thyroid, hypertension, PCOD, among others,” she says.

“Pregnancy is a beautiful-yet-crucial phase in every woman’s life but ignorant lifestyle habits can impact the health of a pregnant woman. Gestational diabetes, blood pressure, iron deficiency are some of the most common health issues women face during pregnancy. While a part of it is due to the ever-changing hormones inside her body, a lot can be managed with the right dietary habit.

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“One should make sure all the macro nutrients — the carbs, proteins, fats and fibre — are well-balanced, along with vitamins and minerals. It’s essential for an expecting mother to stay active throughout the pregnancy. A relaxed walk, yoga stretches on a daily basis, can help,” Chhabra adds.

Basic nutrition requirements

* Calcium, folic acid, iron and protein are required because they play a vital role in the development of the foetus.
* Vitamin B is present in cereals, green leafy vegetables, legumes and citrus fruits, and must be consumed.
* Have milk, yoghurt, cheese, green leafy vegetables and fish, because they provide calcium and iron, and help in the growth of the baby.
* A pregnant woman needs double the amount of iron than a regular person, lack of which can cause the haemoglobin levels to drop. Green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits are a must.
* Grains, dairy and legumes are rich sources of protein and should be a part of the everyday diet of an expecting mother.

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How can improper nutrition and bad food habits affect the health of the mother and her unborn baby?

“It can have a long-term impact. It can cause babies to be born lower cognitive functioning, and disruptive emotional issues, too. Women who are deprived of nutrients can have long-term health issues like osteoporosis, anaemia, thyroid and diabetes. Mothers who don’t eat well, expose themselves and their babies to long-term health risks,” concludes Chhabra.

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