1. Follow a regular meal pattern
Regulate your metabolism and your hunger by eating frequent meals during the day. Consume 4-6 meals a day, with 3 main meals (morning, lunch and dinner) and in between snacks.
2. Include in your diet complex carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the basis of our diet (for example products such as cereals and their products, bread, pasta, rice, choose wholegrain versions). Carbohydrates provide energy, are low in fat, and when they are whole grain, they enrich the diet with fiber, which contributes to good bowel function and reduction of cholesterol.
3. Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables!
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Evidence shows lower incidence of diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer with high consumption of fruits and vegetables!
4. Consume olive oil in moderation!
The main ingredient of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Numerous studies have shown that olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, can protect us against coronary heart disease and reduces levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol while increasing levels of good cholesterol. But let’s not forget that olive oil provides the same calories as the other fats, so it’s good to consume it in moderation because it can lead to weight gain.
5. Choose healthy cooking methods
Choose healthy cooking methods like to steam, boil and grill and avoid frying foods. In this way you keep your meal low in fat.
6. Drink plenty of fluids
The average consumption of liquids is 1.5-2.0 liters per day and helps to properly hydrate the body. Increase your fluid consumption even more during summer months and when you increase your physical activity.
7. Adjust your weight and feel good
Body fat accumulates when the calories consumed are more than those expended. The individual’s energy needs depend on age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to check if you are normal weight for your height, overweight, obese etc.
8. Increase physical activity
Studies show that physical activity helps to regulate body weight as well as promotes the health of the heart and the circulatory system. In other words it gives wellness.
9. Keep a diary and change behavior in your diet!
Gradual changes in lifestyle are easier than complete changes. Keep a daily dairy by recording the foods you eat and how much you consume. In this way you control the foods you consume and focus on the points that need improvement in your diet. Help yourself and change the way you think about food, but gradually. Set different goals every week!
Healthy eating plate
- 2/4 of your plate should be vegetables. In case the salad is served with dressing, remove as much of the dressing as possible. The vegetables should also be thoroughly rinsed and olive oil can be added in moderation.
- 1/4 of your plate should be protein (red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and legumes). The best cooking methods are boiled, steamed, grilled and baked (dry).
- The last 1/4 of your plate should be grains. Try to choose whole grains such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat toast and crackers, whole grain pasta and brown or wild rice. Avoid frizzling with oil or butter.
- Choose foods whose main ingredient is tomato sauce and avoid white sauces and dairy cream.
- Do not add high amounts of oil in your meals, even if the source is olive oil.
- Aim for 3 main meals with 2-3 snacks in between, every 3-4 hours.
A balanced diet can significantly contribute to a healthy heart. Some general dietary guidelines are summarized below.
FatThe type of dietary fats can play an essential role in heart’s health. Animal fats are directly associated with an increase in total and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. Foods high in animal fats are pies, pastries, butter, fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products and cheese. Cut down on these foods and replace them with leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products. Several studies have demonstrated that olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fatty acids as well as antioxidants, can protect against coronary heart disease and it also reduces “bad” cholesterol levels. At the same time it increases “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels. Nevertheless, olive oil, as well as all fats and oils, provides diet with a high amount of calories, hence it is recommended to be consumed in moderation in order to prevent weight gain.
Omega-3 fatty acidsOmega-3 fatty acids (Ω3) offer various health benefits, especially for the heart. Several studies have shown that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. Therefore, it is suggested that people should consume at least 3g Ω3 per day. In case omega-3 fatty acids are ingested in the form of nutritional supplements, the daily intake should not exceed the amount of 2g. Omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in oily fish such as trout, herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna (fresh not canned) as well in plant food sources such as walnuts and flaxseed.
Fruits and VegetablesThe consumption of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as some types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants, nutrients that benefit the heart. Aim for at least 3 portions of fruits and 2 portions of vegetables every day.
