Mineral salts in pregnancy
As well as vitamins, i mineral salts they are essential components for our health, even if they are needed in very small doses. A varied diet based on the consumption of fresh foods and seasonal vegetables is perfectly able to cover our mineral needs every day, but during the pregnancy some of these trace elements are needed in greater quantities, because they are essential in the development and growth of the fetus. For this reason it is good to make sure you are getting enough and try to satisfy the requests through food, as (however valid) mineral salts supplements pregnant however they are not comparable to natural food.
So let's see below what are the main mineral salts what we need, why they are so important during pregnancy and what to eat during pregnancy to be able to get enough.Read also: Foods to eat during pregnancy
- functions: Essential component of bones and teeth, but not only. Calcium also contributes to blood clotting, nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction.
- Pregnant: The need for calcium is quite high and during pregnancy it is good to make sure you take enough because the growth of the fetus deprives the mother of a good dose of this mineral with the risk of weakening of the bones and more. A calcium deficiency during gestation can in fact cause pre-eclampsia (or gestosis) with an increased risk of cerebral hemorrhages, coma, placental abruption and premature birth, up to death.
- Where to find it? The main source of calcium are milk and dairy products, of which it is recommended to consume at least 3 portions a day, preferring partially skimmed milk, yogurt and fresh cheeses. Adding a sprinkling of grated aged cheese to the first course helps to reach the daily goal of this mineral, as does choosing a mineral water that contains a good amount of it.
Women Vegan during pregnancy, they should be sure to consume calcium-enriched foods or supplements under medical advice.
- functions: essential component of hemoglobin and therefore of red blood cells, it allows the transport of oxygen through the blood to all the cells of our body.
- Pregnant: A iron deficiency it can increase fatigue, weakness and headache typical of pregnancy, but it can also have serious repercussions on the fetus, as it participates not only in the production of hemoglobin, but also in the development of the nervous system.
- Where to find it? The most important sources of iron are animal sources: meat, fish and eggs. Good quantities of this mineral are also contained in legumes, cocoa, seeds and green leafy vegetables, however this iron is less absorbable, so in the case of vegan diets during pregnancy it is good to keep iron levels under control and adopt some strategies to increase their availability, such as sprinkling these vegetables with lemon or orange juice and reducing the consumption of tea and coffee, which contain substances that hinder their absorption.
- functions: magnesium covers many functions in our body, from the transmission of nerve impulses to muscle contraction, from blood pressure regulation to protein synthesis and helps fight stress, fatigue, insomnia and irritability.
- Pregnant: It is essential for the growth of the fetus and, by regulating the pressure, prevents the risk of pre-eclampsia, also a lack of magnesium can cause mood disorders, sleep and nausea.
- Where to find it? Green leafy vegetables, legumes, dried fruit, cocoa, whole grains and seeds are rich in it.
- functions: iodine is a component of thyroid hormones, substances that perform many regulatory functions in our body, such as: body temperature, energy metabolism and bone mineralization.
- Pregnant: during pregnancy its requirement increases and taking it is essential to avoid serious deficiency effects, especially on the nervous system of the unborn child, such as a decrease in IQ and serious diseases such as cretinism. It can also cause goiter and neonatal hypothyroidismand and increase the risk of congenital anomalies, miscarriage and neonatal death.
- Where to find it? Iodine is also present in the air we breathe, especially in coastal areas, but in a rather negligible quantity, so unfortunately it is not enough to breathe sea air to meet its needs. Fortunately, in recent years the good habit of using the sale iodato, which is an excellent source of it.
However, given that excessive consumption of salt is highly harmful, it is recommended to reduce its use (the Ministry of Health has spread the slogan "little salt, but iodized!") And to encourage the consumption of foods that are naturally rich in iodine, such as sea fish and shellfish, but also cow's milk and eggs.
- functions: selenium is a powerful ally of our immune system, it has a high antioxidant action, i.e. it protects our cells from free radical damage and also seems to be very useful against the damaging effect of heavy metals, moreover, as iodine is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Pregnant: A selenium deficiency can weaken our defenses, making our bodies more susceptible to infections, as well as promoting growth retardation and mental retardation.
- Where to find it? The food richest in selenium are Brazilian nuts, followed by: seeds, tuna, whole grains and blue fish.
- functions: mineral less known, but still very important in pregnancy, it is a component of several digestive enzymes and insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. Zinc also has a strong antioxidant and immune defense action.
- Pregnant: zinc also plays a great role in DNA synthesis and cell division, which is why it is particularly important in pregnancy; a deficiency can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.
- Where to find it? The main vegetable sources of zinc are: whole grains, wheat germ, seeds, cocoa and dried fruit, among the animal sources we find fish, veal and lamb. The food richest in this mineral is oysters, which however is not recommended during pregnancy.
Remember that the mineral salts are dispersed in the water, therefore in the diet during pregnancy it is always good to consume a good amount of raw fruit and vegetables, every day. Alternatively i cooking methods best are steaming and boiling or steaming in a pressure cooker. In any case, always reduce the cooking water of the vegetables to a minimum and consume vegetable broths that allow us to benefit from all the minerals that the vegetables have lost in them during cooking.
If you follow a restricted pregnancy diet for particular pathologies or lifestyle choices, always let your doctor know, who will monitor your mineral levels and will suggest the possible need for supplements.