Knowing the right foods to eat while pregnant is very important. This is because the growth of the baby is heavily dependent on the nutrition of the mother.
So if you are seeking to know more about advisable diet while pregnant, below are 12 healthy foods that pregnant women should eat.
1. Dairy products
Your baby needs the extra protein and calcium from dairy products. You should feast on dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt regularly.
Dairy products contain two types of high-quality protein: casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium and provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
Yoghurt, especially Greek yoghurt, contains more calcium than other dairy products and is especially beneficial. Some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support digestive health.
This group of food includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts Legumes are great plant-based sources of fibre, protein, iron, folate, and calcium all of which your body needs more of during pregnancy.
Folate is one of the most essential B vitamins (B9). It’s very important for you and your baby, especially during the first trimester, and even before.
Legumes are generally very high in fibre, too. Some varieties are also high in iron, magnesium, and potassium.
3. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not only delicious but they’re also rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for a baby’s development.
Thankfully, sweet potatoes are an ample plant-based source of beta carotene and fibre. Fibre keeps you full longer, reduces blood sugar spikes, and improves digestive health which can really help if that pregnancy constipation hits.
4. Salmon fish and fish liver oil
Salmon is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids. omega-3 fatty acids are found in high amounts in seafood, and help build the brain and eyes of your baby. It can even help increase gestational length. Plus, salmon is one of the very few natural sources of vitamin D.
However, you have to limit your seafood intake due to the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish.
Here are the high mercury fish to avoid
- King mackerel
- Bigeye tuna
- Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
Fish liver oil is made from the oily liver of fish, most often cod. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for fetal brain and eye development.
Supplementing with fish oil may help protect against preterm delivery and may benefit fetal eye development.
Fish liver oil is also very high in vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. It may be highly beneficial for those who don’t regularly eat seafood or supplement with omega-3 or vitamin D.
Eggs are the ultimate health food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient a pregnant woman and her baby needs. A large egg contains high-quality protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient during pregnancy. It’s important for brain development in babies and helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.
6. Broccoli and dark, leafy greens
Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, pack in so many of the nutrients you’ll need. Benefits include fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Vegetables have also been linked to reduced risk of low birth weight in children.
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7. Lean meat and protein
Lean beef, pork, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline, and other B vitamins all of which a pregnant woman needs in higher amounts during pregnancy.
Iron is an essential mineral that is used by red blood cells as a part of haemoglobin. You’ll need more iron since your blood volume is increasing. This is particularly important during your third trimester.
Low levels of iron during early and mid-pregnancy may cause iron-deficiency anaemia, which increases the risk of low birth weight.
Berries hold a lot of goodness in their tiny packages like water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants.
It is are also a great snack, as they contain both water and fibre. They provide a lot of flavour and nutrition, but with relatively few calories.
Some of the best berries to eat while pregnant are blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, and acai berries.
9. Whole grains
Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grains are packed with fibre, vitamins, and plant compounds. Think oats, quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, and barley instead of white bread, pasta, and white rice.
Some whole grains, like oats and quinoa, also contain a fair amount of protein. They also hit a few buttons that are often lacking in pregnant people: B vitamins, fibre, and magnesium.
Avocados are an unusual fruit because they contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids. This makes them taste buttery and rich perfect for adding depth and creaminess to a dish. They’re also high in fibre, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Because of their high content of healthy fats, folate, and potassium, avocados are a great choice during pregnancy (and always).
The healthy fats help build the skin, brain, and tissues of your little one, and folate may help prevent neural tube defects, developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine such as spina bifida. Potassium may help relieve leg cramps, a side effect of pregnancy for some women.
11. Dried fruit
Dried fruit is generally high in calories, fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. One piece of dried fruit contains the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, just without all the water and in a much smaller form.
One serving of dried fruit can provide a large percentage of the recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, and potassium.
Prunes are rich in fibre, potassium, and vitamin K. They’re natural laxatives and may be very helpful in relieving constipation. Dates are high in fibre, potassium, iron, and plant compounds.
Although dried fruit may help increase calorie and nutrient intake, it’s generally not recommended to consume more than one serving at a time. Try adding a small portion to a trail mix with nuts and seeds for an on-the-go protein- and fibre-filled snack.
It is important for pregnant women to stay hydrated. During pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 45 per cent. Your body will channel hydration to your baby, but if you don’t watch your water intake, you may become dehydrated yourself.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include headaches, anxiety, tiredness, irritable mood, and reduced memory.
Increasing your water intake may also help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.
General guidelines recommend that pregnant women drink about 2.3 litres of water daily. Keep in mind that you also get water from other foods and beverages, such as fruit, vegetables.
Try keeping a reusable water bottle on hand so that you can quench your thirst throughout the day
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