SaltThe recommended daily salt intake for those with high blood pressure is 4g of salt, which corresponds to 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Ready-to-eat packaged foods and canned products are usually high in salt. Choose fresh foods and prefer to cook at home. By reducing salt intake, someone can effectively regulate his blood pressure. Some useful piece of advice, regarding the identification of products high in salt is to read the food labels. If it is referenced that there is more than 1.5g of salt per 100g, then the product is high in salt. Products suitable for a low-salt diet are those which contain less than 0.3g of salt per 100g.
General Dietary Recommendations for Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by higher than normal blood glucose levels, resulting from defects in glucose-insulin metabolism.
Blood glucose is regulated by insulin, a hormone being secreted by the pancreas. Insulin helps body’s cells take in glucose for energy, thus maintaining blood glucose stable. In those diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, insulin either is being produced in smaller amounts by the pancreas or the insulin does not function properly.
There are two main types of diabetes mellitus. Depending upon the type of diabetes, there are specific dietary approaches that should be followed.
In type I Diabetes
- In type I Diabetes human body does not produce sufficient amount of insulin.
- In this case, this insulin needs to commonly be substituted with insulin injection.
In type II Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes I start the pancreas no one produces insulin and / or the insulin we quote I do not need properly (insulin resistance). Automatically as careful regulars of sugar to rise. People with type 2 diabetes use 85-90% in current conservation.
- The following guidelines are some of the general principles that will help you regulate your diabetes so that it benefits your overall health.
- Find out about carbohydrate foods and portions of food.
- In case of obesity or overweight - adjust your weight. Weight loss is not an easy task, but studies show that even a 5-10% reduction in initial weight can bring significant health benefits and better glycemic control.
- Make small and frequent meals every 3-4 hours.
- Do not skip breakfast.
- Choose low glycemic foods to accompany your every meal, such as whole grain breads and cereals, oats, brown rice and whole grain pasta as well as legumes, sweet potatoes, fruits.
- Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Avoid drinks and soft drinks and juices that are high in simple sugars.
- Limit foods high in simple sugars (eg sweets, cookies, kiosk products).
- Eat less salt and foods high in it, such as canned food.
- 150 minutes / week of moderate intensity exercise is recommended.
- The main goal for both types of diabetes is to achieve and maintain good blood sugar levels, as well as to achieve normal levels of both blood pressure and blood sugar, which will reduce the risk of complications that may arise from diabetes in the future. To regulate all these factors, it is recommended to pay attention to diet and exercise which is necessary for the proper treatment of diabetes.
General recommendations for Irritable bowel
- Follow a balanced diet with small and frequent meals
- Do not eat greedily and chew food well.
- Do not lie down immediately after meals.
- Avoid excessive amounts of foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid dairy products in case of lactose intolerance.
- Avoid carbonated soft drinks.
- Avoid sweeteners commonly found in light foods (Light soft drinks, fructose, sugar-free chewing gum).
- Avoid foods that create gas, such as onions, legumes, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, corn and lots of spices, raisins, apples, plums.
- Limit coffee, tea and fruit juices (especially citrus fruits).
- Avoid sweets and especially chocolate.
- Limit alcohol.
- Avoid fatty and fried foods.
- If you notice that a particular food is causing you intestinal upset, exclude it from your diet and reintegrate it later.
- Increase physical activity (eg daily 30 minute walk).
- Deal with stress.
- Taking probiotics is helpful in some cases
In case of constipation
Include in your diet more vegetables and fruits, whole grains and foods rich or fortified in bran, drink plenty of fluids and avoid rice and tea.
In case of diarrhea
Limit foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also restriction of very fatty foods. Consumption of apple juice is recommended.
Dietary guidelines for the treatment of gastritis
- Adopt a balanced diet with small and frequent meals (3 main meals and 2-3 snacks in between), including foods from all food groups.
- It is suggested that you have moderate consumption of low-fat dairy products.
