Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is very important because from now onwards, you’ll be eating for two instead of one! So, during this time your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
But this isn’t an excuse to overeat chocolate and candy! Poor eating habits and excess weight gain may also increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes, pregnancy or birth complications and even negatively affect your child’s development. So, choosing a healthy and wholesome pregnancy diet is very important for both you and your baby.
If you want to improve your pregnancy eating habits, read on!
Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain many of the nutrients pregnant women need. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, potassium and are rich in antioxidants. Additionally, they contain plant compounds that benefit the immune system and digestion.
Due to their high fiber content, these veggies may also assist in constipation prevention – which is a common symptom in pregnancy.
The high vitamin C compound in these broccoli and dark green vegetables, helps the body absorb iron content when it’s paired with iron-rich foods like whole-wheat pasta or brown rice.
Salmon is very rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids. Most people, especially pregnant women, do not get enough omega-3 in their diet that is necessary for their bodies.
The long-chain of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are especially important for a number of reasons:
- The body can’t make them on its own.
- They help metabolize fat-soluble vitamins like A and E.
- They may help reduce the risk of prenatal depression.
- They’re critical for the development of your baby’s eyes and brain (both the brain and retina are primarily composed of DHA).
- It is also a good source of iodine.
Concerned about mercury poisoning? Salmon is actually a safe seafood choice for pregnancy. In fact, it’s healthy to have between 2-3 servings a week. Sardines and herrings are also a good choice for pregnant women.
Your baby needs a healthy supply of calcium for their growing bones. Additionally, as a pregnant woman, you need more calcium in your diet to keep YOUR bones strong and assist with nerves and muscles function. This is why your diet needs to comprise of extra protein and calcium to withstand the changes in your body as well as your growing baby.
Yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) is particularly good for pregnant women as it contains more calcium than most dairy products. What’s more, some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support digestive health.
Women with lactose intolerance may also be more tolerable to probiotic yogurt.
A probiotic supplement during pregnancy may also reduce the risk of complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, vaginal infections and even some allergies. However, please note that probiotics during pregnancy are not declared completely safe, so please consult your doctor before self-medicating.
Eggs are actually among the most nutritious sources of food on the planet! A large egg contains 77 calories and is high in protein and fat. It also packs many healthy vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, eggs are a great source of choline. Choline is essential for many processes in your body, including brain development and health. Low choline intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects and possibly lead to decreased brain function in the fetus.
What’s more is that a single whole egg contains roughly 113 mg of choline, which is about 25% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.
Eggs are also a good source of Vitamin D which plays an essential role in helping calcium build strong bones and teeth for your baby, as well as keeping your immune system in fighting form. Additionally, getting a good supply of Vitamin D may reduce the risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and low birth weight.
Beef and chicken are good sources of high-quality protein. Beef is also rich in iron, choline and other B vitamins – which are all needed in higher volumes during pregnancy.
The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of every cell in both your body and your baby’s. High-protein foods also keep your hunger at bay by stabilizing your blood sugar.
In addition to being high in protein, it’s also rich in iron which is critical to help your baby develop a good red blood cell supply as well as supporting yours too! Iron also plays a role in a baby’s brain development.
Hence, lean meat is one of the best foods to eat during pregnancy.
Legumes include lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts. They are an excellent plant-based source of fiber, protein, iron, folate (B9) and calcium — all of which your body needs more of during pregnancy!
Folate is one of the B vitamins (B9) is important for the health of the mother and fetus (especially during the first trimester). Folate deficiency is linked with a higher risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight. Insufficient folate intake may also cause your child to become more prone to infections and disease later in life.
Legumes contain high amounts of folate. One cup of lentils, chickpeas or black beans may provide from 65–90% of the recommended daily intake. Additionally, legumes are high in fiber. Some varieties are also high in iron, magnesium and potassium.
Alternatively, taking a B9 (folic acid) is also important to avoid deficiency and its consequences!
If you want to learn more interesting facts about conception, pregnancy and beyond, check out our latest blogs!