Being pregnant deems it necessary for you to eat foods that literally pack a punch. You need to bear in mind the fact that your body’s needs change a lot during pregnancy, which means that you need little extra of just about everything. However, there’s no denying the fact that our daily diets severely lack balance and you seriously need to think again if you plan on moving ahead with your pre-pregnancy eating habits. Having a healthy pregnancy will literally be out of the question if you don’t ensure that your diet fulfills the changed nutritional needs of your body.
Irrespective of whether you are packing in all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy pregnancy into your daily meals, there is still the chance that you are not taking in enough of the right ‘nutritional’ stuff. This particularly holds true for women whose appetites have not really gotten up to speed yet. Well, worry not because there are plenty of nutritional powerhouses that will save the day (read: the next nine months) for you. Yes, there are certain pregnancy power foods that are packed with nutrients which you can acquire in just a few bites, which makes their consumption a must during pregnancy.
Here’s a look into 7 pregnancy power foods that you must have all through the next nine months of your life:
6 Power food # : Figs
Alright, to begin with, just a single cup of dried figs has about 5 full grams of fiber. The best part about them is that these are an amazing “nondairy” source of calcium – a single serving of figs contains about a quarter of your daily need of 1, 000 milligrams. Even if the high sugar content may not sound too appealing to you with regards to your oral health, you can rest-assured that the phosphorus, potassium and magnesium found in them will definitely help you out. Oh and just so you know, these tooth-supporting nutrients are going to be very helpful for the teeth that are currently forming below the gums in your precious angel’s mouth.
Apart from that, figs also happen to be an outstanding source of iron. When pregnant, there is always the risk that the expectant mother may have anemia due to iron deficiency. This is because although your blood volume increases, your growing baby also needs a lot of iron for the production of millions of red blood cells. If you have stewed figs, you will be able to acquire nearly3 milligrams of iron in a single cup. Also, the same cup of figs will help your body acquire 23 micrograms of vitamin K – a very important vitamin required for proper bone formation and blood clotting.
A delicious tip
If the seedy texture of dried figs doesn’t appeal to you, then you can try having fresh ones. If you want, you can even puree them and then use it as a fat substitute or sweetener in your recipes.
5 Power food # : Sweet potatoes
You’ve been saving these guys just for Thanksgiving, right? Well don’t, because these are packed full of nutrients like:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
A major reason why having sweet potatoes during pregnancy is so highly recommended is because of its beta-carotene content. Just so you know, this antioxidant is converted by your body to vitamin A – the same vitamin that plays a vital role in the development of your baby’s skin, bones and eyes. By having sweet potatoes, it will also be possible for you to meet your body’s iron requirement. Moreover, these also contain copper, which is needed by your body for it to absorb iron.
Experts suggest that pregnant women must have about 1.9 milligrams of vitamin B6 every day – and this can easily be acquired by the regular consumption of sweet potatoes. Just so you know, vitamin B6 prevents the onset of morning sickness and assists in the formation of new red blood cells all through pregnancy.
Other important nutrients found in sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes, it appears, are literally packed full of nutrients that are required by a woman’s body during pregnancy. Apart from the nutrients mentioned above, sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C and having a cup of these everyday will help you acquire 0.6 milligrams of vitamin C. So, drop your usual sides and start having sweet potatoes instead – they’re great irrespective of whether you have them mashed, baked or even French-fried. However, if sweet potatoes are a new part of your diet, then make sure that you tell your health care provider about it.
4 Power food # : Lean meat
Protein comes with amino acids that are actually the building blocks of every single cell found your as well as your baby’s body. What’s most important about high-protein foods is that these play a vital role in keeping your hunger at bay for which these stabilize your blood sugar. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to have three servings or 75 grams of protein on a daily basis. This is what lean meat is going to help you out with.
What makes lean meat such a wonderful option is the fact that apart from its high protein content, it also consists of iron that is required to develop your baby’s red blood cell supple while supporting yours to make sure that you don’t become anemic. Most importantly, the iron found in lean meat also assisting in building baby’s brain as it strengthens nerve connection. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to add a bit of lamb, pork or beef to your meals irrespective of whether you are having salads, soups, rice or noodles!
Iron content in lean meat
As mentioned, lean meats are one of the best sources of iron for pregnant women. Amongst all the lean meats available today, pork is known to have the highest iron content. For instance, a 3oz. serving of pork is known to contain over 7mg of iron, which makes it around 25 percent of a pregnant woman’s needs. On the other hand, a 3oz. serving of beef is known to contain around 4.5mg of iron – that’s a whole lot of difference!