- It is suggested that you add raw olive oil in your food.
- Abstain from alcohol, beer, wine during gastritis bouts.
- Avoid regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea, fizzy drinks.
- Avoid garlic and spices (especially black pepper, carnation, chili, paprika) lemon and vinegar.
- Avoid citrus fruits and tomato consumption.
- Avoid fried foods, smoked or cooked with spices meats, greasy foods, desserts with syrup and nuts as well as vegetables that may lead to excessive gas such as onions, cabbage, leaf celery, etc.
- Abstain from foods that may cause abdominal discomfort.
- It is recommended to cut down on salt intake.
- Avoid eating before you go to bed.
- Avoid eating extremely hot or extremely cold foods.
General dietary recommendations after obesity surgery
After obesity surgery, it is necessary to follow special dietary guidelines for the first month post-operatively.
The consumption of protein is very important at all stages, especially in the first period, because it promotes wound healing and boosts the immune system.
As the amount of food consumed post-operatively is quite small, it is usually recommended to use special nutritional supplements according to individual needs, by estimating requirements.
A balanced diet is necessary at all stages, but as you gradually increase your food intake, it is of great significance to include all food groups in the diet plan. You need protein from high biological value sources, such as meat, fish, chicken, milk, cheese, yogurt etc., starchy foods from rice, pasta, potatoes and cereals, as well as fats, vitamins and minerals from good types of fats (olive oil, nuts), fruits and vegetables.
In most cases, food intake is usually quite small, therefore individual nutritional needs are not necessarily met, therefore, it may be recommended to take multivitamins.
Mrs Iliadou is highly experienced in offering special dietray advice to people who have undertaken bariatric obesity surgery.
Nutrition tips for weight loss
Nutrition tips for weight loss
See below how diet can help with weight management as well as some lifestyle changes.
The consumption of regular meals contributes to the activation of metabolism. A large number of calories being consumed in one meal can negatively affect the body weight, whereas the allocation of calories in more meals can be beneficial. In addition, regular meals may help in burning fat. If one eats at regular intervals, their stomach cannot be kept empty, so the foods are slowly moving into the small intestine. As a result, glucose absorption rate is reduced. Thus, insulin secretion is lowered and the body is forced to use fat, in order to perform its functions. Finally, many studies have shown that people who consume regular meals tend to have persistently lower body weight compared to those who do not.
Fats are necessary for the body, as being involved in basic cell functions and in energy storage. However, if fats are consumed in large quantities daily, body weight will be increased. The avoidance of foods rich in fat (fatty meat, full fat dairy products, butter, ready-to-eat meals) and the consumption of respective lean products instead (lean meat parts, chicken without skin, fish, dairy products low in fat) is the first step in a weight reduction effort. Olive oil is proposed as the main fat source in cooking and in salads. However, it should not be consumed large quantities, because apart from containing good and beneficial fatty acids, it also contains many calories, that can impede weight control efforts.
Fiber reduces hunger. Various foods, such as legumes, oats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables contain fiber. Dietary fiber has been associated with beneficial effects on the body. It reduces hunger, increases satiety and maintains normal intestine function. It has also been associated with lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Water increases satiety and regulates appetite. Water consumption has been associated with increased metabolism. According to guidelines, in general, men need approximately 2,5 liters of fluids daily, whereas women need 2 liters of fluids daily. All non-alcoholic beverages, such as water, milk, tea, juices, coffee etc. can keep the body hydrated. Apart from beverages, foods also contain water. For instance, fruits and vegetables are high-water- containing foods, therefore at least 5 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed in daily basis.
