It is very important to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy because at this time, your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals. By the second and third trimesters, you will need 350 to 500 extra calories each day. When your diet lacks the important nutrients, your baby’s development may be negatively affected.
The highly nutritious foods that you should eat while pregnant include:
- Dairy products
Pregnancy requires you to consume extra protein and calcium for the needs of the growing fetus. Dairy products contain whey and casein proteins and are the best source of calcium, phosphorous, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Greek yogurt is especially good for pregnant women
Legumes consist of lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts which are excellent plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron and calcium. You will need these in plenty during pregnancy. Legumes are great sources of folate which is an important nutrient during pregnancy and may reduce the risk of some birth defects and diseases.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. This is a compound that the body converts into vitamin A in your body. This vitamin is essential for growth and differentiation of most cells and tissues hence vital for healthy fetal development. During pregnancy, you are encouraged to take more vitamin A but avoid animal-based sources which may cause toxicity when eaten in excess.
In addition, sweet potatoes contain fiber creating a feeling of satiety and helping to reduce blood sugar spikes.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential during pregnancy. They help build the brain and eyes of your fetus. It is also a natural source of vitamin D which is important for many processes in your body including bone health and immune function
Eggs contain a bit of almost every nutrient that you need. One, they are a great source of choline which is essential for many body processes including brain development and overall health.
- Broccoli and dark, leafy greens
Dark green vegetables like kale and broccoli contain many of the nutrients that pregnant women need. They contain fiber, vitamin C, K and A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants and plant compounds that benefit the immune system and digestion. They help to prevent constipation due to their fiber content.
- Lean meat
The excellent sources of high quality protein are beef, pork and chicken. They also contain iron and choline which are needed largely in pregnancy. Iron is important for the proper functioning of the red blood cells and an iron deficiency increases the risk of premature birth or low birth weight.
- Fish liver oil
It is made from the oily liver of the fish and it is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are important for fetal brain and eye development.
You must keep yourself hydrated at all times by taking enough water. This is the most important liquid during pregnancy.
These are the most nutritious foods that you should be taking during pregnancy to ensure not just your baby’s health but also your health.