Navratri is the festival where nine days of fasting can be observed by a devotee. Many pregnant ladies wish to fast for their religious or personal beliefs. Though it is said that women during pregnancy should be very careful when it comes to fasting because it is not only the mother who needs all the essential nutrients but also the need of the fetus for healthy growth and development.
However, fasting during pregnancy is not as hard as it allows the consumption of various healthy foods at appropriate intervals. But one thing should be remembered by all pregnant ladies that they should not go hungry for long intervals as a baby's nutrition depends on the mother. It is very important to take carbs during pregnancy while fasting. Carbohydrates play a vital role in our growth system. It is an important nutrient source that not only provides energy to muscles and the brain but using the right kind of carbs in the diet can effectively help to provide essential nutrients, build the desired body or accelerate fitness goals.
There are two types of carbs slow and fast carbs which depends on the Glycemic Index ( the rate at which carbs get digested as compared to glucose secretion).
Fast carbs have a high GI and release energy at a much higher pace and get used quickly which makes you feel hungry often and add to weight gain issues. Fast carbs include processed foods such as bread, sugars, starchy vegetables, fruit juices etc.
As compared to this, slow carbs have a low GI and release energy slowly into the body and help to maintain a "satisfied" feeling as your blood sugar levels are maintained.
There are many non-pregnant women who want to shed extra calories. Fasting will be the perfect time to start their fitness journey. To lose weight and stay healthy, the purpose should be to source the right kind of carbs, which release energy slowly and helps you in the long run. Hence, for that, focus on including slow carbs in your diet such as whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans and legumes, vegetables etc. It also tends to be high in fibre.
Should Carbs Be Taken During Fasting?
Although fasting is a very traditional and customary ritual and most people fast for spiritual purification, there is no denying that if you keep yourself nutritionally in check, it can be therapeutic for the body as it can act as a form of detox and keep you healthy as well. So, it is significant to choose the right food while you are on a fast diet to prevent yourself from being deficient in important nutrients as it can make you likely to develop health ailments like weakness, heart problems, skin issues, defective bone growth, etc.
Pregnant women with illnesses such as diabetes, anaemia, high blood pressure should avoid fasting as it could lead to various other complications.
Avoiding carbohydrates will be the last thing you need to do during fasting as it provides energy to the brain and muscles and make you energetic and more productive throughout the day. So, Make sure you are getting enough right kind of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins from different sources and be vigilant about selecting healthy foods rather than munch on processed foods.
There are various food options that include slow carbs and few tips to make your fasting healthier:
Because you are fasting, you tend to eat lesser food than usual, and are hungry at odd times, eating slow carbs foods can help you keep fuller for longer as they take longer to digest and break down. Combine high carbohydrates like potatoes and sabudana (widely used in fasting) with other fibrous vegetables like spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum, bottle guard, etc. Also, try to bake, roast or grill vegetables instead of deep-frying them. Kuttu is a brilliant combination of carbohydrates (70-75 per cent) and protein (20-25 per cent). It is also rich in proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Use it to make chapatti instead of gorging on puris.
Samak rice is extremely easy to digest and provides energy, contains a high amount of fibre, B-complex vitamins and important minerals like iron and magnesium.
Try and adopt healthy snacking and don't binge on puris, sabudana vada, potato chips, and other delicacies as they are loaded with sugar, salt and fat content, Instead, opt for roasted makhana as they loaded with antioxidants or a mixture of nuts (almonds/raisins/walnut)/ baked chips, roasted peanuts, etc.)
Eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Eat small meals and do not starve yourself. This will help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent you from feeling low.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water and fluids like coconut water, lemon water, and buttermilk without adding sugar. These beverages will keep you satisfied for a long time.
While you can gorge on the above-mentioned food items, also try out these healthy recipes this Navratri season:
Sweet potato chaat
1 bowl (250 gms)
Calories-304.5 Cal Carbs-62.09 gms
2-3 Sweet Potatoes (Boiled)
A handful of almonds, peanuts and walnuts
1 tsp Cumin powder and Black pepper
1 tsp chia seeds and roasted flax seeds
Rock salt for taste
1 lemon (for juice)
Boil sweet potatoes and peel them and cut them into small pieces
Now mix the nuts with sweet potatoes
Now add salt, cumin powder and black pepper to it and mix it properly, add lemon juice also
Sprinkle chia seeds and flax seeds
The chaat is now ready to eat
2 pieces (45 gms)
1 cup Kuttu ka Atta / Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Sour Curd
1 /4 tsp Ginger paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Fresh Coriander (Grated)
1 tsp Green Chilli (Chopped)
Clean and wash the buckwheat in enough water only once. Then drain the excess water using a strainer
Mix the buckwheat, sour curd and half a cup of water in a bowl. Cover it and soak it for at least 4 to 5 hours.
