Categories
Health & Nutrition Pregnant

Essential Nutrients for Pregnant Mums

Pregnant mums require extra nutrients to support the growth and healthy development of the foetus. Read on to find out the essential nutrients that pregnant mums should be consuming!

 

  • Folic acid/Folate – to prevent birth defects

Folic acid or folate is a B vitamin that is crucial because it prevents babies from being born with neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. In fact, folic acid is so important, it is recommended to consume 400 to 800mcg per day starting from three months before conception and throughout pregnancy.

Sources rich in folic acid include leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, lentils and avocado. There is no risk of consuming excess folate from foods that naturally contain folate as it can be easily passed out in urine.

Avocado is rich in folate and contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

 

  • Calcium – to strengthen bones

Calcium is required for strong bones and teeth, as well as to ensure that your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run the way they should. Calcium helps your baby develop a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles and a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. Apart from dairy products, salmon, spinach, tofu, edamame and almonds are foods rich in calcium. You should consume 1,000mcg daily.

 

  • Vitamin D – for calcium absorption

Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and also helps to build your baby’s bones and teeth. Ideally, you should consume 600 IU per day. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel contain Vitamin D. Soy milk and egg yolks also contain Vitamin D. Otherwise, 5-10 minutes in the sun lets your body make Vitamin D naturally too.

 

  • Iron – to prevent iron deficiency anemia

Pregnant women require twice the amount of iron to create blood that supplies oxygen to their foetuses. Insufficient iron levels may lead to a condition known as iron deficiency anaemia, resulting in fatigue.

In severe cases, there is a risk of premature birth and postnatal depression. Get your iron requirements met from lean red meat, beans and vegetables. Pregnant women require 27mg of iron daily.

Beef steak is a good source of iron.

 

  • Zinc – to help baby’s cells grow and replicate

Zinc is a necessary nutrient throughout all stages of pregnancy. Pregnant women should consume 12mg to 15mg of zinc daily. Zinc deficiency may cause pre-eclampsia, a condition characterised by abrupt hypertension, swelling and high protein levels in urine.

Fortunately, it is uncommon to suffer from a zinc deficiency as zinc is present in most foods in our diet such as beef, crab meat, poultry, nuts and beans.

 

  • Protein – encourages foetal growth

Protein encourages foetal cell growth and provides amino acids that boosts brain, bone and muscle development. Protein helps your breast and uterine tissue to grow and increases blood supply during pregnancy. Conversely, a lack of protein may cause poor bone, muscle and joint development and birth defects.

A mother should ideally consume 70g of protein daily from foods like peanut butter, eggs, meat and tofu.

 

  • Iodine – to develop your baby’s brain and nervous system

220mcg of iodine per day is recommended to develop your baby’s brain and nervous system and regulate its metabolism. Iodine is also responsible for thyroid gland regulation and a lack of iodine has been found to cause an increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and preterm delivery.

While it may sound stressful having to meet the daily nutritional requirements, most of the nutrients are already present in foods that we consume daily. Choose to eat more green leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts to keep a healthy diet throughout pregnancy. Some pregnant mums throw up whatever they eat, and their gynaecologist would usually prescribe multivitamin supplements to help them obtain the essential nutrients a pregnant mum needs.

Pregnant mums, do you take plenty of fresh foods to obtain a healthy mix of nutrition too?

Categories
Health & Nutrition Toddlers

Recipe: 3 Healthy and Nutritious Chinese Soups Your Kids Will Love

Nothing quite beats a comforting bowl of hot nutritious soup to end the day.

For the Chinese, soups are often a part of their daily meals. Bowls of nutritious goodness are served up over generations and they make a delicious dish on its own, or as a perfect complement to rice and dishes.

Healthy broths are easy to prepare, and they pack a punch of flavour and taste to tease the palates. Families can easily enjoy soups by cooking them over the stove, or simply putting the ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning, and return home to soup that has been simmered for hours.

Using readily available ingredients, we share 3 popular Chinese soup recipes to delight soup lovers, while nourishing your family’s health. For children under one, some parents prefer to serve soups sans salt, so salt to taste is optional. Feel free to substitute pork with chicken according to your family’s preference. Bowls up and enjoy!

Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup Recipe

 


Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres water
  • 300g pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
  • 250g lotus root, peeled and sliced
  • 5 red dates, washed and slit
  • 2 honey dates, washed and slit
  • 1 can braised peanuts, or peanuts from the dried goods section (optional, or if child has peanut allergy)
  • Dried scallops (optional, or if child has seafood allergy)
  • Salt to taste

Steps:

  1. Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add water, honey dates, red dates, lotus root, blanched pork ribs and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce flame to low fire and simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours.
  3. Add peanuts and salt, and serve.

Nutritional Benefits:
Lotus roots are loaded with essential minerals such as iron, fibre, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. They are believed to improve immunity and digestion, helps in constipation and boosts energy levels.

 

Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe

 


Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres water
  • 50g ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 3 well beaten eggs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp wolfberries (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Steps:

  1. Bring water to boil and add ikan bilis to prepare broth. Boil and simmer for 30-45mins, and remove ikan bilis.
  2. Add spinach, garlic and wolfberries and cook until the spinach begins to wilt.
  3. Stir the mixture and allow broth to swirl, then carefully pour in the eggs, while stirring the broth. The eggs will cook upon contact with the broth and create ribbons. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.

Nutritional Benefits:
Ikan bilis are high in calcium and proteins which are needed for strong bones, teeth and healthy cellular functions. These little fish also boost iron and healthy polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 fatty acids) which are essential for healthy red blood cells, as well as brain and eye development. In addition to iron and proteins, Popeye’s favourite spinach is packed with niacin, zinc and Vitamins A, C, E and K, important nutrients to support heart health and promote healthy skin and hair.

 

Corn Carrot Potato Soup Recipe

 


Corn Carrot Potato Soup Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
  • 2 litres water
  • 2 corn cobs, cut to chunks
  • 2-3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut to chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut to chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 1 tomato, sliced to wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt, to taste

Steps:

  1. Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add water and all ingredients (except salt) and bring to boil. Once boiling, simmer over low fire for another 40-50 mins. Season to taste with salt.

Nutritional Benefits:
Corn, carrots, potatoes, celery and tomatoes are brimming with flavonoids, antioxidants, and are excellent sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They help to protect our body from infections, support our nervous system and keep our metabolism healthy.

These homemade Chinese soup recipes are favourites with many families for their quick and easy preparation methods, and hearty nutritional benefits especially for children. Soups are also a brilliant way of meeting the day’s fluid intake as we raise healthy, world-ready children by eating well.

What are some of your family’s favourite soups? Do share them too!