8 Healthy Foods Every Pregnant Woman Should Eat
It is very important to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy. It is the time the body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In fact, you need 350–500 extra calories each day during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. A diet that lacks key nutrients may negatively affect the baby’s development.
Poor eating habits and excess weight gain may also increase the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy or birth complications.
Simply put, choosing healthy, nutritious foods will help ensure the health of you and your baby. It will also make it a lot easier to lose the pregnancy weight after you’ve given birth.
Here are 8 highly nutritious foods to eat when you’re pregnant.
1. Dairy Products
During pregnancy, you need to consume extra protein and calcium to meet the needs of the growing fetus.
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, various B-vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Dairy products, especially yogurt are a great choice for pregnant women.
This group of food includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts.
Legumes are excellent plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate (B9) and calcium, all of which the body needs more of during pregnancy.
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. It may reduce the risk of some birth defects and diseases.
3. Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet potatoes are very rich in beta-carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for growth, as well as for the differentiation of most cells and tissues. It is very important for healthy fetal development
However, they are also advised to avoid very high amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, which may cause toxicity when eaten in excess.
Therefore, beta-carotene is a very important source of vitamin A for pregnant women.
Furthermore, sweet potatoes contain fiber, which may increase fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes and improve digestive health and mobility.
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. It also contains many vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are a great source of choline. Choline is essential for many processes in the body, including brain development and health.
5. Fish Liver Oil:
Fish liver oil is made from the oily liver of fish, most often cod.
The oil is very rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for fetal brain and eye development.
Fish liver oil is also very high in vitamin D, which many people do not get enough of. It may be highly beneficial for those who don’t regularly eat seafood or supplement with omega-3 or vitamin D.
Low vitamin D intake intake has been linked with an increased risk of preeclampsia. This potentially dangerous complication is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and protein in the urine.
Consuming cod liver oil during early pregnancy has been linked with higher birth weight and a lower risk of disease later in the baby’s life.
Berries are packed with water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber and plant compounds. They generally contain high amounts of vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron.
Vitamin C is also important for skin health and immune function. Berries have a relatively low glycemic index value, so they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar.
Berries are also a great snack because they contain both water and fiber. They provide a lot of flavor and nutrition, but with relatively few calories.
7. Whole grains:
Whole grains are an important source of energy in the diet, and they also provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins. At least half of a pregnant woman’s carbohydrate choices each day should come from whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or breads and brown rice.
During pregnancy, blood volume increases by up to 1.5 liters. Therefore, it is important to stay properly hydrated.
The fetus usually gets everything it needs, but if you don’t watch your water intake, you may become dehydrated.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include headaches, anxiety, tiredness, bad mood and reduced memory.
Furthermore, increasing water intake may help relieve constipation and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.
As an estimate, you should be drinking about 1–2 liters each day. Just keep in mind that you also get water from other foods and beverages, such as fruit, vegetables,coffee and tea.
You should always drink water when you’re thirsty.
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