Now add green chilli, ginger paste and salt to the batter and mix very well
Pour the batter into a greased thali and spread evenly by rotating the thali clockwise. Also, Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander
Steam in a steamer for 10-12 min. Or till the Dhoklas are cooked
Cool slightly, cut into pieces and serve immediately with green chutney.
Read More► All You Need to Know About Gluten Free Grains
One of the most important aspects of pregnancy is maintaining a nutrient-dense diet. However, it has been observed that an everyday diet during pregnancy does not need to differ significantly from the pre-pregnancy diet, and the general rule of healthy eating remains to eat a balanced diet.
While all nutrients are equally important for expectant mothers, folic acid, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, and omega-3 DHA are critical for the overall development of the baby as well as a healthy pregnancy, says Manu Sharma, Neonatologist/Paediatrician, Max Healthcare.
"However, omega-3 DHA is not always present in regular prenatal supplements and which is why many women have questions about the importance of DHA during pregnancy," he adds.
Mothers-to-be should read on for more details by the expert:
What Is DHA?
DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that is not synthesised by our body and must be obtained through a diet rich in seafood like salmon, tuna, and anchovies, or through the intake of supplements. However, it is not typically derived from daily food intake in an adequate amount if you are following a vegetarian diet.
A human baby's brain develops rapidly especially during the third trimester in the mother's womb till the first two years of the baby's life. DHA is considered the building block of your baby's brain as it amounts to 97 per cent of the omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain and 25 per cent of the brain's total fat content. Because DHA is present in significant amounts in the brain and retina, it helps support the baby's brain and eye development as well as the central nervous system.
In fact, DHA is not only necessary for babies, but also for mothers. Optimal DHA levels during pregnancy support a full-term pregnancy as well as a healthy birth weight. DHA has also been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and support a mother's healthy mood after childbirth.
What Is the Ideal Amount of Daily DHA Intake?
The recommended amount of DHA intake during pregnancy is about 200mg per day. However, pregnant women in India are particularly found to be DHA deficient owing to a primarily vegetarian diet. Therefore, it is important that you know your DHA levels and change your diet or add supplements based on the results. An at-home blood test may help in assessing and monitoring your DHA levels without stepping out during this pandemic.
DHA in Breast Milk
Breastmilk is a critical source of nutrition for newborns. DHA, which is naturally present in breast milk supports your baby's cognitive function and has a positive impact on the baby's vision. For breastfed babies, the recommended amount of DHA is 0.32 per cent to 0.35 per cent of the milk fat. However, because the amount of DHA in breast milk is determined by the mother's DHA intake through food, the rates of absorption are bound to vary depending on the mother's dietary patterns.
Therefore, testing breastmilk is a definitive way to check your DHA levels and provide the right nutrition to your baby for optimal growth.
How Does One Ensure Adequate DHA Consumption?
You can know your blood and breast milk DHA levels during pregnancy or lactation with the right and convenient at-home diagnostic tools. Based on the results, you can modify your diet and incorporate DHA-rich foods to ensure your baby's optimal development and good health!
Read More► Right Nutrition is Paramount
There can be many reasons why women develop nutrient deficiencies - an improper diet, hectic schedule, and even a lack of knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet. A balanced and a healthy diet can help them tackle common nutrient deficiencies easily.
Nutritionist and Lifestyle Educator Karishma Chawla shares some common deficiencies and how to manage them through a healthy diet.
Iron deficiency: Iron is a trace element. It's the largest component of red blood cells and binds with haemoglobin and transports oxygen to the cells. Iron deficiency is very common in women due to menstruation. It is also common amongst vegetarians. It may cause anaemia, fatigue, weakened immune system, lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches and impaired brain function. Signs like skin pallor, pale conjunctiva and thin concave nails with raised edges.
The food sources of iron are: Red meat, shellfish, Rajma (kidney beans), lentils, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews and dark leafy greens such as spinach. Animal sources provide the most bioavailable iron. Plant sources are more difficult to break down. Adding vitamin C foods alongside with iron rich foods can enhance iron absorption for example adding lime to iron rich foods.
Vitamin D deficiency: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is called the sunshine vitamin and is essential for overall health ranging from healthy hair, healthy bones and hormone health including fertility. Deficiency symptoms are muscle weakness and bone loss. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to calcium deficiency resulting in an increased risk of fractures. A healthy diet for women consisting of vitamin D rich sources like fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks and natural sunlight would be beneficial. Having said that it would be a good idea to check blood work for vitamin D3 frequently and consume supplements especially if you are a vegetarian.
