Vegetables, pregnancy and lactation
Pregnancy is a time when there is an increased demand for nutrients, particularly calcium, iron, folic acid, protein, vitamin C and most of the B complex vitamins.
During lactation the body must have extra minerals and vitamins to pass onto baby via the milk supply. Eating plenty of vegetables will help with these demands.
Think of vegetables as being like an insurance policy for good health – for you and your baby.
Fibre is another important nutrient to increase while pregnant. It maintains a healthy digestive system, making you feel more comfortable. All vegetables contain fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as a diverse range of phytonutrients that account for the nourishing attributes of vegetables.
Phytonutrients are natural plant compounds, many of which are responsible for the bright colours in fruits and vegetables. There are hundreds of different phytonutrients, which are far more effective when eaten in the ‘raw’ state instead of through supplements.
Antioxidants are a type of phytonutrient that can be found in abundance in plants. These substances protect the body by neutralising free radicals, or unstable oxygen molecules, which can damage cells and lead to poor health.