Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother’s Nutrition during Pregnancy – Part 8 – Not Found in Most Prenatal Vitamins!

Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother's Nutrition during Pregnancy - Part 8 - Not Found in Most Prenatal Vitamins!

Not Found in Most Prenatal Vitamins!

Chromium is a mineral that works with insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. This can be especially important during pregnancy. Only 30 micrograms a day are needed, but many people don’t get enough. Food sources include brewer’s yeast, onions, broccoli, turkey, tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, grape juice, ham, potatoes, green beans, (yes) liver, beef, chicken, oysters, eggs, wheat germ, green peppers, apples, bananas, and spinach. It’s also in butter, molasses, and black pepper. I won’t mention that it’s present in beer, because that’s definitely not for right now! (Except, perhaps, for alcohol-free beer. This still can still have a small amount of alcohol in it – Muslims and liver transplant recipients are urged not to drink it – but the amount of alcohol is similar to the amount in orange juice. It seems fine to me, in moderation, if it doesn’t whet your appetite for the alcoholic variety.)

Chromium is not available in most prenatal vitamins or in most enriched or fortified breads and cereals. A diet rich in whole grains and cereals, however, will probably provide enough chromium.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are literally building blocks of the baby’s developing retinas and brain. It surprises most people, but the brain is about 60 percent fat. Mothers can turn omega-3s into DHA, the premium ingredient now added to a growing number of formulas for babies. DHA crosses the placenta in preference to other similar fatty acids, and becomes the primary structural long chain polyunsaturated fat in the brain – as long as plenty is available. The amount available depends on Mom’s diet. When the supply is lacking, babies assemble their brains from substitute ingredients.

Omega-3’s have many proven benefits in adults, including improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and decreased auto-immune diseases.

Mothers can get what they need in fish, flax seeds, walnuts, vegetable oils (such as canola oil or soybean oil – but not most oils), and to a lesser extent in eggs and meat. Pregnant women need 1.4 grams per day. Ten ounces of salmon and two ounces of walnuts would provide enough omega-3 fatty acids for a pregnant woman for a week. These fatty acids are not present in most prenatal vitamins, but DHA supplements are available. I suspect Omega-3 fatty acids were the main source of my wife Cheryl’s insistent craving for tuna fish sandwiches.

Read More from: Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother’s Nutrition during Pregnancy

Eating for Two: Part 1 – Pregnancy A Special Time
Eating for Two: Part 2 – Folate and Iron
Eating for Two: Part 3 – How Much Folate Do You Need?
Eating for Two: Part 4 – The Gift of Iron
Eating for Two: Part 5 – Vitamin B6 and Iodine
Eating for Two Part 6 – Zinc
Eating for Two: Part 7 – Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Pantothenic Acid, and Omega-3
Eating for Two: Part 8 – Not Found in Most Prenatal Vitamins!
Eating for Two: Part 9 – Calcium!?
Eating for Two: Part 10 – Calories
Eating for Two: Part 11 – Liver
Eating for Two: Part 12 – Chocolate
Eating for Two: Part 13 – Eating for the Future

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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