Calcium deficiency: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It mineralises bone and teeth, is required for intracellular signalling, neurotransmission, muscle contraction, may also have a preventive role in weight management and a protective roll in polycystic ovarian syndrome. The main symptom of calcium deficiency is an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life especially with multiple pregnancies seen in women. The dietary sources of calcium are dairy foods, almonds, beans, dark green vegetables.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: B12 is required for proper neurological function and red blood cell formation. This vitamin is only found in natural form in animal products. Vegetarians and vegans are advised to take B12 supplements. Deficiency is common due to not enough B12 in the diet, inability to absorb B12 due to lack of intrinsic factor responsible for its absorption and particularly in people on acid- blocker medication and people with inflammation in the small bowel. Few deficiency signs are lemon yellow tint to the skin and eyes and smooth, red, thickened tongue. The dietary sources of B12 are salmon, lamb, and eggs.
Protein deficiency: Protein is an important macronutrient also known as building blocks of muscles. Hair, skin and nails are made of protein and most importantly high quality and adequate protein is imperative for the creation of the best hormones in the body resulting in better performance, productivity and overall well-being. Signs of deficiency are patchy brown skin on cheeks, atopy and loss of muscle mass. A balanced diet comprising of adequate protein daily would be beneficial. Dietary sources of protein are legumes, eggs, cottage cheese, curd, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds.
Magnesium deficiency: Magnesium is involved in many enzymatic reactions, is a major constituent of bones and is a part of the cell membranes. Being present in smooth muscles, facilitates the contraction as well as relaxation of muscles and helps to reduce muscle cramps. Signs of deficiency include abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps, tremors, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, migraine, tetany and personality changes. The dietary sources of magnesium are beans, nuts and sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Iodine deficiency: Iodine is a trace essential that is necessary for normal thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones. Deficiency can impair fetal and childhood growth. The most common symptom of iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland known as goitre. The dietary sources of iodine are strawberries, eggs, fish, dairy and baked potatoes which include skin.
New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) On the first day of the National Nutrition Week, observed every year from September 1 to 7 in India, various public health experts said the focus should be on the issue of under-nutrition, over nutrition or micro-nutrient deficiencies in children and women.The National Nutrition Week was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 1982 with the objective to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition for the human body.According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, one in four adults and one in five school-going children are overweight in India, and nearly one-third of the diseases can be controlled with a proper diet. According to a UN report in 2017, India has 190.7 million undernourished people and 38.4 percent of children under five in India are stunted."Despite beginning nutrition-oriented development programmes especially focused on children, like integrated child development services 45 years ago, India still has children suffering from undernutrition and malnutrition, stunting, wasting and other problems. On the other hand, children in well-to-do families are suffering due to heavy intake of refined foods and carbonated beverages," said Kamal Narayan Omer, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council in New Delhi.Omer said the right eating habits and eating the right kind of food can play a significant role in reducing India's burden of non-communicable diseases in adults. "The imbalance needs to be addressed urgently and we must work to find the right alternatives to foods that are causing this nutritional imbalance in the most vulnerable section of our society."Besides this, India is home to non-nutritious, non-balanced food either in the form of under nutrition, over nutrition or micro-nutrient deficiencies. Various other experts feel that the need of the hour is to encourage and provide balanced and nutritious food for everybody especially for women and the new-born."We need to ensure that the nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive schemes or interventions that benefit the bottom of the pyramid are formed so that the vulnerable population can have access to affirmative actions, services and entitlements. The community structures and service providers should be accountable enough for early identification and management of malnutrition within communities is vital for addressing malnutrition," said Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Healthcare in New Delhi.Another doctor, Manisha Ranjan, who is a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Motherhood Hospital, quoted Oxfam which estimated that after the pandemic an additional 100 million Indians are vulnerable to food distress and those particularly hard hit are women and women-headed households."In the patriarchal family structure that India has, children (and the girl child in particular) and women will bear the brunt of this calamity. A woman needs nutrients right from their adolescent age because they undergo a lot of hormonal imbalance as the body prepares for menstruation," Ranjan added.Malnutrition perpetuates the vicious cycle of intergenerational undernutrition that results in a high incidence of babies born with low birth weight, more susceptible to infections, more likely to experience growth failure, reflected in high levels of child undernutrition and anaemia, said Sunil Rajpal, Associate Professor, Health Economist, IIHMR University, Jaipur."A recent study by researchers from the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi has estimated that spending $1 on nutritional interventions in India could generate public economic returns of $19.35 to $22.21, which is multiple times more than the global average. This indicates the huge potential we have as well as the gravity of the task since the lockdown and economic downfall due to Covid-19 is likely to push millions more to nutritional deficiency," added Rajpal.--IANSaka/sdr/bg