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Why Is a Rich DHA Diet Important during Pregnancy?
DHA, otherwise known as docosahexaenoic acids, are unsaturated fatty acids found mostly in bluefish or tuna. It is a nutrient that brings a lot of benefits to the human body, from improved blood circulation to suppressing allergies. Perhaps more importantly, DHA has been known to affect the development of a fetus inside the womb.
Once the brain starts to form, DHA appears around Week 20 and from then on, the amount of DHA found in your baby's brain will only continue to grow, even after birth. During pregnancy, the food you eat will be your child's only source of DHA, which is transferred via your placenta and nourishes his brain and eyes. Your DHA intake is especially important during the third trimester when the brain starts growing the most.
Once your baby is born, your child's only source of DHA will be either from infant formula or breast milk. Because the latter is most recommended for children under the age of two, regular consumption of DHA-rich foods is just as important for lactating women as it is for those who are pregnant.
Unfortunately, for all the benefit that it brings, DHA is not something that our body naturally creates. Instead, we have to get it from the food that we eat and compared to yesteryears, modern man gets less DHA from food.
This is why it's imperative to try and include DHA-rich foods into your daily diet, especially if you're pregnant as it can have a significant positive impact on the growing life of the fetus.
Common sources of DHA include fatty fish such as anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and halibut, as well as eggs. You can also get your daily dose of DHA from fortified foods, beverages, and supplements.