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Fat is always preceded by a bad reputation that, although partially true, should be taken with caution. Fat is essential in the diet, specifically, essential fatty acids, since these fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the body but are necessary for its proper functioning. The only way to obtain them is, therefore, through diet. We tell you why you have to consume fat during pregnancy and where to get those "good fats".
During pregnancy, the woman's body changes its priorities since it not only has to attend to its own needs but also those that the baby's development requires. Essential fatty acids are vitally important for the development of the baby, and, according to research, the needs of the same fats during pregnancy, although not clearly established, are much higher than at any other time in a woman's life.
Although essential fatty acids are essential in pregnancy, the third trimester represents the time of greatest requirements since omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids participate in the formation and correct development of the nervous system and brain of the fetus, something that it culminates in this last quarter.
There are only two strictly essential fatty acids for the body:
- B-linolenic acid (an omega 3 fatty acid).
- Linoleic acid (an omega 3 fatty acid)
The rest can, in one way or another, be obtained through the metabolism of others. However, there are two more, which are synthesized from B-linolenic acid: docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA), whose contribution through the diet is highly desirable, since the conversion rates from B-linolenic are wildly low and inefficient.
EPA and DHA acids also have essential functions in the development of the baby. Specifically, they participate in the development of cognitive function and in the development of visual function of the fetus (especially the retina), as well as in the development of the nervous system and brain in general, like the rest of the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
The best sources of EPA and DHA are oily fish, mainly salmon and tuna, but also sardines and herring. However, during pregnancy the consumption of fish is also a source of alarm due to its content of mercury and other toxins. For this reason, it is convenient to look for fish with low amounts of mercury, and curiously, salmon and sardines, according to existing data, are those that contain the least mercury.
Fat is necessary for the body, and even more so in pregnancy, where dispensing with it entirely would result in problems in the health and development of the baby. It is only necessary to avoid unhealthy fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats.
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