Foods to eat during pregnancy – superfoods!
What to eat during Pregnancy
Welcome back mummies to be! In continuation from my previous article, foods to avoid during pregnancy, we shall now move on to the brighter side – which is food that you should be eating more of during pregnancy a.k.a pregnancy superfood! This is especially important when selecting quality food if you are still suffering from morning sickness, gaining weight too fast or not gaining enough weight – make every calorie and nutrient intake count. If you are already eating well, then the list below can be extra tips to add on to your already healthy and nutritious diet.
Aside from the foods mentioned in my previous article, all other foods are generally safe to consume during pregnancy. There are certain food that may contain more nutrients that are optimum during pregnancy for both you and your unborn child. The list below is just a general guide; feel free to add more types of food to your personal list of superfoods.
Beans – such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans and soy beans.
They contain fibre, protein, iron, folate, magnesium, calcium and zinc which not only aid in the growth of your unborn baby but also help to combat constipation and prevent haemorrhoids in expecting mothers, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.
Meat– lean cuts of beef, chicken, pork and lamb.
Pack full of protein, vitamin B6, B12 and niacin as well as zinc and iron in highly absorbable forms which is essential for providing raw materials and building new cells for your unborn child. In addition, beef is also rich in choline which is required for brain development.
During pregnancy, your daily iron needs double so it is important to include plenty of iron-rich foods. Low irons will make you feel tired easily and may also lead to premature delivery.
Pasteurized cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, edam, etc
Cheeses are excellent sources of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium that is vital in the growth and health of yours and your unborn baby’s bones, plus vitamin B12 and protein which is essential in cell growth. You can opt for the low fat selections to save on calories, fat and cholesterol.
Eggs are a good supply of protein and contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. Certain brands of eggs also contain additional omega-3-fats which is needed for brain and vision development. It is recommended not to eat more than 1 egg/day and make sure they are cooked thoroughly before eating them. If you find the aroma of cooked eggs nauseating, then try hard boil eggs instead.
Milk and yoghurt
These contains excellent source of calcium and phosphorus which are essential in building healthy strong dense bones in both mother and child and also vitamin D which promotes calcium absorption and deposition into bones.
Yoghurt is a fantastic alternative source if you do not like to drink milk or if you have lactose intolerance plus it is packed with protein, folic acid and probiotics (good bacteria) which are good for your gut as well as preventing yeast infections which can unfortunately be quite common during pregnancy. If you are worried about calories, you can opt for the low fat milk or low fat yoghurt choices
Whole grains – such as enriched whole grain breads and cereals
These are fortified with folic acid, vitamin Bs, iron, zinc and also have more fibre than white bread and rice. As they are complex carbohydrates, they will also keep you feeling full for longer.
Oils and fats
The fattier seafood such as salmon, cod, and haddock contain essential Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Make sure they are cooked well and it is recommended to stick to no more than 2 or 3 servings of low mercury fish per week.
Nuts are also another good alternative form of unsaturated, heart-healthy fats. However, as they are high in fat and calories, do not go nuts about nuts.
These oils and fats are good for your baby’s brains and eyes development.
Soy food – such as tofu
For vegetarians, soy food is an excellent source of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting, especially after childbirth.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a super source of vitamins A, B, C, folic acid, iron, and calcium. You can eat them raw or cooked! Deeper, darker coloured vegetables signal higher vitamins contain. Although red meat is rich in iron, it is not the only source. Look out for alternatives in green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
Example of super food fruits & vegetables:
Berries – such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and even avocado. (I just found out that avocado is a large berry!)
These are packed with carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, beta- carotene, folate and fibre. Berries also contain phytonutrients which acts as antioxidants that protect cells from damage. If you consume berries after an iron-rich meal, their vitamin C will help boost iron absorption too. Also, berries are helpful in fighting morning sickness too.
Broccoli contains folate, fibre, calcium, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, carotenoids which promotes healthy vision, and potassium which helps in fluid balance and normal blood pressure. The ‘floret’ part of the broccoli is the most nutritious part but other parts like the stalk and stem are nutritious too so do not waste them.
Steaming rather than boiling helps to preserve the nutrients.
Rich in potassium, bananas are good for reducing fluid retention and maintaining a healthy fluid balance. They also contain tryptophan which helps to promote sleep. It is a great starchy, energy – boosting snack. Also an easy eat if you are feeling nauseous from your morning sickness.
While you are pregnant, try to ensure that everything you eat will have some sort of beneficial effect on either yourself or your baby. Once you have overcome your morning sickness (usually after the 1st trimester), enjoy your pregnancy and enjoy what you eat. Also, do not forget to stay hydrated and aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps to prevent constipation and urinary tract infections.
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