7 Great Nutritional Foods For Pregnant Women
Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is very important. During this time, your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
In fact, you may 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.
Put simply, 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.
What a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy is her baby’s main source of nourishment. So, experts recommend that a mother-to-be choose a variety of healthy foods and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development.
Fruits and vegetables contain many important nutrients for pregnancy especially, Vitamin C and Folic Acid.
Pregnant women need at least 70 mg of Vitamin C daily, which is contained in fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and honeydew, and vegetables such as broccoli and tomatoes.
In order to prevent neural tube defects, 0.4 mg of folic acid per day is recommended.
A good source of folic acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables (other sources of folic acid include legumes, such as black or lima beans, black-eyed peas, and veal).
You should have at least 2-4 servings of fruit and 4 or more servings of vegetables daily.
Eating whole grains may help meet the increased calorie requirements that come with pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters.
As opposed to refined grains, whole grains are packed with fiber, vitamins and plant compounds.
Oats and quinoa also contain a fair amount of protein, which is important during pregnancy.
Additionally, whole grains are generally rich in B-vitamins, fiber and magnesium. All of these are frequently lacking in the diets of pregnant women.
You’re not going to find a better source of calcium and vitamin D—a potent diabetes-quelling combination—than in dairy foods like milk, cottage cheese, and yoghurt.
One study found that women who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D a day were 33% less likely to develop diabetes than those taking in less of both nutrients.
You can get these nutrients from other foods, but none combine them like dairy does. Stick to fat-free or low-fat versions of your favourite dairy foods—”regular” has a lot of saturated fat.
beans have more to boast about than being high in fibre (plant compounds that help you feel full, steady blood sugar, and even lower cholesterol; a half cup of black beans delivers more than 7 grams).
They are averagely a good source of calcium, a mineral that research shows can help burn body fat. In ½ cup of white beans, you’ll get almost 100 mg of calcium—about 10% of your daily intake.
Kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. They are very high in fibre too.
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.
Low choline intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects and possibly lead to decreased brain function.
A single whole egg contains roughly 113 mg of choline, which is about 25% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women (450 mg).
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.
Pregnant women are generally advised to increase their vitamin A intake by 10–40%.
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.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene. About 100–150 grams (3.5–5.3 oz) of cooked sweet potatoes fulfills the entire reference daily intake.
Furthermore, sweet potatoes contain fiber, which may increase fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes and improve digestive health and mobility.
Dried fruit is generally high in calories, fiber and various vitamins and minerals.
One piece of dried fruit contains the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, just without all the water and in a much smaller form.
Therefore, one serving of dried fruit can provide a large percentage of the recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron and potassium.
Prunes are rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin K and sorbitol. They are natural laxatives, and may be very helpful in relieving constipation.
Dates are high in fiber, potassium, iron and plant compounds. Regular date consumption in the third trimester may help facilitate cervical dilation and reduce the need to induce labor.
However, dried fruit also contains high amounts of natural sugar. Make sure to avoid the candied varieties, which contain even more sugar.
Although dried fruit may help increase calorie and nutrient intake, it is generally not recommended to consume more than one serving at a time.