Extra virgin olive oil plays a key role in fetal development during pregnancy, and a deficiency can have detrimental effects on the baby's later development.
It has been shown that the postnatal development of babies of mothers who consumed extra virgin olive oil during pregnancy is better in terms of height, weight, behavior, and psychomotor reflexes.
The fetus needs vitamin E to grow. The newborn baby also needs a supply of vitamin E to combat the oxidative stress that occurs when entering an oxygen atmosphere. Although not very abundant in extra virgin olive oil, it is present in sufficient quantity thanks to extra virgin olive oil's resistance to oxidation.
Therefore, both the amount and type of food consumed during pregnancy play a key role in the metabolic adjustments that take place in the mother and her functional relationship with the fetus.
Extra virgin olive oil and breastfeeding
During labor, the vitamin E in the mother's blood becomes concentrated in the mammary glands, so the mother continues to supply vitamin E while breastfeeding. It is important to maintain vitamin E levels while breastfeeding.
Vitamin E is also recommended for premature babies and newborns with kidney or pancreas failure because of its beneficial effect on the liver-gallbladder system.
However, extra virgin olive oil not only provides enough essential fatty acids for the development of the newborn; the ratio of linoleic acid to linolenic acid (essential fatty acids) is similar to that of breast milk.
The beneficial effects of oleic acid lasts beyond pregnancy. In addition to its documented effectiveness in preventing hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, a process that can begin as early as childhood, oleic acid also appears to have a positive impact on growth and bone mineralization and development in infancy.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is advisable to consume more fat, especially monounsaturated fat, while reducing saturated fat and cholesterol as much as possible. General dietary guidelines should be followed and caloric intake controlled to avoid excessive weight gain.
Children under the age of three have different nutritional needs than children of this age. 40 percent of the energy they consume comes from fat, whether it's in breast milk or any other type of milk. It is recommended to maintain this eating pattern and to ensure that energy and food intake meets the child's developmental needs.
An essential part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, extra virgin olive oil is fast becoming the focus of research, medical journals... and your nutritionist's notes! This immensely healthy and low-fat oil offers a plethora of benefits you can't afford to be without. What's particularly interesting is that extra virgin olive oil can be a real crowd-pleaser with kids. While children enjoy its distinctive flavor and versatility, mothers can finally have peace of mind.