Eating healthy during pregnancy is extremely important. An unhealthy diet can be harmful for both the developing baby and the mother. It can affect negatively affect the development of the fetus while also causing health problems like gestational diabetes, nutrient deficiency etc, in the mother. When it comes to pregnancy, women are more likely to pay heed to old traditional wisdom that has supposedly been passed down through generations in their families. Some of these old wives tales are hardy rooted in fact and can cause unintentional harm to the pregnant woman.Also Read - Arjun Kapoor Fat to Fit Journey And Jaqueline Fernandez's Fitness Secret And Workout Routine| Watch Video
This is why there’s a lot of confusion as to what food women should eat in the pre-natal stages, and food they should keep away from. It’s extremely important to manage your daily blood sugar and calorie intake to maintain optimum energy levels. This is because during the 2nd and the 3rd trimesters women need at least 350-500 calories more than usual, daily. Besides this, there are a lot of changes in the immune system, that can make you more vulnerable to food-borne diseases, some of which can cause unprecedented complications, even miscarriages. Also Read - EXCLUSIVE : Actor Gautam Rode And Pankhuri Awasthy On Their Fitness Secrets And Workout Routine, Watch Video
Thus, it’s very important to monitor your pre-natal diet and food habits. Healthy food habits will ensure that you don’t experience any health troubles and the festus also develops the way it should into a healthy baby. Moreover, a healthy diet during pregnancy will ensure that it’s easier for you to loose that extra weight after delivery. There are certain foods that will make sure your body gets a continued supply of all nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of the baby. ALSO READ: Foods to eat during periods: Best and healthy foods to fight PMS and menstrual cramps Also Read - Health Tips: What Is Dengue Fever? Causes, Symptoms And Preventive Measures, EXPLAINED | Watch Video
Here are some highly nutritious foods you can eat during pregnancy:
1. Soft Cheeses
Soft cheeses like brei and feta are great sources of high quality protein and calcium, both of which is needed by the body of a pregnant woman in high quantities. However, with cheeses you should be careful, as the varieties made with unpastureized milk can be dangerous, as they can be infected with the bacteria listeria. Listeria causes literiosis which is passed on to the fetus and causes miscarriages or still birth. However, cheeses made of pasteurized milk are completely safe and extremely healthy for pregnant women.
Yogurt is another dairy product rich in high quality protein like whey and casein. Yogurt contains more calcium than any other dairy product and is also rich in magnesium, zinc, various B-Vitamins and phosphorus. Yogurt also contains probiotic bacteria, which are extremely important for maintaining the digestive health of the pregnant woman. For lactose intolerant women, yogurt is a great choice to take all the nutritious benefits of dairy. Choose the probiotic kind for maximum benefits like reduced risk of pregnancy related complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, vaginal infections and allergies.
Legumes like peanuts and soyabeans are excellent sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate (B9) and calcium, all of which is required in good amounts in the body of a pregnant woman. Folate is extremely important for the health of the mother and baby, especially during the first trimester and it’s also one of the nutrients that pregnant women don’t consume enough of. This can lead to defects in the neural tube and low birth weight. Low folate intake can also leave the baby more vulnerable to infections and disease later in life. All legumes are also very high in fiber, magnesium, iron and potassium.
Eggs are a wholesome health food that is packed with all sorts of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and also good fat. Eggs are rich sources of choline, which is important for many processes during pregnancy like brain development of the fetus. Hence, consuming more choline can lead to reduced risk of brain defects in the child. A single whole egg contains almost 25 per cent (113 mg) of the daily required choline intake of a pregnant woman. However, it’s very important to make sure that you cook your egg properly before eating it, as raw eggs might contain salmonella bateria, linked with typhoid. Stay away from all foods containing raw eggs at home as well as in restaurants.
5. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like spinach have many important nutrients that pregnant women need, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Furthermore, they are rich in antioxidants and contain plant compounds which help with building immunity and improving digestion. Due to their high fiber content, leafy greens are also good for preventing constipation, which is a very common problem amongst pregnant women. Furthermore, they are linked with reduced problems of high birth weight. However, make sure that you wash all your fresh produce thoroughly before consuming them. Since they are going to be eaten raw, they may introduce certain unwanted bacteria into your body.
