Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, largely through food, is highly advised for any person. This is, however, most important for pregnant moms. When a mom has a life growing inside her, she needs to be extremely careful about what she eats. So many changes take place in the mother's system during pregnancy that require more energy to facilitate them. Key nutrients are also required to help in the baby's growth, and their absence could cause issues with the baby's growth.
Poor eating habits and lack of exercise may cause pregnancy or birth complications. A healthy lifestyle will also make it a lot easier to get back to normal after giving birth. A good choice of healthy and nutritious food is good not only for the mother’s health but that of the baby as well. Most of the foods on this list are also eaten when a woman is not pregnant, but, the difference is in the quantity and frequency. Otherwise these are everyday foods that are available and can help soothe the nausea as well as the cravings moms may experience during pregnancy. Mom can also get creative instead of having them in the usual way, just so she can enjoy them better. Without further ado, here are some of the nutritious yet soothing foods advised for pregnant women.
20 Dairy products Have calcium and good bacteria
A good source of protein and calcium is very vital for a growing fetus. This is one of the foods highly recommended to pregnant moms. Dairy products are a high source of two types of protein, which are a good combination for growth i.e., casein and whey. Coupled with these two, dairy products are also known to be a good source of calcium, phosphorus, a good number of vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. Additionally, products such as yogurt are particularly known to have very high contents of calcium than most dairy products. Some types of yogurt contain special bacteria-probiotic bacteria that is important in digestive health. Lactose intolerant moms are highly advised on probiotic yogurt. Probiotic supplements have an advantage of reducing risk complications during pregnancy and also aid to prevent vaginal infections in women generally.
19 Legumes: beans, soybeans, peanuts
Legumes are a good source of protein, iron, folate and calcium. All of these nutrients are vital during pregnancy. Leguminous foods include beans, soybeans and peanuts. Folate belongs to the B vitamins family, also known as B9. It is very important for the mother and the growing baby. However, most expectant women do not consume enough of this nutrient. This is evidenced by the increased neural tube defects and low birth weight in children. Besides that, insufficient intake of B9 leaves your young one prone to infections and diseases even later in life. Just one cup of a legume source, like lentils or black beans provides a very high source of folate. Legumes are also considered to be very rich in fibre, iron, magnesium and potassium.
18 Sweet potatoes help digestion
Vitamin A is a vital component in the growth and differentiation of most cells and tissues. A very important nutrient in fetal development. Sweet potatoes provide a very rich source of this vital nutrient. They contain a plant compound, beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. A general increase in intake from around 10% to 40% goes a long way to ensure good fetal development. High intakes of animal based vitamin A sources are not due to the level of toxicity they pose when taken in excess. This leaves beta carotene as the reliable source for this vitamin. Sweet potatoes are also rich in fibre which controls blood sugar levels and helps improve digestive health and mobility of the fetus and the mother.
17 Salmon has tons of omega-3
This is considered a very rich source if essential omega 3- fatty acids which is a vital nutrient not only to pregnant women but every other person. Sadly, not so many people get enough of this nutrient. Omega 3 are found in high intakes of sea food and they help in the building of brains and eyes of your baby. However, due to their high levels of mercury and other contaminants, expectant women are highly advised not to take too much of sea food. This does not however mean that they should stay away from sea food completely as some mothers would prefer. A twice a week intake is considered fair enough. Salmon is also a source of Vitamin D, which is majorly found in the sun and is in most cases lacking in the diet. Vitamin D is is important for bone health and immune function.
16 Eggs have choline, which the baby's neural tubes need
Eggs are highly advised because they contain a little bit of every nutrient that is essentially required by the mother and the fetus. A standard large egg contains a good number of calories, at least 77, high quality proteins and fats as well and not forgetting vitamins and minerals. Besides that, eggs provide a rich source of a nutrient called choline, which is required for among many other processes, brain development and health. Low intake of this vital nutrient results into an increased risk of neural tube effects and brain malfunction in the fetus. Just one single egg contains 25% of the Reference Daily intake for pregnant women. which goes a long way to ensure the healthy growth of the fetus.
15 Broccoli and dark leafy greens
Broccoli and dark leafy greens such as kales and spinach contain fiber, vitamin C which is the main nutrient for growth and development, vitamin K which is responsible for bone health and wound healing, vitamin A which essentially promotes healthy growth, calcium, iron, folate and potassium which pregnant women need. Broccoli and leafy greens contain antioxidants and other plant compounds that are essential in the immune and digestive system. Aside from that, vegetables have high fiber contents which aids in preventing constipation which is very common in pregnant women. Some studies have also linked the reduced risk of low birth weight to the consumption of green leafy vegetables. A high intake of this combination is advised to ensure the healthy growth of the fetus.
