“Pregnant women have to eat for two,” this saying is not true anymore! Since pregnant women should eat according to her hunger level, those changes in every trimester. What really matters are healthy foods for pregnant women. While there are certain fruits like papaya and pineapple that pregnant women should not consume, there are many foods that pregnant women should add in her diet. These foods provide all the essential nutrients that could foster the health wellbeing of her and her baby.
List of Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
First, in our list of healthy foods for pregnant women are green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, etc. have all the important nutrients that pregnant women should have. Fiber, Vitamin C, K, A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium are key nutrients found in GLV’S.
Green leafy vegetables are also packed with antioxidants and plant-based compound that strengthens the immune system and digestion. Since most of the GLV’s have a high content of fiber; thus, they act as a perfect remedy for constipation. It also reduces the low birth weight providing the ideal weight to the fetus.
2. Dairy Products
A pregnant woman should consume an extra amount of protein and calcium to feed her growing fetus. Dairy products like milk, curd, and cheese have two types of high- quality protein, which is called casein and whey. Also, dairy is an excellent source of calcium. It also provides a high amount of vitamins B, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
Amongst Greek yogurt is more useful for pregnant ladies. It has a high number of calcium and probiotics that reduces complications related to pregnancy as compared to other dairy products. A pregnant woman can have 3-4 servings of dairy products.
Eggs are one of the healthy foods for pregnant women because it contains all the essential nutrients. A medium-sized egg has 77 calories, along with high-quality protein, fat minerals, and vitamins. In addition to this, eggs are an excellent source of chlorine. Chlorine is important for the development of the brain and other body parts. On the other hand, a low intake of the choline during pregnancy can increase the risk of neural tube defect and might reduce the functioning of the brain in a fetus. One egg has 113 mg of choline that is almost sufficient for pregnant women.
A pregnant woman must include legumes in her diet. Legumes are great plant-based sources of fiber, iron, protein, folate, and calcium. All these nutrients are more needed during pregnancy. A folate is a form of Vitamin B essential during pregnancy as it reduces the risk of birth diseases and defects. One should have enough folate, especially during the first trimester. Insufficient folate intake can lead to a weak immune system
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a good source of Beta-Carotene, which is a plant compound that is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for growth and foetal development. Pregnant women should increase the intake of Vitamin A in their diet by up to 40 %. However, they should not consume high amounts of animal-based sources of Vitamin A, which might lead to toxicity if eaten in the excess. Thus, Beta-Carotene is useful to add pregnant women’s diets. Also, they are a good source of fiber which offers satiety level and reduces blood sugar spikes.
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Salmon is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids that increase blood levels of DHA and EPA. Moreover, salmon is also a natural source of Vitamin D. It is required for many processes in the body, which includes immune function and bone health. Omega-3 fatty acids also help in building the brain and eyes of the fetus. However, pregnant women should have it twice a week since it has mercury and some other contaminants present in the fatty fish.
Dry fruits are packed with calories, vitamins, fiber, and minerals. One serving of the dried fruit provides a needed amount of all the important nutrients, including iron, potassium, and folate. Dry fruits like prunes are a rich source of fiber, and Vitamin K. Prunes are a natural laxative and helps to treat constipation as well. Other dry fruits like date are a good source of potassium, fiber, and iron. Pregnant women must add dates in her diet, especially during the third trimester, as it would lower down the need to induce labor pain. However, dry fruits have sugar as well. So avoid candy form of dry fruits.
8. Lean Meat
Owing to its benefits and nutrients support, lean meat is one of the healthy foods for pregnant women. Lean meat such as pork, beef, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Moreover, beef and pork are also a good source of choline, iron and B Vitamins that are needed in the significant amount during the pregnancy
Iron is one of the crucial minerals that is part of hemoglobin and circulates oxygen to all the body parts. Pregnant women need an additional quantity of iron since the blood volume starts increasing, especially during the third trimester. Low levels of iron can also lead to anaemia amongst pregnant women
9. Fish Liver Oil
Fish liver oil is made of the oily liver of fish, which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid DHA and EPA that is important for eye and brain development. Furthermore, fish liver oil is also a high source of Vitamin D. Low intake of vitamin D could lead to increased high blood pressure, swelling in feet, and hand. However, one should not consume more than one serving per day, as it could result in blood thinning.
Berries have a sufficient amount of water, vitamin C, healthy carbs, antioxidants, and fiber. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron and is important for better immune function and skin health. Moreover, berries are snacks as they have the right amount of fiber and water. They offer most of the nutrients with relatively low calories.
11. Whole Grains
Whole grain is also one of the healthy foods for pregnant women because it helps them to meet their increases in calorie intake. Whole grains have vitamins, fiber, and plant compounds that are essential during pregnancy. Whole grains like quinoa and oats have a fair amount of protein, Vitamin B, fiber, and magnesium, which should be primarily part of pregnant women’s diet.
Avocados contain Monod saturated fatty acids, fiber Vitamin B, potassium, Vitamin K, and healthy fats, which makes them one of the best foods for pregnant women. Good fat helps in building the skin, tissues, and brain of the fetus and would also prevent the tube defect. Avocados are also a rich source of potassium, which helps to relieve leg cramps.
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Bananas are packed with iron that helps to boost hemoglobin. Also, it is a quick remedy for nausea and vomiting, which are common during pregnancy. On top of it, this fruit is also a great source of folic acid that helps in the development of the baby’s nervous system. Other benefits which make banana one of the healthy foods for pregnant women are – it prevents constipation, are a rich source of antioxidants, increases the appetite and boost digestion
Oats are a great source of energy. A small serving of oats carries sufficient carbohydrates and calories that boost the energy. They are also a good source of other nutrients like vitamins, folic acid, and iron that are beneficial for the fetus.
Beans are one of the must-eat food for pregnant women because they are an excellent source of iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and fatty acids that should be present in pregnant women’s diet.
Pregnancy is one of the beautiful phases of women’s life where she deserves to be happy and taken care of. The pregnancy diet is one of the crucial aspects as it affects the development of the baby inside. There are certain foods like oats, banana, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and others that must –eat foods for pregnant women.