Taking care of our diet plan is important throughout our lives. However, it is even more important to take care of the diet, once you conceive. This is because whatever you eat during pregnancy has a direct impact on your baby.
During pregnancy, you should opt for a wide range of nutrients that will encourage healthy development of your baby. One of the most important nutrients that you should compulsorily include in your pregnancy diet is zinc. This is because zinc comes with several benefits, which are extremely important for the mother as well as the baby.
The Role of Zinc During Pregnancy
Prevents Birth Defects
Consuming zinc during pregnancy is important because it protects several birth-related defects. Furthermore, zinc deficiency can cause other problems, such as miscarriage and low birth weight.
While it is true that the importance of folic acids during pregnancy is much advertised, the fact remains that zinc plays an equally important role for promoting healthy pregnancy and contributing in perfect development of the baby.
Promotes Several Bodily Activities
Zinc encourages functioning of at least 300 enzymes, which in turn, activates greater number of physical activities. These activities are crucial during pregnancy because they promote infant growth, fetal and embryo development.
It Helps in the Development of Genetic Blueprint of the Body
Zinc is needed for production and development of DNA-which is also the basic genetic blueprint of the body. Furthermore, zinc encourages growth and replication of healthy cells. During pregnancy, the baby goes through rapid cell growth and for this reason, it is important to include zinc in your diet plan at every stage of your pregnancy.
Supports Your Immune System
Another advantage of zinc is that it supports and strengthens your immune system. It even helps in faster healing of wounds and enhances your sense of smell as well as taste.
How Much Zinc Do You Need
Pregnant women should consume at least 11 mg of zinc during pregnancy. While breastfeeding, try to increase your zinc intake to 12 mg.
Good Sources of Zinc
Good sources of zinc include red meat, crab, veal liver, and oysters. If you are a vegetarian, you can opt for zinc-rich foods, such as, chickpeas, squash and pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, dried watermelon seeds, fortified cereals, tofu, nuts, low fat yogurt whole grain sandwiches, and beans.
It is important to note that oysters are the richest source of zinc, but it is better to avoid raw oysters during pregnancy.
Should You Take Zinc Supplements
If you are eating a reasonably well-balanced diet, it may not be necessary to opt for zinc supplements. However, in certain cases (for example if you are a vegetarian who do not have the time to eat a healthy diet), your doctor may suggest you to opt for zinc supplements.
It is true that zinc provides you with several benefits. However, consuming zinc in excess is not a good idea and may lead to several problems. For best results, ask your doctor about your ideal intake of zinc and food sources of the nutrient.