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During pregnancy there are a number of important nutrients that should be part of your varied, healthy diet. Once you are eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit, there’s a good chance you are getting the Vitamin C you need. To check exactly which foods contain Vitamin C, continue reading.

1. What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C plays a central role to protect cells and help to keep them healthy. Essentially Vitamin C stimulates the immune system. It also aids iron absorption, combats allergies, has antioxidant properties, helps heal wounds and is like a cement for our connective tissues. Vitamin C is also required for good eye, teeth and gum health.

1. Cell protection
2. Cell health
3. Antioxidant
4. Iron absorption
5.Involved in making collagen
6. Immune stimulation
7. Anti-allergic
8. Connective tissues “cement”
9. Wound healing
10. Eye health
11. Teeth and gum health

2. Vitamin C during pregnancy

vitamin C pregnancy

As you can appreciate from the list of functions above, both you and your developing baby require vitamin C each day. The reason you need to eat foods that contain Vitamin C each day, is because your body doesn’t store it.

From the various functions we’ve highlighted, let’s take collagen as an example. It is a structural protein that is a component of bones, skin, tendons and cartilage. Therefore just this function alone shows the importance of getting enough Vitamin C each day. Additionally there have been medical research studies that have suggested that a Vitamin C deficiency can lead to impaired mental development for your baby.

One such study, from the University of Copenhagen, revealed that once this damage is done it cannot be reversed. The study was published in PLOS ONE.

Professor Jens Lykkesfeldt, the lead scientist involved in the vitamin C in pregnancy study, said, “Even marginal vitamin C deficiency in the mother stunts the fetal hippocampus, the important memory center, by 10-15 percent, preventing the brain from optimal development.”

Also the same study suggested that between 10% and 20% of adults in the developed world are not getting sufficient vitamin C.

When you’re pregnant the vitamin C requirement increases by 33%. The recommended daily allowance (RDA)  is 80 mg/day for pregnant and breastfeeding women

3. Sources of Vitamin C

If you are eating a balanced diet which includes enough fruit and vegetables, then you should be getting Vitamin C. However out of the fruit and vegetables that you choose to include in your diet, the following are the best sources of Vitamin C:

– Citrus fruits
– Blackcurrants
– Kiwis
– Mangoes
– Tomatoes
– Bell peppers
– Broccoli
– Leafy greens
– Brussel sprouts

Eat fresh foods to get the purest intake of Vitamin C, which is easily done by including the fruits mentioned. Additionally tomatoes, peppers and broccoli can be included in a tasty, healthy salad.

pregnancy diet vitamin C

4. Drinking tea

Most of us here in Ireland love a nice cup of tea! Vitamin C, as previously mentioned, plays an important role in the absorption of iron, specifically non-heme iron. However tea interferes with the absorption of iron. Therefore when you eat a non-heme iron rich meal, with some Vitamin D, it is better to avoid drinking tea, ideally both before and after the meal.

Examples of non-heme iron sources are:

Spinach
Beans
Lentils
Fortified cereals

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All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.

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