Το σωματικό βάρος εξαρτάται από το ημερήσιο ισοζύγιο ενέργειας, δηλαδή από τις θερμίδες που προσλαμβάνει κανείς από την τροφή καθημερινά και από τις θερμίδες που “καίει” το σώμα λόγω του βασικού μεταβολισμού και της άσκησης. Όσο αυξάνεται η άσκηση στην καθημερινότητα τόσο αυξάνεται η ενέργεια που καταναλώνει το σώμα μας. Επιπλέον, η άσκηση βοηθά στην αύξηση της μυϊκής μάζας, από την οποία εξαρτάται σε μεγάλο βαθμό ο βασικός μεταβολισμός μας δηλαδή οι καύσεις του σώματος.
Σύμφωνα με τις συστάσεις, ένας ενήλικας χρειάζεται περίπου 7-9 ώρες βραδινού ύπνου. Τα τελευταία χρόνια υπάρχει έντονο επιστημονικό ενδιαφέρον γύρω από τη σχέση του ύπνου με το σωματικό βάρος. Η μακροχρόνια έλλειψη ύπνου (<6 ώρες/ ημέρα) έχει σχετιστεί με αυξημένο σωματικό βάρος και με λιγότερο ισορροπημένες διατροφικές επιλογές, γεγονός που οφείλεται κυρίως στη διαταραχή των επιπέδων ορισμένων ορμονών στον οργανισμό.
Διατροφικές οδηγίες για την υπέρταση
1. Ελέγξτε το σωματικό σας βάρος
Η απώλεια βάρους σε υπέρβαρα ή παχύσαρκα άτομα, συμβάλλει σημαντικά στη μείωση της αρτηριακής πίεσης και την αποφυγή ανάπτυξης καρδιαγγειακών νοσημάτων.
2. Περιορίστε το αλάτι
• Για να μειώσετε την εμφάνιση της υπέρτασης, ελαττώστε το αλάτι στο μαγείρεμα και αποφύγετε την προσθήκη του στο τραπέζι.
• Διαβάστε την ετικέτα του τροφίμου που επιλέξατε. Διακρίνετε μόνοι σας, εάν το προϊόν είναι κατάλληλο για εσάς.
-Εάν στον πίνακα διαθρεπτικής αξίας του προϊόντος αναγράφεται ότι τα 100γρ. προϊόντος περιέχουν περισσότερο από 1.5 γρ αλάτι, τότε το προϊόν είναι υψηλό σε αλάτι.
-Εάν περιέχει λιγότερο από 0.3γρ. αλάτι ανά 100γρ. προϊόντος τότε είναι χαμηλό σε αλάτι.
• Αποφύγετε τα αλμυρά τρόφιμα που αναγράφονται στο διατροφικό πίνακα που ακολουθεί.
3. Περιορίστε την κατανάλωση οινοπνεύματος
Για να μειώσετε την εμφάνιση της υπέρτασης, βεβαιωθείτε ότι η κατανάλωση οινοπνεύματος δεν ξεπερνά τις 2-3 μονάδες /ημέρα για τους άντρες και 1-2 μονάδες/ ημέρα για τις γυναίκες.
* 1 μονάδα οινοπνεύματος αντιστοιχεί σε ½ ποτήρι μπύρα, 1 μικρό ποτήρι κρασί ή 25 ml υψηλότερων σε περιεκτικότητα αλκοολούχων ποτών.
4. Ακολουθήστε μια DASH (Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertention) τύπου δίαιτα
Επιστημονικά αποδεδειγμένα, η δίαιτα DASH ελαττώνει την αρτηριακή πίεση. Η βάση της είναι η χαμηλή κατανάλωση λίπους και η αυξημένη κατανάλωση τροφών που είναι πλούσια σε αντιοξειδωτικά και ιχνοστοιχεία, όπως φρούτα και λαχανικά. Από αυτές τις τροφές, καλό είναι να καταναλώνετε τουλάχιστον 5 μερίδες ημερησίως. Όσον αφορά το λίπος, περιορίστε προϊόντα ζωικής προελεύσεως ή επιλέξτε προϊόντα χαμηλά σε λιπαρά. Κάποια παραδείγματα προϊόντων χαμηλά σε λιπαρά, είναι: τα γαλακτοκομικά χαμηλά σε λιπαρά και άπαχα κρέατα όπως κοτόπουλο, γαλοπούλα και ψάρι.
