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Is Vitamin C Important During Pregnancy | Hea Boosters

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient that plays a critical role in ensuring your well-being over the course of your pregnancy. It is a common component of almost every prenatal multivitamin capsule and is also abundantly available in a variety of natural foods. Vitamin C is neither made nor stored in the body and is thus an essential part of any expectant mother’s diet.

Why is vitamin C important during pregnancy?

Vitamin C has many uses when it comes to maintaining a healthy pregnancy and facilitating the baby’s development too. It helps repair tissues that can get damaged as a consequence of the baby’s growth during pregnancy and also helps speed up your recovery after childbirth. This micronutrient is also involved in the production of collagen, a structural protein that strengthens your joints and ligaments, allowing you to carry your little one with ease.

Vitamin C is an indispensable part of the body’s defence system and helps bolster your immunity by helping your white blood cells function more efficiently. It also acts as an antioxidant and strengthens the skin’s barriers against harmful attacks from external microbes and elements alike.

Foods that are rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin c foods) also improve your body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-based sources. Iron is essential for the production of a compound called haemoglobin, which needs to be maintained at high levels during your pregnancy and binds to oxygen, carrying it to the cells and tissues in your body and to your baby as well.

How much vitamin C do pregnant women need?

It is extremely important for you to ensure that you get an adequate amount of all your nutrients during your pregnancy and vitamin C is no exception. According to FSSAI, the requirement for vitamin C increases from 40 mg to 60 mg per day during pregnancy. To put this in perspective, a clementine orange contains approximately 35 mg of vitamin C, which is 58% of your daily requirement when you are pregnant. However, this does not mean that you have to restrict yourself to a diet of oranges alone. There are plenty of vegetarian vitamin C foods which can easily be included in your diet to help you meet your daily requirement.

Vitamin C - rich foods for pregnant women:

When you hear the word "vitamin C," you are likely think of citrus fruits alone. While these are certainly great sources, loads of other tasty vitamin C foods can be found amongst other types of fruits and vegetables too.

Here are a few simple ways to ensure that you hit your recommended amounts:

  • Citrus fruits: An orange contains 35mg of Vitamin C. They’re convenient to carry, are packed with fibre, low in calories, offer loads of other benefits and are available from October to May (depending on which part of India you live in). Most citrus fruits (lemons, lime, grapefruit) in general are rich in this vitamin. With 543 mg per 100 g, lemons are a good option too.
  • Berries: 20 g of Indian gooseberries (Amla) contains approximately 60-70 mg/dl (100 g, which is about half a cup of this super fruit, contains 300 mg/dl). Also, 100 g of strawberries contain 58.8mg of Vitamin C.
  • Bell peppers: capsicum and chillies are also good low-calorie options. Chillies might be hard to include in your food every day, but 1/2 cup of chopped green capsicum contains 60 mg of Vitamin C, which is quite achievable.

Can you take vitamin C supplements during pregnancy?

If you have ever wondered whether it is safe or necessary to take vitamin C supplements while pregnant, (especially if you want to boost your immunity during this period), let us address your concerns right here - It is absolutely safe for women to take vitamin C supplements while they are pregnant, and given the fact that the requirement for vitamin c increases during pregnancy, it is worthwhile to add a supplementary source just to be on the safe side.

Conclusion:

Vitamin C is absolutely indispensable as a component of any diet, especially if you are pregnant or a new mother, as it delivers a variety of health benefits, one of them being supporting a healthy immune system. While the requirement for all your essential nutrients does go up during pregnancy, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and taking multivitamins will ensure that you get all the vitamin C you need each day.

Sources:

Vitamin C factsheets:
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

FSSAI RDA: 
fssai.gov.in/upload/advisories/2020/01/5e159e0a809bbLetter_RDA_08_01_2020.pdf

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