All posts filed under: Pregnancy

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Folic Acid, Folate and Methylfolate: Which is best?

Okay this is a little bit of a technical post, so scroll down to the ‘So what does this mean for you?’ part if you want to skip the first bit. Folic acid is a B vitamin (B9) that is known to be necessary in early pregnancy. Folic acid is actually the synthetic form of folate, which in turn is naturally occurring and mainly found in green vegetables, beans, and lentils. Folic acid supplements are recommended to be taken when trying to conceive and during the first trimester of pregnancy, to prevent neural tube defects in the baby, such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Some research also suggests that folate plays a role in preventing congenital heart disease and oral clefts in the baby, as well as reducing the risk of preterm birth. Folate has a much bigger role in our bodies that just preventing spina bifida though. It is responsible activating, making and repairing our DNA. It is also in charge of cell division, blood cell production and the conversion of homocysteine; a protein …

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Folate rich Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a traditional middle-eastern salad, usually made with bulgur wheat. In this tabbouleh I’ve swapped the bulgur wheat for protein packed quinoa, due to its fabulous nutritional content. Quinoa is not a grain but a seed, rich in many minerals such as magnesium and zinc, as well as protein. Being wheat and gluten free, it is suitable for those with food intolerances. The star of the dish however is the parsley. Parsley is particularly rich in folate, the natural form of folic acid (which in turn is only found in supplements). Folate is a type of B vitamin that is well known to be necessary in early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the baby. Folate is also necessary for the prevention of anaemia, whilst reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Parsley also happens to be a great source of vitamin K, which you may know about as it is usually given to babies to prevent Vitamin K deficiency in the newborn. Together with the tomatoes, cucumber, and radishes, this makes a satisfying …

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Banana, Oat and Almond Smoothie

This smoothie is so deliciously indulgent that you’ll think that you’re actually having a milkshake. It is perfect for breakfast on the run, or when you feel like an afternoon treat. It literally takes 2 minutes to make, so there’s no excuse not to make it. We used to make this smoothie at Rose Bakery, a wonderful cafe I used to work at that started in Paris, but is now also in London. This smoothie was very popular, and you’ll know why when you try it. Whenever someone ordered it, I would make a little extra just to I could have some too. As you know, dairy milk is high in calcium, a mineral very much needed during pregnancy for the healthy formation of bones, teeth, nails, as well as the muscles, heart, and nerve development among others. Your need for calcium doubles during pregnancy, and if you don’t get enough to support your baby’s development, your body will remove calcium from your bones, leading to problems later in life such as osteoporosis and brittle bones. I’m …

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Anaemia in Pregnancy

Iron is an essential mineral that has many uses in our body. One of the most important one is that it forms part of the haemoglobin (which in turn forms red blood cells) which carry oxygen to our cells. Anaemia is a deficiency in haemoglobin, which can be due to a number of reasons, one of which is caused by low iron. Iron deficiency anaemia is very common in pregnancy. Your body has to make almost 50% more blood while you’re pregnant to circulate through the placenta and around the body, and therefore your iron requirements also increase. Anaemia doesn’t always cause symptoms but can leave you feeling tired, breathless, weak, and dizzy. It is diagnosed via a blood test checking your haemoglobin level (less than 110g/l is considered low). In the UK, this is normally done at your first consultation, at 28 weeks, and repeated at 36 weeks if it was low at the last sample. Studies have shown that anaemia increases the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight babies, as well …

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The 6 Principles of Nutrition in Pregnancy

When I ask expecting parents what they hope their baby will be like, whether a boy or a girl, most reply that they don’t mind as long as their baby is healthy. Health is central to happiness and wellbeing, and is the benchmark for living a long and fulfilled life. Although we can’t control all factors for health, diet is certainly one that we can and it is unquestionably fundamental to our health. By eating healthily during pregnancy you are giving your baby the best possible start in life.  A healthy diet is also linked to a long list of benefits for mums, such as reducing the risk of developing long term diseases, minimising discomforts of pregnancy, contributing to increased energy and balanced emotional state, maintaining a healthy weight, and the list goes on. The benefits have also been shown to carry on as parents learn and appreciate the importance of eating a healthy diet even after pregnancy and will teach their children to do so too. During pregnancy your developing baby is completely dependent …

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Iron boosting Lentil Salad

I love this salad because not only is it delicious but it can taken for lunch on the go, or be served as a light supper. It is quick to prepare, healthy and very satisfying. I often make a double serving of this salad just so I can have it another day. Lentils and spinach are a rich source of iron, which often drops in pregnancy, and combined with the vitamin C of the lemon juice and other veg, it helps its absorption. Lentils and leafy greens are also abundant in folate- the natural form of folic acid- so are great for those of you trying to conceive or in early pregnancy, as folate is especially important for your baby’s early development. If that wasn’t enough goodness to convince you, lentils are also full of protein and fibre, so will keep you going for longer and help prevent constipation! There are many types of lentils, but for salads I tend to like puy lentils, as they cook quickly and retain their shape when cooked so …