5. Αυξήστε την κατανάλωση τροφίμων που είναι υψηλά σε κάλιο
ΛΑΧΑΝΙΚΑ: πράσινα φασολάκια, αγκινάρες, σπανάκι, ντομάτες
ΦΡΟΥΤΑ: μπανάνα (δείτε μια συνταγή με μπανάνα), πορτοκάλι, δαμάσκηνο, βερίκοκα
6. Αυξήστε την κατανάλωση γαλακτοκομικών τροφίμων
Για τη μείωση της εμφάνισης της υπέρτασης, συμπεριλάβετε καθημερινά στη διατροφή σας 1 φλιτζ. Γάλα και 1 κεσεδάκι γιαούρτι με χαμηλά λιπαρά.
7. Κάντε άσκηση για τουλάχιστον 150 λεπτά/ εβδομάδα
ΤΙ ΝΑ ΑΠΟΦΕΥΓΟΥΝ ΟΙ ΑΣΘΕΝΕΙΣ ΜΕ ΥΠΕΡΤΑΣΗ
|ΤΡΟΦΙΜΟ||ΠΕΡΙΟΡΙΣΜΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΠΑΡΑΚΑΤΩ ΤΡΟΦΙΜΩΝ|
|ΨΑΡΙΑ-ΚΡΕΑΤΑ||Όλα τα παστά κρέατα. Μπέικον, μυαλά, αλλαντικά, λουκάνικα, αντσούγιες, χαβιάρι, σαρδέλες, ρέγκα, τόνος ή καπνιστός σολομός ή μαλάκια σε κονσέρβα. Όλες οι σούπες σε κονσέρβα, αφυδατωμένες και κατεψυγμένες σούπες που περιέχουν αλάτι, κύβοι σούπας κονσομέ και άλλες σούπες εμπορίου από εκχυλίσματα κρέατος.|
Ιδιαίτερη προσοχή στα τυροκομικά προϊόντα.
ΟΣΠΡΙΑ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΑΚΑ ΨΩΜΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΣΙΤΗΡΑ
|Πατατάκια, γαριδάκια, παράγωγα πατάτας (αλατισμένα), πίτες, μπισκότα αλμυρά, τηγανίτες και δημητριακά παράγωγα παρασκευασμένα με αλάτι, αλμυρά κράκερ, κονσερβοποιημένα όσπρια.|
|ΛΙΠΗ – ΕΛΑΙΑ||Έτοιμες σάλτσες, σος, ντρέσινγκ (όπως κέτσαπ, μουστάρδα, σος σόγιας, τσίλι, σως μπάρμπεκιου, μαγιονέζα, ντρέσινγκ σαλάτας), κύβους αρωματικών/μυρωδικών/κρεάτων για μαγείρεμα. Βούτυρο αλατισμένο, μαργαρίνη αλατισμένη με στερεά υδρογονωμένα έλαια, φυστικοβούτυρο, ελιές αλατισμένες, λίπος ψητού, ξύγκι.|
|ΞΗΡΟΙ ΚΑΡΠΟΙ||Αλατισμένοι ξηροί καρποί.|
|ΦΡΟΥΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΛΑΧΑΝΙΚΑ||Λαχανικά σε κονσέρβα, τουρσί λαχανικά.
|Αλάτι, μπαλσάμικο ξύδι, σόγια, μαγειρική σόδα.|
Healthy eating for children
Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. Following a consistent exercise routine and a balanced, varied diet are the two best things to encourage your child, in order to maintain good health and avoid obesity. A child with an increased body weight is very likely to become an obese adult. Kids should follow a regular meal pattern in order to get the energy and nutrients they need to grow properly. Encourage children to eat breakfast on a daily basis, because this ensures a great deal of energy they need at school. Do not forget that evidence shows that breakfast can even improve student performance! Τhe food Guide Pyramid
The nutritional guide of the pyramid is an easy way to learn how to eat healthy. A rainbow of color in vertical series comes to show the 5 food categories and fats.
