10 Foods to Eat While Pregnant
It is very often heard that eating nutritious food while being pregnant is very necessary. But what makes food nutritious? Here are the components that you should keep in mind while incorporating nutrition into your diet: vitamins and minerals, protein, healthy fats, fibre, complex carbohydrates and fluids. To ensure that you are consuming the right amount of these nutrients while maintaining a balanced diet, we have created a list. Here are the top 10 food that you should eat while pregnant:
Legumes: Legumes are the food group that contains: beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts and soybeans. They provide a great source of fibre, proteins, folate, calcium and iron, which are essential for your body during pregnancy. Folate is considered to be a vital vitamin during the first trimester of the pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body requires a minimum amount of 600 mg of folate, which can be easily consumed with legumes.
Nutrients: vitamin A, C and B6, calcium, magnesium, iron.
Recipes: black beans with taco salad, hummus on toast, lentil curry.
- Dairy products:
To meet the growing baby’s needs, the mother needs to have an extra amount of calcium and protein in their diet. Dairy products are a great way to fulfil these needs, along with the benefits of other nutrients. Dairy products are considered to be the best source of dietary calcium. Greek yogurt is the most beneficial as it offers healthy probiotic bacteria that help support the digestive system. It also has the highest calcium content.
Nutrients: vitamin A, D and B12, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium.
Recipes: parfaits, yogurt smoothies, milkshakes.
- Sweet potatoes:
Sweet potato is a very versatile ingredient and can be cooked in a hundred ways. It is rich in beta carotene that is converted into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is considered vital for the development of the baby. Sweet potatoes are a natural source of fibre, which helps to keep you fuller for more extended periods, eliminating the urge to eat snacks. It is also essential for maintaining digestive health.
Nutrients: vitamin B, C and D, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium.
Recipes: Mediterranean baked sweet potato, sweet potato casserole, mashed sweet potato.
Eggs are considered to be the ultimate food containing all the nutrients that your body needs in a tiny amount. Choline is an essential nutrient, especially during pregnancy, and eggs are a great source of choline. Choline helps in the baby’s brain development and helps prevent the risk of spine and brain anomalies in the developing baby.
Nutrients: sodium, potassium, vitamin A, B6 and D, cobalamin, magnesium, iron, calcium.
Recipes: egg muffin cups, spinach scrambled eggs, egg veggie breakfast.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that are very important during pregnancy. Along with providing tons of nutritional benefits, omega-3 fatty acid helps build the baby’s brains and eyes. Salmon is also a natural source of vitamin D, which is essential for boosting immune function and maintaining bone health. Although salmon is a safe fatty fish to consume, here are some fishes that you should avoid due to their high mercury content: bigeye tuna, king mackerel, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and marlin.
Nutrients: sodium, potassium, vitamin A, B6 and C, cobalamin, magnesium, iron.
Recipes: baked salmon, lemon garlic salmon, honey garlic salmon.
- Lean meat:
Chicken, lean beef and pork are high in protein and contain nutrients such as choline, iron and vitamin B complexes. These nutrients are highly essential during pregnancy as the lack of these nutrients can cause anomalies in the developing baby. Iron is crucial during the third trimester as the blood count of the body increases. Low iron levels can cause anaemia, leading to the baby’s low weight and other birth complications. It would be best to incorporate vitamin C rich food such as bell peppers, citrus fruits, and iron-rich foods as they can aid in easy absorption.
Nutrients: vitamin D, B12 and B6, selenium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, niacin, calcium, magnesium, cobalamin.
Recipes: beef and broccoli, ground beef skillet, chicken and vegetable broth.
Avocados are filled with non-saturated fatty acids that help to make a dish creamier and rich. Moreover, it contains vital nutrients such as healthy fats, potassium and folates, which are essential during pregnancy. Healthy fats help develop the baby’s tissue and skin, while folates might prevent neural tube defects. Since avocados are considered to have more potassium than bananas, they are ideal for pregnant women as they can help reduce leg cramps.
Nutrients: folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and C, magnesium, sodium, calcium, iron.
Recipes: avocado toast, avocado salad, avocado tacos.
- Fish liver oil:
Fish liver oil is derived from the oily liver of fishes like cods and is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and DPA, which are necessary for the fetus’s brain and eye development. Fish liver oil can be also beneficial in preventing preterm delivery. However, you should not consume more than 15 ml or one tablespoon of fish liver oil per day.
Nutrients: vitamin A and D, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids.
Recipes: cod liver salad, cod liver oil tacos.
- Dried fruits:
Dried fruits such as prunes and dates are high in vitamin K, fibre, and potassium and are considered natural laxatives that effectively prevent constipation. Dried fruits are also high in various vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, calories and fibre,
Nutrients: sodium, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, C and B6, iron, magnesium.
Recipes: dried fruits and nut balls, dried fruits bars, dried fruit breakfast bowl.
Water is most vital during pregnancy as the blood volume increases by 45%. This is one of the main reason for staying hydrated. Since your hydration is channelled to the developing baby, you need to stay well hydrated. Symptoms of dehydration can include anxiety, tiredness, headaches and irritated mood. Constipation and urinary tract infections are common during pregnancies, and they can be avoided by staying hydrated!
For the proper growth of the developing baby, it is crucial to eat a balanced diet of all the foods that contain the vital nutrients for your pregnancy.