Pregnancy is the miracle of human evolution. When this magic happens, it is essential to know what your body needs. Proper nutrition means a healthy mother and a healthy child, and what more can one want! Read on to bust some myths and know exactly what food your body needs and what you should entirely avoid.
What you eat is what you are. So here are a few tips about what you should eat during pregnancy and what you should avoid. All the essentials are listed. We also bust a few myths so that your pregnancy goes flawlessly.
Key Nutrients Needed By The Body For A Healthy Pregnancy
- Folic acid: folic acid, about 600 micrograms a day, significantly lessens the risk of neural tube defects.
- Iron: It increases the blood production of your body, which means that oxygen is delivered to the child with ease. (27 milligrams a day)
- Vitamin D: It helps to keep the immune system strong. (600IU a day)
- Calcium: VERY important. Calcium ensures the proper development of bones, teeth, nerves, and muscles. (1000 milligrams a day)
- DHA: This omega-3 fatty acid plays a role in brain and eye development. (250 milligrams a day)
- Iodine: Promotes the baby’s brain and nervous system. (290 micrograms a day)
- Protein: During pregnancy, about 60 grams of protein a day need to be consumed.
What To Eat During Pregnancy
The best foods should be rich in these nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods are healthy and help to avoid nausea, weight gain too fast, weight gain too slow, or undesirable side effects.
- Lentils and beans: An excellent source of protein, beans and lentils give as much as 16 grams a cup. This also helps avoid constipation. Along with that, they provide about 7 grams of iron per cup and are rich in folic acid. Cook them and add to rice or salads; they’re super easy to prep.
- Broccoli: Jam-packed with every nutrient your body needs, it also protects you against diseases and helps avoid digestive problems. Also, it is an iron absorber, so any iron that enters easily stays. This should preferably be eaten with an iron source like brown rice or wheat pasta or in salads.
- Milk and yogurt: A glass of milk will cater to quite a fraction, almost 30% of the amount you require. Yogurt is also a steady supply and has almost the same amount of calcium as milk. If it tastes too bland to you, drizzle honey or add fruits. You can also layer it with granola or add it to smoothies! About 3-4 servings of dairy will fulfill your requirements.
- Avocado: This fruit contains folate and vitamin B6, necessary for the healthy tissue growth of the baby. Mono-saturated fats also help absorb other nutrients. Add to sandwiches or make a smoothie.
- Bananas: Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are overflowing here. Eat simply, add to a fruit salad or yogurt.
- Cheeses: While most varieties are off-limits, cheddar and mozzarella are a huge go-to and can be consumed as you wish.
- Oatmeal: Not only are they energizing, but they also contain complex carbs that keep you full longer, and the bran helps lower the cholesterol levels. If you do not like hot oatmeal and prefer muffins for breakfast, run your oatmeal through the processor and replace the all-purpose flour with your oatmeal flour.
- Leafy green veggies: Kale, spinach, and cabbage are your best friends. Kale is a superfood- it contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, iron, and calcium. Add to your pasta or on a sandwich.
- Quinoa: It is delicious, yes, and it also gives you protein, fibre, and iron. Cook with beans or add to a salad.
- Dried fruits and nuts: Blood sugar drop? Go to figs, dates, apricots. Hungry? Go for almonds, raisins, cashews. They not only satisfy you but are great concentrated sources of energy, nutrition, and antioxidants.
- Soy foods: Filled with protein. Some tofu is the way to go.
What Not to Eat
- Raw seafood
- Raw eggs
- Rare meat
- Unpasteurized juices
- Unpasteurized cheeses
- Raw sprouts
- Caffeine (allowed in moderation).
- Junk food (allowed in moderation)
- Mercury (in shark, swordfish, marlin)
- Empty calorie foods (allowed in moderation)
Here are a few common myths about pregnancy foods.
- Eat for two when you’re pregnant: this one is incorrect. Do not eat more than what feels comfortable or what is advised by your doctor.
- You should eat only organic food: while they are healthier, it is okay to consume non-organic foods as well. It is not as harmful as it seems.
- Full cream milk is more nutritious than low-fat milk: you need not consume full cream milk. If you’re advised to do so, check with your doctor first. The only difference between the two kinds of milk is the fat calorie count.
- Avoiding certain foods will reduce the baby’s risk of developing allergies: no scientific study proves this.
- Preserved or canned food can harm the baby drastically: entirely untrue. While freshly cooked food is healthier, preserved food can be consumed safely.
The food you consume during pregnancy plays a vital role. You need to consume foods rich in folic acid, iron, vitamin D, calcium, DHA, iodine, and protein, along with antioxidants. This will increase the health potential of both the mother and the child to the utmost level. If, at a certain point in your pregnancy, you’re concerned that your nutrient intake is below the bar, consult your doctor and come up with the perfect diet plan.