- Orange for cereals
- Green for vegetables
- Red for fruits
- Yellow for fats and oils
- Blue for milk and its products
- Purple for meat, poultry, fish and nuts
Explaining nutritional groups
- Orange color – Starchy foods You have to base every meal on bread, rice, potatoes, pasta or cereals. It’s recommended to include whole grains, which are rich in fiber and contribute to a better functioning of the digestive system.
- Green & Red color – Fruits and vegetables Include fruits and vegetables at least 3 times on a daily basis (fruit or fruit juice at breakfast, salad along with the main meal and in between meals some fruit). Chop the fruit in a bowl to make it more easily available to children.
- Blue color – Dairy products Make sure that your child consumes at least 3 times a day milk, yogurt and cheese in order to ensure the required amount of calcium they need to properly grow their bones and teeth.
- Purple color – Meat and meat substitutes Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes must be included 2 or 3 times a day in their diet. This food category is high in vitamins, proteins and iron which help children to grow properly and strengthen their immune system.
- Fats are an integral part of a balanced diet. Prefer olive oil in the food and salads, but consume it in moderation because of it is high in calories. Observing the pyramid, encourage children to be active on a daily basis. Beware, we are not talking about complicated physical activities, but about any of their favourite activities or sports that puts their lives in motion! Important message to parents- By teaching your children healthy eating habits, and modeling these behaviors in yourself, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. Also, the eating habits your children pick up when they are young will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.
BMI for children
Calculate Body Mass Index (ΒΜΙ).
|AGE (in years)||50th percentile boys||50th percentile girls||85th percentile boys||85th percentile girls||95th percentile boys||95η εκ.θέση
The Body Mass Index of your child is calculated by the relevant scales in percentile positions as indicated by the World Health Organization, depending on the age and gendre. BMI percentiles show how kids’ measurements compare with others, the same gender and age. For example, if a child has a BMI in the 85th percentile, 85% of the kids of the same gender and age who were measured had a lower BMI and the child is classified overweight. Above the 95th percentile is considered obese. In the 50th position the child is considered normal BMI.
Pregnancy and nutritional guidelines
Α woman who enters pregnancy in an inadequate nutritional status has a risk of having inadequate pregnancy performance, of depleting her own body stores of nutrients, and of entering lactation in a state of suboptimal nutritional status that could deteriorate further as lactation progesses.
Infants who are undernourished in the womb are at risk of a variety of adverse outcomes, ranging from low birth weight to severe mental and physical retardation and even death. The effect of undernutrition before pregnancy and during pregnancy and lactation depends on the stage at which undernutrition occurs. Each stage of this part of the life cycle has specific tissue needs for nutrients and shortcomings in tissue supply of these nutrients may have undesirable consequences.
The success of pregnancy and intake of substances such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs, the physical and emotional stresses to which she is subjected, and the presence of any infections or other diseases.
Nutritional needs during pregnancy
Nutritional needs during pregnancy
Protein energy needs are increased by an additional 6 grams only during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The essential fatty acids, those that the body cannot synthesize, play an important role on diet during pregnancy, especially docosahexaenoic acid. The latter belongs to the group of omega 3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid is involved into the development of healthy nervous system of the fetus. Dietary sources of omega 3 fatty acids are oily fish, such as sardines, trout, mackerel, fresh tuna), as well as linseed. During pregnancy is best to avoid swordfish, because of high levels of heavy metals (such as mercury).
Folic acid (belongs to the B vitamins group) presents great interest during this period, since it is involved in DNA synthesis.
Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) – serious birth defects of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly). The neural tube is the part of the embryo from which your baby’s spine and brain develop.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that women who take the recommended daily dose of 400μg folic acid starting at least one month before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy reduce their baby’s risk of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent.
Dietary sources of folic acid are brussel sprouts, spinach, dark green vegetables, legumes and some enriched cereals. It is important to note that no matter how much follic acid you consume, you still need to include a dietary supplement of folic acid in your diet.
Iron is also very important for red blood cell synthesis. First of all, It is important to correct present anemia. Iron supplementation should start after the 12th week of pregnancy. The daily dose should be 30 mg per day or 60-120mg in case of anemia.
Absorption of iron seems to increase during pregnancy. Studies show that even if dietary consumption of iron sources is adequate, nutritional supplementation is still necessary. Divalent iron supplementation seems to be absorbed much better.
Dietary sources of iron include red meat, poultry, eggs. Vegetable sources of iron are legumes and some cereals. It is important to remember the supplementary consumption of foods high in vitamin C, in order to enhance iron absorption. Liver consumption is best to be avoided due to its high vitamin A content.
Calcium is also another important mineral to help your baby build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps your baby grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles as well as develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities.
Calcium can also reduce your risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. And if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet when you’re pregnant, your baby will draw it from your bones, which may impair your own health later on.
The recommended reference values for calcium during pregnancy are 1000mg daily. 3 portions per day of 1 pot of yoghurt, 1+1/2 slices of hard cheese and a glass of milk can meet these needs. When a pregnant woman meets that, it is not necessary to supplement the diet with calcium extra.
At this point it is very important to refer to vitamin D, since it is highly involved into calcium absorption. Good sources of vitamin D are oily fish, dairy products, egg yolk, and some cereals and margarines enriched with vitamin D. The main synthesis of vitamin D comes from sunlight, so exposure to sunlight 2-3 times per week, for 10-15 minutes is enough to synthesize vitamin D in its active form.
Do not forget the importance of moderate exercise, if permitted by the gynecologist. Exercise reduces the risk of gestational diabetes by 50% and the risk of eclampsia by 40% (high blood pressure and increased protein in the urine).
Finally regular meal pattern of a balanced diet, it is important for regulating metabolism.
Weight gain during pregnancy
Before we mention the nutritional needs specifically during pregnancy, it is important to point out that its outcome higly depends on the woman’s nutritional status before conception. A woman who enters pregnancy with a weak dietary profile is at risk of not meeting the pregnancy requirements and at the same time endangering her own and fetus health. Babies growing under deficient conditions are at risk of being born with very low body weight, having mental disabilities and develomental delays.
The energy requirements of pregnant women depend on the following factors: the woman’s Body Mass Index (BMI) before pregnancy, the age, the rate of body weight gain, and physical activity.
The following table shows weight gain during pregnancy according to woman’s body mass index before pregnancy provided that woman is not bedridden.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Recommended weight gain during pregnancy in Kgr
|Women with BMI <19,8 (Low)||12,5 – 18|
|Women with BMI 19,8 – 26 (Normal)||11,5 – 16|
|Women with BMI 26 – 29 (High)||7 – 11,5|
|Women with BMI >29||At least 6 pounds|
|Women with twins||16-20,5|
|Women with triplets||22,7|
The energy requirements of pregnant women should be increased by 300 kcal for the last two quarters, while the calories in the first quarter for a woman who is adequately nourished do not change.
Menopause is a normal process in every woman’s life. The transition to menopause begins with irregular periods of menstrual cycles and ends with the last menstruation. This period is characterized by serious health effects and accompanied by a variety of symptoms (hot flashes, irritation, headaches, nausea, etc.), leading to decreased quality of life and increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
When entering menopausal period, the female body produces less estrogen and progesterone hormones. Reduced estrogen production speeds up the normal reduction of bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Estrogens act protectively against atherogenesis, the formation of the atherosclerotic plaque and consequently the clinical manifestations of atherogenesis, causing the manifestation of cardiovascular diseases.