Broccoli is rich in anitoxidants, important for reducing risk of heart diseases and building the immune system. It’s also rich in fiber, which is important for keeping the digestive system working at the optimum levels. Moreover, it has almost no fat, hence making sure that you put off unwanted calories. Broccoli is also high on water content (90 per cent) to ensure your body stays hydrated. It’s also very high in protein content- 29% of its dry weight, which is higher than most vegetables.
7. Fish Liver Oil
Fish liver oil is a very popular nutrition food, which is also available in the form of immunity building capsules, the most popular variety being the cod liver oil ones. It has Omega-3 fatty acids, which besides being antioxidative in nature, also essential for brain and eye development of the fetus. Fish liver oil also has Vitamin D, which most women do not get enough of. Low Vitamin D causes reduced uptake of proteins by the blood and it’s mostly discarded out through urine. This condition is called preeclampsia and is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, besides high protein in the urine. A single serving of fish liver oil daily is more than enough to make up for the deficiency of Vitamin A, Vitamin D and omega-3. ALSO READ: Winter Foods for Weight Loss: Top 10 superfoods to eat this winter to loose that extra festive weight!
Berries are not just highly nutritious, they also have a low glycemic index value which means no unnecessary spikes in blood sugar levels. This is extremely important as a pregnant woman’s body is already high in blood sugar released by the placental hormones. Berries are high in water to keep you hydrated and Vitamin C, to encourage iron uptake by the blood. They are also packed with healthy carbohydrates and plant fiber. You can add some frozen berries to your yogurt to increase its nutritious value and meet your daily carb and fiber needs, without adding to many calories to do your body.
Salmon is packed with proteins and Omega-3 antioxidants, which pregnant women often don’t get enough of. Omega-3 Fatty Acids, especially the long chain fatty acids DHA and EPA are essential for the brain and eye development of the fetus. These are found in high amounts in all seafood. However, pregnant women are advised to limit their seafood consumption to twice a week because of the mercury and other contaminants which often get accumulated in fatty fishes. Some nutrition experts advise to do away with fatty fish altogether, but limiting the intake to less than 340 gm per week is advisable.
10. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits are packed with plant fiber and natural sugars, vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits are recommended over normal fruits as one serving contains more essential nutrients like folate, potassium and iron than a piece of fruit because of the water content. Prunes and dates are some of the dry fruits which pregnant women should include in their diets. However, you must avoided the candied varieties which are high in processed sugars.
Drinking adequate water is extremely important for pregnant women. This is because, during pregnancy, blood volume can increase by upto 1.5 Liters, leading to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, anxiety, tiredness and bad mood. Moreover, water helps fighting constipation and urinary tract infections which are common during pregnancies. Nutrition experts recommend a water intake of as much as 2 litres per day for pregnant women.
Avocados are rich sources of antioxidants and lots of monounsaturated fatty acids, which lead to the production of good cholesterol in the blood. Healthy fats also help in building the skin, brain and tissues of the fetus. Folate helps in reducing risk of neural tube defects. Other nutrients in avocados include potassium, fiber, Vitamin-B especially folate, Vitamins E and C. Potassium helps in reducing leg cramps which are common in some women during pregnancy. Avocados have more potassium than even bananas.
Whole grains like oats help in meeting the increased calorie requirements of the pregnant woman’s body, especially during the second and the third trimesters. Oats and quinoa are packed with fiber, vitamins and plant compounds and are also rich in proteins, apart from magnesium and Vitamin B.
14. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are rich sources of plant compound beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A inside your body. Vitamin A is important for cell and tissue differentiation, which basically means growth of the fetal tissue. An increase in the intake of Vitamin (from 10 to 40 per cent) is advised for pregnant women and sweet potatoes can meet the demand. About 100–150 grams of cooked sweet potatoes can fulfill the required daily intake of beta carotene leading to a fulfillment of demand of Vitamin A in the body. ALSO READ:
15. Beef, Pork, Chicken
Lean meats like beef, pork and chicken are great sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are especially good sources of iron, choline and other B-vitamins- everything that’s needed in high amounts by the body of a pregnant woman. Pregnant women need immense amounts of iron as their blood volume increases. Blood iron helps in delivering oxygen to all parts of the body, including adequate oxygen delivery to the fetus. However, meats should be properly cooked before consumption to kill the germs and harmful bacteria.