Power food # 4: Lentils and dried beans
Pregnancy requires women to have a few extra grams of protein a day and a wonderful source for this extra bit of protein are lentils and dried beans as they offer about 15 grams per cup. Most importantly, they are also fairly high in fiber, which is definitely going to help out pregnant women who struggle with constipation. Also, just adding a cup of cooked lentils to your salads and rice dishes will help you acquire half of your daily folate requirement.
For those who don’t know, the folic acid found in lentils and dried beans has the potential to prevent severe birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. The best part about folic acid is that it also has the potential to combat the harmful effects of drugs that are absorbed by the body. For this reason, pregnant women who have a habit of smoking or drinking should seriously consider having more lentils and dried beans so as to curb (to some degree) the effects of their habits. Lentils and dried beans are also known to have high potassium content. This basically works wonders in terms of ensuring proper blood circulation and keeps high blood pressure down too.
Other benefits of consuming dried beans and lentils during pregnancy
Lentils and dried beans are high protein foods and should be consume because the protein in them assists in the development of the baby’s muscles. Through these, you will also get to acquire 179 milligrams of folate, which is definitely going to prove useful in achieving your daily target of having 600 milligrams of folic acid on a daily basis.
3 Power food # : Pinto beans
Just so you know, pinto beans are largely considered amidst the healthiest foods on Earth. Through these, you will get to acquire a whole milligram of copper (yes, that 100% of your daily requirement), 5 milligrams of iron (which make it nearly 19 percent of your recommended daily amount) and over 400 milligrams of phosphorus (more than half of what you need on a daily basis) in just a ½ cup serving. The copper found in pinto beans assists in the formation of red blood cells, whereas iron is required for the production of hemoglobin- the same substance that is much needed for the transportation of oxygen from your lungs to your baby. On the other hand, the phosphorus in pinto beans works along with calcium to make sure that your baby’s teeth and bones are developing properly.
Honestly speaking, there is good reason why pinto beans are considered such a healthy food. Packed with nutrients, it is highly recommended for you to make it a part of your regular meals all through pregnancy. These are also known to have about 15 grams of fiber in a single serving – and as a pregnant woman, it is recommended for you to have about 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. This particular benefit of pinto beans makes them the perfect choice for women who have severe nausea and morning sickness as food that have a high fiber count are known to help fight off such symptoms.
Tips on having pinto beans
The best means of eating pinto beans is to have them in dried form, but makes sure that you soak them overnight first. Canned pinto beans should be rinsed well so that the extra sodium can be removed.
2 Power food # : Eggs
No matter how you like having eggs – fried, hard-boiled, scrambled or even as an omelet, eggs are believed to be the gold standard food for the acquisition of prenatal protein. Oh, and apart from that, eggs are also known to contain high levels of iron, folate and choline.
For those of you who haven’t heard of choline as of yet, this nutrient is required by the body for proper development of the fetal brain. Choline also has the potential to reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. But in order to make the most out of it, it is necessary for you to eat the whole thing so you seriously need to give up on the whole egg-whites-only order – this is because choline is found in the yolk. In order to give your baby’s brain a bit of a boost, it is also highly recommended for you to buy eggs that have been fortified with Omega-3s.
Apart from that, eggs are also known to contain 12 vitamins and minerals, which shows how nutritious they truly are. The high levels of protein found in eggs also assists in the development of your baby’s cells, which, you should know, grow at a rather alarming rate.
Eggs are low in saturated fat
That’s right! Although eggs are rather high in cholesterol, they are fairly low in saturated fat as there’s just about 1 ½ grams of saturated fat in a single egg. Research has it that saturated fats do far more damage to your cholesterol level as compared to consuming the cholesterol that is naturally found in food.
1 Power food # : Pumpkin seeds
Much of the healing that takes place in your body during pregnancy on a regular basis involves the repair of muscles. As your uterus continues to grow, your hip, back and abdominal muscles are stretched in ways they have never stretched before. In order to arm your muscles with the strength they need to put up with these new tasks, it is necessary for you to consume an adequate amount of protein – and one of the best means of boosting your protein intake is to add pumpkin seeds to you diet. Just so you know, a single serving of pumpkin seeds is known to contain about 5 grams of protein. Apart from that, these also contain potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and several other minerals that play a vital role in maintaining muscle health and hydration.
Another very important mineral found in pumpkin seeds is zinc. Just a cup of pumpkin seeds is enough to fulfill half of your daily zinc requirements. Through pumpkin seeds, you will also be able to acquire more than 25 percent of your daily recommended intake of magnesium (with just one serving), which shows that these can definitely assist you in using up proteins, fats and carbohydrates as sources of energy. These can even prove to be a wonderful source of iron for vegetarians as they contain about 2 milligrams of iron per cup.
A delicious tip
Just a tip – roasted seeds are known to have way more minerals, fiber and protein than raw one. To make the most out of these, just buy raw pumpkin seeds and roast them up till crisp at home!