The decreased levels of estrogen that occur with menopause seem to contribute to advanced prevalence of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.
The combination of balanced nutrition, use of dietary supplements (where appropriate) and exercise, can minimize or even eliminate the side effects of menopause.
In the context of a balanced diet, the most important nutrients in the menopause diet are mentioned below.
Calcium is one of them. Milk and its derivatives are the major source of calcium, consisting about 70% of calcium intake. Other sources of calcium include fish with bones, dark-colored vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, nuts such as almonds. The recommended daily intake of calcium for postmenopausal women is 1000mg through the diet or even through supplements.
Vitamin D is also important because it assists the ability of calcium to maintain bone health as it plays an important role in its intestinal absorption and also contributes to the whole skeletal development process. Vitamin D deficiency is very common among postmenopausal women, particularly those with osteoporosis and history of hip fracture, has been found to be quite high, which may be due to both reduced dietary intake and inadequate sunlight exposure. Dietary sources of vitamin D are oily fish, dairy products, enriched breakfast cereal products and soft margarines. Let’s not forget that our body can synthesize 75% of vitamin D, as long as it is exposed to the sun at least 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes.
Dietary fat consumption is highly associated with cardiovascular mortality. The beneficial properties of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – especially omega-3 fatty acids – have been repeatedly reported in clinical studies as well as the inverse relationship of their consumption with cardiovascular mortality. In contrast, saturated fat and trans fatty acids have been associated with increased cardiovascular disease mortality. Limit the fat of animal origin and frequent consumption of red meat and include more often in your diet lean meats, fish and nuts.
Increased consumption of fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables, as well as pulses and unprocessed carbohydrates (whole grains) has been shown to have protective effect on the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring estrogens derived from plants. There are two main dietary groups of phytoestrogens:
- isoflavones, found in beans, legumes, lentils, chick peas, tofu and soy products; and
- lignans, which are found in cereals and fruits.
Except from relieving symptoms, phytoestrogens are thought to be particularly beneficial in preventing osteoporosis and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and breast, endometrial, ovarian and colon cancer.
Some scientific studies showed that phytoestrogens found in soybeans and red clover mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, preventing their rapid losses during menopause.
Vitamin E is found in many foods such as nuts, oils, vegetables and enriched breakfast cereals. Vitamin E has been widely referred as a natural remedy for treatment of hot flashes. However, a small number of scientific studies seem to support its effectiveness.
In the context of a balanced diet, it is recommended to avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking because they contribute to reduced bone health. Physical activity plays a particularly important role as it helps to regulate weight and maintain muscle mass in the body and at the same time regulate body metabolism. Obese women have more frequent episodes of hot flashes than women who control their weight.
Athletes have increased energy requirements compared with non-athletes and therefore their nutritional needs are important to be covered.
The amount of calories required, it depends on the energy expenditure, which is determined by many factors, such as: the training period, sex, age, body size, and the type, intensity and duration of the exercise (training and race). These requirements are particularly high for professionals compared to non-professionas, as they spend endless hours for their workouts and matches are many and almost every day. On the other hand, professional athletes consume less energy for the same effort than beginners because they have already achieved better technique and coordination of movements as well as a more economical metabolism and less burden on the cardio-respiratory system.
The caloric requirements should be adequately covered and it should be an energy balance between the intake and the energy consumption in order to maintain having a healthy body and weight in order to maximize their athletic performance.
Low caloric intake results in a reduction of muscle mass, since the lean body mass is the only fuel used, leading to a decrease in strength and durability. It can also lead to a malfunctioning of the body, an increased risk of injury, fatigue, and in general to a reduction in athletic performance, and in the long run much more serious problems in athlete’s health. In contrast, increased caloric intake can lead to fat accumulation in amounts exceeding the desired level with apparently adverse effects on athletic performance.