The body goes through innumerable physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. The weight increases and by the time you give birth to your infant, your blood volume increases up to 60%. You’re not just responsible for your own health but also your baby’s. Without a doubt, a nutritious, well-balanced eating plan can be one of the greatest gifts you give to your developing baby. But is eating for two same as eating for one? It is no cakewalk with all the dos and don’ts; specially not with the old wives tales.
Here are 11 food items that you should definitely eat during pregnancy:
Eggs are the ultimate health food, because they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg contains 77 calories, as well as high-quality protein and fat.Not only are eggs relatively cheap but they contain choline too. Never heard of that one? Choline is essential for fetal brain development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects. Whether you like them fried, scrambled, hard-boiled or served as an omelet, eggs are the gold standard for prenatal protein. They also happen to be a great source of folate and iron.
Bananas are rich in potassium and offer quick energy to fight off fatigue. Potassium is a vital mineral, which enhances your nerve communication, body’s electrolyte balance and optimal fetal growth. A shortage of potassium could cause weakness,muscle cramps, constipation, and abnormal heart rhythms. They’re also easy on your stomach if you’re nauseated. Slice them up into cereal or whip one into a breakfast smoothie with yogurt, berries, ice, and a splash of orange juice.
3. Milk & dairy products
Intake of adequate amount of calcium is essential during pregnancy. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth healthy and helps baby to develop his or hers. If your calcium intake is inadequate, your body takes the calcium baby needs from your bones. Milk is a rich source of calcium. But the question is which kind of milk you should be drinking. Research shows that milk from desi Gir cows with a different kind of protein called A2 is not only nutritious but also easier to digest.
4. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are a great source of iron, to meet your body and baby’s needs. Sweet potatoes have abundance of nutritious fiber which reduce blood sugar spikes and improve digestive health, vitamin B6 and potassium. Oh! And not to forget they contain vitamin C as well as copper and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A. And as you may already know, vitamin A plays an important role in the development of baby’s eyes, bones, and skin. So swap in sweet potatoes for your usual sides; they’re great mashed, boiled, baked or french-fried.
It’s easy to have an energizing start to your day by trading in your usual morning bagel or muffin for a bowl of oatmeal a few times a week. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal keep your tummy from growling, and the oat bran it contains can help lower your cholesterol levels. Whole grains are great for keeping your energy levels up, especially if morning sickness has you feeling a bit drained. Plus, all the fibers help with constipation, often caused due to pregnancy. But the benefits don’t just stop with mom. It also contains protein and vitamin B6, both of which are important for baby’s development.
This group of food includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts. Legumes are excellent plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate and calcium. Folate is one of the B-vitamins (B9). It is very important for the health of the mother and fetus, especially during the first trimester. Insufficient folate intake may also cause the child to be more prone to infections and disease later in life. One cup of lentils, chickpeas or black beans may provide from 65–90% of the RDA . Furthermore, legumes are generally very high in fiber which helps in regulation of bowel movement.
Orange packed with vitamin C is also rich in folate, and fiber. Folate is a necessary nutrient for preventing certain birth defects early on in pregnancy and for ensuring a healthy pregnancy. The potassium in orange is important for keeping your muscle function, metabolism and expanding blood volume. Vitamin C in addition to fighting colds, helps your body absorb iron better and keeps both your and baby’s teeth and bones healthy.
8. Green vegetables
Green vegetable such as spinach, kale and broccoli are packed with nutrients that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy such as vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium and folate. Whether you like broccoli or not, it is a must in pregnancy. Broccoli is rich in fiber which prevents constipation and immunity boosting antioxidants. It contains plenty of vitamin C; this popular green vegetable helps your body absorb iron when it’s eaten with an iron-rich food, such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice. And for your baby, these green vegetables reduce the risk of low birth weight.
9. Lean meat
The body needs a lot more protein in this phase (about 25 extra grams a day) to help the fetus grow and to ensure his or her muscle development properly. Beef, pork and chicken are a great source of high-quality protein, if cooked well. Furthermore, beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline and other B-vitamins which are needed in higher amounts. As the blood volume increases, one needs to increase the iron intake (to around 27 milligrams a day). Low levels of iron during early and mid-pregnancy may cause iron deficiency anemia, which doubles the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
10. Fish liver oil
Fish liver oil is made from the oily liver of fish, most often cod. This oil is very rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for baby’s brain and eye development. lt is also very high in vitamin D. Low vitamin D intake is a potentially dangerous and is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and protein in the urine. A spoonful of this oil can do the trick.
These crunchy snacks are full of healthy fats (including brain-boosting omega-3), protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Munching on nuts which are magnesium-rich foods helps reduce the risk of premature labor and aids in the development of your baby’s nervous system. A quarter cup of almonds contains 98 milligrams of magnesium. Also, fat is critical for your baby’s brain development and it also helps keep you fuller longer.