Pregnancy is one of the times in your life when a proper diet should be at the top of your priorities. Knowing the right vitamins to take when pregnant, in addition to foods and minerals will go a long way in keeping both you and your baby in top physical and emotional health. A diet lacking in nutrients will increase your baby’s risks of complications and affect their development.
Below is a list of the best, highly-recommended foods to boost your health:
1. Sweet potatoes
Pregnant women are advised to avoid supplements and animal sources of Vitamin A, which can be toxic in high amounts, and instead consume foods rich in beta-carotene and carotenoids, which are precursors for Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, with about 120g fulfilling its daily recommended intake. The body converts beta-carotene to Vitamin A as it requires, thus reducing the risk of excess vitamin A. This vitamin is used in cell and tissue differentiation. In addition to beta-carotene, sweet potatoes contain fiber for better digestive health, increase fullness and aversion of constipation.
Salmon is loaded with omega-3 DHA and EPA fatty acids that are essential for heart and eye tissue development, in addition to the formation of a high-functioning brain for your child. Two or three servings of salmon will give you just the right amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to these fatty acids, salmon and other seafood are natural sources of vitamin D, which is essential for bone density and better immune system functioning. In case you do not like the taste of fish, cod liver oil will do just fine. If you are concerned about mercury, salmon is a relatively low-mercury option.
Beans are an excellent source of iron, folate, potassium, magnesium and essential fatty acids. They also contain fiber which prevents constipation.
4. Whole grains
Grains like barley, oats, and spelt are rich in selenium, phytonutrients, and vitamin E.
5. Dark, leafy veggies
Spinach, kale and other types of vegetable like broccoli contain Vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, iron, and folate. The fiber in these vegetables will avert constipation and hemorrhoids which are issues most women face in pregnancy. Moreover, daily servings will provide you with antioxidants and other plant compounds that are great for your immune system.
6. Lean Meat
Most women may have an aversion for meat, but if you can, lean chops of beef, chicken, and pork are the best sources of high-quality protein, iron and Vitamin Bs. The demand for iron, especially, increases drastically during pregnancy to make hemoglobin for oxygen transport. Inadequate iron can cause iron-deficiency anemia, which doubly increases the risk of low birth weight and preterm birth.
Eggs provide the ultimate solution to all the needs of pregnant women, as they contain most of the essential macro and micronutrients. An egg contains 70 calories, in addition to high-quality protein and fats. Eggs also contain 113mg of choline, a micronutrient used for neural tube and brain development.
Find exciting ways and recipes to help you incorporate these essential foods in your diet for better health and your baby’s development.