14 Lean meat: mom and baby need iron
Besides eggs, lean meat (beef, pork and chicken) provide high protein content . Particularly, beef and pork are highly rich in choline, iron and other vitamin B supplements which are all essential to both the mother and the fetus. Iron is used by red blood cells as a component of haemoglobin, and also aids in the transportation of oxygen to all body cells. During the third trimester, pregnant women require alot of iron due tho their increasing blood volume. Low intake of iron rich foods during pregnancy results into iron deficiency anemia, which can result into low birth weights and premature births. Eating red meat regularly during pregnancy gradually increases the iron content in the body. Additionally, vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, increases absorption os ironns from foods into the blood stream.
13 Fish liver oil for omega-3 and Vitamin d
This is made from oily fish, particularly, cod. The fish liver oil has a high content of omega 3 fatty acids which promote fetal brain ans eye development. It is also a good source for vitamin D, which is lacking for most people, or those who do not regularly eat sea food. It acts as a supplement in this case. Low lwvels of vitamin D results into preeclampsia, which is a potentially dangerous. Consumption of cod liver oil results into increased birth weight and a healthier life of the baby even later in life. A daily recommended dose of 15ml /one tablespoon is highly advised. An overdose of this can also be dangerous to the fetus as it may cause blood thinning.
12 Berries are loaded with antioxidants
The berry family,(Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) are one of the best sources healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. They have high amounts of vitamin C which is vital in the absorption of iron in the body, skin health and provides immunity to the body against diseases. Their sugar levels are relatively low and pose no worry for increased blood sugar. It is also a great snack presenting a combination of both water and fiber, while providing a lot of flavor and nutrition as well, and with few calories. Additionally, the nutrient content in berries build the baby's healthy skin and also improve their immunity. Eating berries after meals high in protein is highly recommended as this helps absorb the nutrients better.
11 Whole grains: moms need lots of fiber
Whole grains such as oats have higher content of fiber, vitamins and plant compounds as opposed to refined grains like white bread and rice. This helps pregnant women meet their increased calorie demand, more so during the second and third trimesters. Particularly, most whole grains are rich in B vitamins, fiber and magnesium which are in most times lacking in diets of pregnant women. It is important to incorporate whole grains into your daily meal routine to ensure adequate consumption. An oatmeal breakfast coupled with a whole grain sandwich bread during lunch and brown rice for dinner would be a perfect example. It is important to note that your baby will constantly draw iron from your blood during pregnancy and as such it is vital to ensure there is sufficient supply each day.
10 Avocados are good for neural tubes
This is considered a very unusual fruit due to their richness in monounsaturated fatty acids which are considered healthy fats. These healthy fats promote the development of brain and tissues of your fetus while also preventing neural tube defects. Avocado is good for the skin too. They also have high contents of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.Potassium helps to relieve leg cramps, which is a common side effect of pregnancy for some women. So the next time you feel that urge to eat that guacamole or you just want to have a nice dish with some avocado, dig right in because you will be doing you and that baby a whole lot of good.
9 Dried fruit are a great source of nutrients (and they're delicious)
Dried fruit has a high content of calories, vitamins and minerals and fiber as well. Compared to the fresh fruits, dried fruits have just an equal amount of nutrient except water and they are smaller. This implies that one serving of a dried fruit gives a large percentage of vitamins, minerals, iron, potassium and folate. Dried fruits rich in fiber are very handy in relieving constipation as their high contents of nutrients make them natural laxatives. Some of the fruits such as dates, are very high in fiber, iron and other plant compounds. Regular consumption of such increases the cervical dilation during delivery therefore reducing the chances of having an induced labor. Dried fruits however have some equally high amounts of sugar which may spike blood sugar levels. It is therefore not recommended to consume more than a serving at a time.
8 Water: pregnant moms must stay hydrated
It is generally very vital to keep the body hydrated. The rule of 8 glasses a day is normally advised for everyone in general. Pregnancy increases blood volume up by around one and a half liters (1.5). This in itself necessitates the need to stay properly hydrated. The fetus will always get what it needs, which can make you very dehydrated if you do not take enough water. High water consumption helps to relieve constipation and reduce the risks of having urinary tract infections which are common occurrences during pregnancy. It is recommended to take at least 2 liters per day, but the amount may vary by the needs of an individual. It is also important to keep in mind that you get water from other sources as well like fruits, vegetables and beverages.
