What is zinc and why is important to include in your pregnancy diet? Read why zinc is essential for a healthy pregnancy and what you should eat while pregnant
Your body needs zinc for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA – the body’s genetic blueprint and a basic building block of cells. Zinc should always be an important part of your healthy pregnancy diet to cope with your babies’ rapid cell growth. And it’s essential to help support your immune system and heal wounds.
Food sources of zinc
Fortified cereals and red meat are good sources of zinc – and you can get it from shellfish, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products. One of the best sources of zinc is oysters – just one of these will give you a whole day’s supply but sadly oysters are high on the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy – they come into the ‘raw fish’ and ‘potential toxins’ category!
Other sources are fortified breakfast cereals, tofu, chickpeas and lentils, seeds and cheddar cheese.
Should you take a zinc supplement?
Most people who eat meat get plenty of zinc from a reasonably well-balanced diet. But since it’s harder to absorb the mineral from plant foods, you may have a hard time getting enough zinc from food alone if you eat a mostly vegetarian diet so make sure you eat plenty of whole grains.