What women eat while pregnant—and even beforehand, as early as age 10—has a significant impact on the health of the next generation, confirms a study published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. In addition to consuming a varied and balanced diet, researchers emphasize the importance of the following six nutrients:
- Iron, which is depleted by menstruation and the increased demands of pregnancy.
Find it in: meat, liver, nuts, beans, dark leafy greens, tofu
- Iodine, which is vital in the early days of pregnancy.
Find it in: seaweed, seafood, iodized salt
- Folic acid, which is critical before conception and in early pregnancy.
Find it in: dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens and romaine lettuce
- Vitamin B12, which is frequently low or absent in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Find it in: eggs, milk, meat, B12-fortified plant milks, fortified breakfast cereals
- Calcium, which is particularly important for baby’s developing skeleton.
Find it in: dairy products, fish canned with their bones, tofu, beans
- Vitamin D, which is often low in people with limited sun exposure or darkly pigmented skin.
Find it in: fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks