Nutrition Tips for Mothers (Pregnancy-Aging)

Nutrition Tips for Mothers (Pregnancy-Aging)

Pregnancy: Three important nutrients for pregnant women are calcium, iron, and folic acid. Pregnant women over 18 need about 1000 mg/day of calcium, about 27 mg/day of iron, and 600 mcg of folic acid. 1 cup of milk has about 275-300 mg of calcium. Iron can be found in beef, pork, beans, fortified cereals, and more. Leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, and many grains contain folic acid. Supplementation during pregnancy may be needed to reach requirements so make sure you discuss with your doctor. Some foods to watch out for during pregnancy include fish with high levels of mercury, foods with a high listeria risk, and alcohol. Fish with high levels of mercury include swordfish,
shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and more. Mercury can be harmful for your baby. Avoid unpasteurized juice and milk because they can contain listeria which can make you sick and harm your baby. This also includes foods made from unpasteurized milk such as certain cheeses (feta, Brie, queso blanco, etc.). Heat deli meats and hotdogs to steaming hot to kill any listeria which may be growing on them. Sprouts are another common source of listeria so avoid consuming them pregnancy. Avoid drinking while pregnant.
Breastfeeding: Lots of fluid is lost during breastfeeding so staying hydrated is an important concern. It is best to abstain from alcohol if you choose to breastfeed. Mercury levels in fish are also still a concern for breastfeeding mothers so stay away from fish known too contain high levels.
Young Mothers: Even after you wean your baby off of breast milk or if you choose not to breastfeed proper nutrition is important for your own health. Remember that balance is key and you should be consuming foods from all 5 food groups. Whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables are the cornerstones of good nutrition. Eating right can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight and can even lower your chances of getting diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. As a mother it is also your responsibility to set a good example for your children and teach them the importance of eating right.
Older Mothers/Grandmothers: As you get older your nutrition needs start to vary slightly. Food intake generally decreases as you get older, so it is important to make good choices on the foods you do consume. Many older adults develop conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These conditions will play a role in what foods are best for you to eat. After menopause you are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Your calcium needs increase to 1200mg per day after 50 so make sure you are getting enough dairy. Weight gain can be another issue after menopause so exercise becomes even more important.

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