Approximately 55 % of calories should come from carbohydrates, which are found in bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn and other grain products. To begin with a pregnant woman does however need extra vitamins and minerals essential to their diet during this period of time. In the first 3 months of pregnancy, a woman needs folic acid. This is a B group vitamin, known as vitamin B9, its vital during pregnancy to help create the baby’s nervous system. Folic acid also helps prevent neural tube fault and other inherited deformities. Good source of folic acids are barley beans, fruits, green vegetables, lentils, peas and rice.
Secondly, a pregnant woman’s body needs more iron than usual to produce all the blood needed to supply nutrition in the placenta – good sources of iron are green vegetables, and whole meal bread. Iron is more easily absorbed in citrus fruit juice, tea and coffee can interfere with the absorption. Pregnant women usually gain about 10 to 12 kilograms whilst pregnant, though this does depend on the pre pregnancy weight of the mother. Mothers are encouraged to concentrate on the diets quality than quantity, eat cravings, but not replace more healthier nutritious foods; not to ‘eat for two’ because it only leads to unnecessary weight gain; stay away from alcohol intake; do not smoke because its linked with negative growth development; and to drink plenty of fluids.
On the other hand there are foods that are strongly discouraged for pregnant women.Everything mentioned applies to a breastfeeding mother, though they need about 3,000 more calories per day, 30% more protein included in their diet and a lot of water. Also the intake of calcium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin A should be increased to supply the needs of the baby and mother. However if the mothers diet does not consists of enough vitamins continuously, her breast milk concentration will also be low, to prevent this, its recommended that mothers consume a lot of calcium related foods, and that they drink and eat regularly and not skip meals.
Old Age (65+)
As people get older, they tend to eat less, which makes it hard to ensure that their diet has enough variety of foods that includes all the nutrients they need. There are generally predictable changes in dietary needs for the elderly. Many are related to loss of body mass and reduced amount of activity. Less muscle tissue and lower outgoings of energy result in a need for reduced calorie intake otherwise it leads to unnecessary weight gain. When eating less food, the elderly must be careful to select nutritious foods so that change of food intake will provide the nutrients they need. In general, women require fewer calories, yet have nutrient requirements similar to men, and must be especially mindful of their food choices.
Normal changes associated with aging result in higher requirements for some nutrients such as vitamin D, which is necessary for appropriate calcium absorption. The elderly usually get less exposure to the sun and have reduced capacity for skin synthesis of vitamin D, a major source of this nutrient. Loss of the vitamin D and calcium side by the many factors related to loss of bone mineral. This causes vulnerability to fractures and physical issues such as morbidity and mortality.
Elderly adults should consume a well balanced diet and exercise regularly; spend some time outdoors to boost the vitamin D for healthy skin and bones; limit fat and sugar intake such as cakes biscuits and so on; eat foods high in fibre to help bowel health; cut down on salt; eat from a wide variety of food and to share mealtimes with friends and family. Having a balanced diet for the elderly includes – Intake of energy rich foods such as sweets, fried/high fat foods, cereals and starches should be reduced, whilst milk, dairy products, fruits, vegetables especially green leafed vegetables.