One of the most important times to keep a close eye on your diet is when you are pregnant. The nutrients you consume during pregnancy ensure that you and your baby are healthy.
Some nutrients are extremely important. Lack of these nutrients can lead to improper development of the baby. The result can be problems later in life, including cognitive and behavioral issues which may lay dormant and invisible for years before you realize it.
Choosing the right food to eat when you are pregnant can drastically lower the possibility of complications which might occur during birth. Another benefit of correct dieting during pregnancy is a reduced risk of gestational diabetes.
Besides the nutrients, you also have to keep your eye on the number of calories which you consume. During your second and third trimesters, you will need to increase calorie consumption by anywhere between 300 and 500 calories per day. When choosing foods that have these extra calories it’s pretty important to focus on foods that are also heavy in nutrients.
11 Best Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
We have decided to share with you the top 11 most nutritional foods that you should include in your diet when you are pregnant. Here they are:
One of the most important reasons to include avocados into your diet is because of the huge amount of monounsaturated fats that they have to offer. These fats are 100% natural and play an enormous role in the development of healthy brain tissue and skin of your fetus. They are absolutely vital.
Besides the monounsaturated fats, avocados also offer a wide array of vitamins like K, E, B and C. Potassium and copper are also present in abundance inside of avocados. They actually provide more potassium than bananas per serving, which can help you with leg cramps, something that occurs pretty frequently when you are pregnant.
2. Lean Meat
Oxygen delivery to your blood cells is another function that you should try to improve as much as you can as you become pregnant. Iron is capable of improving your oxygen delivery. Once you go into your third trimester, your blood levels will increase drastically, this is when its super important to have enough iron in your system to make sure that oxygen gets where it needs to go.
If your iron levels are low throughout pregnancy, the result might be low weight your baby during birth and even a possibility of premature delivery.
One of the best ways to improve your iron intake is to eat lean meats like beef and pork, these will also improve your vitamin B levels. You can also take part in consuming more chicken. It won’t increase your iron levels as much but it’s a perfect source of protein.
In order for you to increase your body’s ability to absorb dietary iron, you will need to increase your vitamin C levels as well. This means that you will have to take part in eating some oranges, tomatoes and various berries.
Peanuts, soybeans, regular beans, lentils, and peas are all an excellent source of vital nutrients which will become highly demanded during pregnancy. You will need plenty of fiber, vitamin B9, also known as folate, iron, and calcium to ensure your baby is developing properly. Legumes contain all of these nutrients, including the mentioned folate which becomes very important as you enter your first trimester and is often lacking in many pregnant women.
Folate deficiency can lead to decreased weight at birth and much higher chances of developing infections later in life of your child post birth. Keep in mind that not all legumes have identical contents of nutrients; some have higher content of folate and iron, so ensure you pick the right stuff.
4. Whole Grains
Fiber and vitamin B will be one of the most important nutrients needed by your body and whole grains are an exceptional source of these compounds. Whole grains are also an excellent choice when it comes to increasing your calorie intake; it’s a win-win situation when you choose whole grains.
Another mineral that is often forgotten about by pregnant women is magnesium. Luckily whole grains are a great source of this nutrient.
Amongst whole grains, oats and quinoa are also great choices if you are looking to increase your protein intake. The only thing you have to make sure of is that they are whole grain and not refined since the latter doesn’t offer as high of a nutritional value as the former.
Yet again, protein is one of the more focused on nutrients and eggs are packed to the brim with it alongside a huge variety of other nutrients which are vital for proper birth and baby development. One of the nutrients found in eggs is choline, it is super important for proper brain health and is actually lacking in 90% of people.
Neural tubes are often associated with low levels of choline and could lead to difficulty in developing proper brain functions in the fetus. By just eating one egg, a pregnant woman increases her calorie intake by 77 and satisfies 25% of the recommended daily intake of choline. There is really no good reason to void eggs during pregnancy.
Omega-3 fatty acids are already something that most people are short on. Consuming salmon during pregnancy will ensure that your child gets the most necessary building blocks to be able to grow and develop as healthy as possible. Their brain development is highly connected to omega-3 levels in the body as well as the development of their eye, specifically the retina.
The frequently discussed concerns of mercury contaminations have led many pregnant women into abandoning seafood completely during pregnancy for obvious safety reasons. However, the benefits offered by salmon consumptions greatly outweigh the risks associated with eating two serving of salmon per week. This calculation was done for pregnant women. Besides the omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also bring vitamin D to the table, which is often missing in most standard diets.
