The 6 Nutrients Mothers Need Most

Choline

  • Benefits for Moms

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding wipe out your body's stockpile of this essential fat, which has been linked to a better memory in adults. So you need to replenish it -- especially if you plan to be in the pink or blue again. "Choline is needed to make every cell in an infant's body," says Steven Zeisel, M.D., chair of the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "We think it's most crucial during weeks 25 to 40 of pregnancy. That's when the unborn child takes all it can get."
  • Your Daily Needs

    Many experts advise 425 mg for women 19 to 50, 450 mg during pregnancy, and 550 mg during breastfeeding, but Dr. Zeisel says 900 mg is best for pregnant and lactating women.

  • Great Sources

    3 oz. beef liver (453 mg), 1 egg (345 mg), 3 oz. steak (58 mg)
  • Runners-up

    Milk, lettuce, cauliflower, and peanuts; Dr. Zeisel is working with the USDA to determine the exact choline content of these foods

  • Supplemental Advice

    If you're a vegetarian or a picky eater and are breastfeeding, trying to conceive, or are pregnant, you should talk to a doctor about taking a choline supplement daily because it's unlikely you'll be able to get enough of the nutrient from a limited diet.

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