Eating a healthy diet and a nutritious meal is vital for both mother and baby. Eating a well-balanced diet containing high-quality foods that contain all micro and macro nutrients is critical. Moreover, it is crucial during this stage because your food is the main source of nutrition for the developing fetus. Moreover, mothers should have a healthy, stress-free and happy pregnancy for the well-being of the little one.
Impacting hunger levels during pregnancy is common. However, it sometimes leads to unhealthy eating, which leads to weight gain.
Here are some superfoods, nutrients, and ingredients to keep up with your cravings while staying healthy.
The consumption of essential nutrients during pregnancy is vital to the health of the baby.
Folic acid, often referred to as vitamin B9, is necessary to prevent neural tube disorders, which are birth disorders that affect a baby’s brain and spinal cord. According to research, a pregnant woman should get 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, which is the amount usually found in prenatal vitamins. You can get it from the foods you eat.
Green leafy vegetables, enriched or fortified cereals, bread and pasta, beans, and citrus fruits are all good sources of folic acid.
It is no secret that calcium is important to human health (especially the growth of bones and teeth). Likewise, children need vital vitamins in order for their teeth to grow. Calcium from the mother’s deposits in her bones goes to the baby to meet the additional requirements. Besides calcium, vitamin D is another essential vitamin because it interacts with calcium for the development of a child’s bones and teeth.
Besides interacting with calcium to meet the child’s requirements for dental development, vitamin D is essential for bone growth.
A full-term baby’s skeleton contains about 1 ounce (30 grams) of calcium, most of which builds up during the last three months of pregnancy. Hence, the mother should consume enough vitamin D during pregnancy. Many experts believe that pregnant women need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day.
You can get enough vitamin D from dairy products. Foods that contain a reasonable amount of vitamin D are milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified drinks, and meals. In addition to that, you can also get vitamin D from fish (sardines or salmon with bones), eggs, and some leafy greens like spinach, beans, etc.
According to research, iron deficiency is a common problem among pregnant women. Recent studies also show that the RDI of iron for pregnant women has been increased from 18-23 mg/day during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy to 27 mg/day throughout pregnancy. Which is nearly double the needs for non-pregnant women.
Iron is important for producing more blood and delivering oxygen to the baby. Inadequate iron intake during pregnancy puts pregnant women at risk for anemia that causes fatigue and an increased risk of infections. Therefore, a healthy diet during pregnancy should include adequate vitamin C (which helps with iron absorption) and foods rich in iron.
Lean meat, chicken, fish, beans and dried peas, and iron-fortified cereals are all good sources of iron.
Although protein is essential for every individual, pregnant women need more protein in their diets. Since it helps in the development of vital organs such as a baby’s heart and brain, protein is known as the ‘building nutrient’. Many experts believe that a pregnant woman should consume at least 60 grams of protein per day.
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, peas, eggs, almonds, and tofu are all excellent sources of protein.
Here are some healthy foods to eat during pregnancy to ensure you meet your nutritional goals.
You should consume foods like yogurt, cheese, milk, etc. However, if you do not want to eat it raw, you can use it in many recipes to make it tasty and healthy.
Plant protein sources are essential during pregnancy. Therefore, you should consume chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, etc.
Delicious sweet potatoes are not only useful in curbing hunger but also provide the right nutrients for your body.
Eggs are the ultimate health food because they are a complete protein. So make sure to eat at least one egg a day.
It’s no secret that berries are excellent for your health. So it is useful to eat them during pregnancy – examples: strawberries, blueberries, acai berries, raspberries, goji berries.
Fish like salmon, sardines and tuna are beneficial during pregnancy. They provide essential micro and macro nutrients needed to maintain the health of mother and child. However, you should limit its consumption to one or two days a week to avoid the risks of mercury poisoning.
Chicken has many benefits. It is a protein-rich food that provides many essential nutrients. Moreover, using chicken in your meals is easy as you can prepare multiple dishes using chicken.
Dried fruits are rich in nutrients. Therefore, it is an excellent snack to consume during pregnancy.
The delicious butter fruit is full of nutritional benefits. Rich in nutrients and promotes health. It’s a great option to include in your pregnancy meal plan.
Develop a pregnancy meal plan? Follow these tips
A pregnant woman should incorporate the following into her daily diet:
- A total of 3-4 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (including at least 1 serving of dark orange vegetables, 2-3 servings of dark green leafy vegetables, and 1 serving of citrus fruit)
- Fortified whole grains and 2-3 servings of multigrain bread, chapati or rice
- 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or dairy products
- 2-3 servings of lean meat/fish/beans and roasted dried peas or skinless chicken
- 6-8 cups of water
Some interesting recipes are ratatouille with eggs, coleslaw, creamy salmon, grilled chicken with quinoa salad, shrimp pulao, chicken soup with farro, beans with spaghetti and avocado salad.
It is important to note that the requirements of each individual vary according to their state of health and the requirements of the body. For example, in the first trimester of pregnancy, a pregnant woman who suffers from morning sickness may opt for a light breakfast and a heavy dinner. By contrast, during the last trimester, when heartburn is a bigger problem, you may choose to eat a heavy breakfast and a light dinner.
Experts generally suggest moderate consumption of certain food items. However, for some other food products, they caution pregnant women to stop eating them completely.
When pregnant, a woman needs to stay away from alcohol. Through the umbilical cord, the alcohol in the mother’s blood can immediately reach the fetus. Excessive alcohol intake during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. In addition, alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risks of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight.
Fish with high levels of mercury
Certain types of tuna, tilefish, orange roughy, mackerel, marlin, and swordfish have increased methylmercury levels, and you should avoid them during pregnancy. Frequent consumption of seafood high in mercury can lead to a buildup of mercury in the bloodstream, which is harmful to the unborn baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
Unpasteurized foods and raw meat
Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to food poisoning: listeriosis, which is caused by listeria bacteriaToxoplasmosis, by Toxoplasma parasite. Pregnant women suffer from listeriosis 20 times more often than the general population. Miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, and infant sickness or death are possible outcomes of a listeriosis infection.
According to studies, these are the following foods that should be avoided during pregnancy to prevent listeriosis:
- Foods made with unpasteurized (raw) milk, such as feta, Brie and Camembert, should be avoided. The product must be pasteurized by heating it to a high temperature to destroy dangerous bacteria.
- Cold cuts, sausages, and lunch meats should be cooked to a steaming temperature before consumption to destroy bacteria.
- Avoid eating salads from the grocers, especially those that contain meat such as pork, chicken, tuna, and seafood.
- Avoid unpasteurized beef or spreads because people usually keep them in the fridge.
Pregnant women should avoid or limit caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol, and cigarettes. Regarding alcohol consumption, abstinence is vital for women because there is no set safe limit for alcohol use. Products made with unpasteurized milk and raw meat should also be avoided.
During pregnancy, your body undergoes various changes. Therefore, a nutritious and balanced diet is crucial during this phase. In addition, it is not recommended to limit following a particular diet or diet. Instead, you should follow a balanced diet with the required modifications based on the individual requirements of the child and your health.
The body undergoes many physiological and hormonal changes throughout pregnancy. Hence, you should choose healthy foods from different sources to keep you and your baby healthy. A balanced diet can make you feel better and give your child healthy nutrition.