7. Dairy Products
We all know that dairy products are an excellent source of calcium. During pregnancy, the right calcium intake is more vital than ever to ensure proper fetus development.
Dairy products will deliver all the calcium you need to ensure that your baby’s bones are developing strong while also makings sure that your calcium isn’t depleted along the line. Whey and casein, two ingredients found in dairy products, are also exceptional sources of protein, which you will need plenty of as a building block for your baby. Additionally, dairy products are also abundant in zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, and phosphorus, all needed for proper child growth.
If you are looking to also improve your gut health, it might be a great idea to try some Greek yogurt. It has the highest calcium content amongst all dairy products and offers a superb amount of probiotics which can support your microbiome in a positive way as well as ensure that your baby develops a good microbiome as well.
Some of you might be lactose-intolerant, and in this case, you should avoid dairy products at all costs during pregnancy. A good alternative to regular milk is soy milk. It offers a decent amount of calcium and protein. Furthermore, some soy milk actually has omega-3 fatty acids in it which can help you even more during pregnancy.
Besides the above mentioned synergy with iron to improve its absorption, berries also loaded with fiber, contain high amounts of carbohydrates, and have amazing antioxidant properties which can ensure you are safe from those pesky free radicals that like to cause oxidation damage.
Obviously, the addition of vitamin C will be super welcomed by your immune system as well as your child’s immune system. Also, berries have a pretty low glycemic index which will help you keep your sugar levels in check.
9. Broccoli And Leafy Green Vegetables
We all know the importance of eating leafy greens and broccoli, but consuming these vegetables during pregnancy is even more important. Iron, folate, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K are all accessible with ease as long as you add spinach and kale to your diet. Add broccoli to the mix and you’ve got yourself a load of antioxidants and fibers that will not only improve your overall health but also ensure that your gut and digestive health are at 100 percent.
There also has been some research that points to reducing the risk of low weight at birth if proper amount of leafy greens are consumed during pregnancy.
10. Dried Fruit
Fruits are packed full of nutrients and beneficial vitamins. So are dried fruits, although they do lose a little bit of their nutritional value during the drying process. But it’s a small sacrifice to make considering the amount of water and volume you are removing from the equation, allowing you to eat more dried fruit and thus increase the number of nutrients you are able to consume.
One of the more common problems for pregnant women is constipation, dried fruit, especially the well-known prunes, can drastically help with this problem. Dates have also been known to have the ability to facilitate cervical dilation during the third trimester; this helps your decrease the risk of needing to force induced labor.
If there is one thing you should be careful with, it’s sugar. Stick to just a single serving of dried fruit per each sitting since you will be increasing the number of calories you are consuming and also raising your blood sugar levels. Don’t overdo it on these delicious treats, the last thing you need is elevated sugar.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Not a fan of sweet potatoes, well it might be time to give them another shot. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A by your body and these tubers are filled to the brim with that stuff.
One of the elements of growth is the amount of vitamin A intake during birth. Researchers estimate that vitamin A consumption needs to be improved by anywhere between 10 percent and 40 percent during pregnancy.
In order to get a healthy amount of beta-carotene needed for proper fetus development, you will need to eat about 4 to 5 ounces of sweet potatoes per serving. If you are a fan of this vegetable, you are in luck.
Final Words on Best Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
Changing your diet when you are pregnant is possibly one of the most important things you can do to ensure your baby’s development is on track and your experience a healthy birth without complications.
Most of the foods we have listed here are easily accessible and can be found in nearly every single supermarket, so changing your diet shouldn’t be too difficult.
While these foods have been back up by studies and research done in the past to validate their importance and effects during pregnancy on your baby, we still strongly recommend that you consult a nutritionist to ensure you are picking the best stuff needed for you and your baby as you go through pregnancy.
Every person is different in their own way and some might have negative effects when it comes to specific foods or ingredients. Your doctor will know your full medical history and will be able to assess which course of action is the best for optimal amount of benefits.
If you suspect any type of complications or feel that something might be wrong during your pregnancy, discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible. It is better to be safe than sorry. Additionally, if you take any type of supplements or medications, make sure to let your doctor know. Some supplement and medications can be harmful to the baby or you if you continue taking them throughout your pregnancy.
Finally, establishing this diet can also be a huge benefit to you after you have given birth. As we all know, weight gain is something that many people struggle with after pregnancy. Developing these dietary habits can help you lose all those extra pounds that you will inevitably gain to ensure your baby is healthy.