7 Citrus fruits for vitamin c
Citrus fruits provide a very good source of vitamin C which is very vital during pregnancy. Citrus fruits include oranges, tangerines and grapefruits. You can either choose to eat them as they are or blend and have them as a refreshing juice on a hot afternoon. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient during pregnancy as it aids in the absorption of iron into the blood stream. Besides that, Vitamins are important as they provide immunity to the body against infections and diseases. So when out for your next grocery shopping, why not include some of oranges in your shopping basket as they will come in handy when you will be craving for that cold drink on a hot sunny afternoon.
6 Lentils keep away hunger
Pregnancy comes with a lot of hunger pangs. This can be very annoying at times as some mothers always feel the urge to always just keep eating. Well, Lentils provide a solution to those notorious pangs. They are filled with fiber and protein which ease the pangs and also provide relief to constipation. Lentils also provide a great source of folate, calcium, zinc and amino acids. Additionally, they are very easy to prepare and that is a plus on their side. They provide a very good alternative for soups, stews and salads. They provide a fast way of satisfying your hunger pangs due to the ease in preparation. You do not have to wait for many hours for them to be ready.
5 Nuts are the best snack
Protein and fiber are some of the most vital nutrients required during pregnancy. Nuts mostly taken as snacks aside from providing these nutrients, provide healthy fats, which are brain boosters. Magnesium rich foods such as almonds helps to reduce the risk of premature birth, and also helps develop the baby's nervous system. Why not keep a stash of nuts or almonds in your handbag as they provide a convenient power snack while also giving you and your baby the required nutrients during this amazing journey. So next time you are packing your handbag for a day out with the girls or family, throw in a pack of nuts as well. You never really know when the craving will strike.
4 Colorful fruits and veggies
Sounds interesting, right? Each color group of a fruit and vegetable provides a different vitamin and mineral. Therefore, eating plenty of these colored veggies and fruits provides your baby wit variety of nutrients. Eat plenty of red, green, orange, purple, yellow and even black fruits. That gives you and your baby six different nutrients. Additionally, you can have a colorful fruit salad, how delicious and appealing to the eye. Fruits essentially provide vitamins and minerals which are vital in developing strong immunity to the body against germs and diseases. This make your baby strong and healthy. Besides this, they are also a good source of water which is necessary to keep the body hydrated. They also relieve you from constipation.
3 Tomatoes have tons of vitamin c
Tomatoes are a vital source of vitamin C which as discussed earlier is a very important nutrient to a pregnant woman. Vitamin C promotes the formation of healthy bones, teeth and gums. It also assists in the absorption of iron in the body. Some doctors highly recommend the intake of iron supplements as it is very vital in pregnancy. However, eating tomatoes provides a rich source of the Vitamin C whic is required in the body. Besides from providing the vitamin C, tomatoes also have high contents of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Compared to using lycopene supplements, tomatoes provide a rich source for this essential nutrient. Thus, it is advisable to eat more tomatoes compared to using the supplements.
2 Cucumber (but not too much)
Cucumbers are known to cause some side effects during pregnancy, but when taken in small amounts they have some nutritional benefits. They are generally very low on calories which is a plus because they can prevent obesity. They have an effect of keeping you full for linger therefore preventing excess eating which equates to avoiding weight gain. A high percentage of cucumber is composed of water, say about 95%. This of course helps to curb dehydration. This high water content also facilitates the removal of toxins from the body. Cucumbers are referred to as natural diuretics. the phrase, as cool as a cucumber comes in here. The high water content further provides a cooling effect which is good for the skin. It helps in skin nourishment and glowing.
This fruit has a high content of vitamin A which is vital in eye health for a pregnant woman. The levels of vitamin A is said to be comparable to that in carrots.Vitamin A in combination with beta carotene also prevents the entry of free radicals in the body which can cause premature aging and cancer. Cantaloupe also has high levels of vitamin C which is good for the absorption of iron in the body. Lack of this nutrient can result into anemia,which brings about general weakness in pregnant women. The vitamin C also helps in the formation of red blood cells in the body which are responsible for transporting oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide from the body.
References: momjunction.com, healthline.com, siluetteplus.net, babycenter.com, livestrong.com, foxnews.com, webmd.com