Opinion: Engaging nutrition to improve pregnancy outcomes

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On December 17, 2019, Devex published “Opinion: Engaging nutrition to improve pregnancy outcomes” by Klaus Kraemer, managing director of Sight and Life and adjunct associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The full article can be read here on Devex.

Abstract

Good nutrition sets off a ripple effect. It can dismantle inequity, poverty, and poor health and drive progress at every stage in life. It supports physical and cognitive development, helps prevent a number of medical conditions — from spina bifida to diabetes — and saves lives.

During and after pregnancy, nutrition demands are greater — as are the consequences of not meeting them. For mothers, ensuring a healthy pregnancy limits the risk of life-threatening complications. And for their children, good nutrition during pregnancy can be the difference between being born healthy and being born physically or mentally disadvantaged.

It is critical that we sustain our momentum on nutrition, a task that requires greater investment in cultivating a cadre of leaders to take us there, argues Klaus Kraemer, director at Sight and Life.

While diet diversity remains the preferred means for women to meet nutrient requirements during pregnancy, many nutrient needs cannot be met through diet alone, especially in resource-constrained settings. As such, it is imperative that we reach women and girls with effective interventions for improving maternal nutrition that are ready for global scale-up now. Multiple micronutrient supplementation, or MMS, during pregnancy could be one way to help meet maternal nutrition needs.

Read the full article on Devex here.

Introducing Chromium

Boosting the Metabolism

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Chromium is an essential mineral required in small amounts by the body and plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Of significance is the finding that individuals with adequate dietary chromium have improved control over blood glucose and a better blood lipid profile. Chromium helps maintain blood glucose levels by enhancing the activity of the hormone insulin. Like iron, chromium assumes different charges. Cr3+ is the most stable form and is commonly found in foods.

The Primary Sources of Chromium

Chromium is commonly found in egg yolk, whole grains, high-bran cereals, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and brewer’s yeast. A diet rich in simple sugars may actually increase urinary excretion of chromium due to enhanced insulin secretion.

Bioavailability of Chromium

The low pH of the stomach enhances chromium availability. Vitamin C enhances chromium absorption.

Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Chromium

Chromium deficiency in humans is very rare. Cases of chromium deficiency have been described in a few patients on long-term intravenous feeding who did not receive supplemental chromium in their intravenous solutions.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate chromium into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Eggs Florentine Pizza*

Base Ingredients
125ml milk
1 tsp golden caster sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
500g ‘00’ pasta flour or bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp olive oil

Topping Ingredients
4 tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
small bunch oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
80g bag baby spinach
50g parmesan (or Vegetarian alternative), grated
125g ball mozzarella, torn into pieces
4 large eggs

Method

To begin, pour 150ml boiling water into a jug with the milk and sugar. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave to stand for 10 mins or until frothy. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and 1 tsp salt, then make a well in the centre. Then, pour in the olive oil, followed by the yeast mixture. Stir well, then knead together in the bowl to form a soft dough. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 mins. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 hr. 

Peel the tomatoes by scoring the skins with a cross, putting them in a bowl and pouring over just-boiled water. Drain the water after 2-3 mins and the skins will peel away easily. Coarsely grate the tomatoes, then stir in the garlic and oregano. Blanch the spinach by drenching it in boiling water in a colander over the sink. Leave the spinach until it’s cool enough to handle, then squeeze out any excess moisture. 

Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Divide your dough into 4 and shape each piece into a ball. Roll the bases out flat to about 25cm diameter and dimple the surfaces with your fingers. Spread each one with the tomato paste, season, then divide the cooked spinach between the 4 pizzas. Top with grated Parmesan and torn mozzarella. 

Slide the pizzas directly onto hot oven shelves or baking sheets. Bake 2 at a time for 5 mins, then nudge the toppings away from the centre slightly to create a gap in which to crack the eggs. Return the pizzas to the oven to finish cooking – they should take another 6-7 mins, depending on how you like your yolk.

*Recipe thanks to BBC Good Food