Just because the bun is still in the oven does not mean you are not allowed to celebrate Mother’s Day. You are a mom-to-be, with “mom” being the main keyword. In fact, you are already a great mother — you talk and sing to your baby; you are making major sacrifices for his or her health by swearing off alcoholic beverages; and of course, you are already in love with the child growing inside of you.
During this delicate time, your body needs additional and substantial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Choosing healthy, nutritious foods will ensure the health of you and your bundle of joy, and will also make it easier to lose the baby weight after giving birth.
Here are five incredibly nutritious foods that every pregnant woman should eat:
To meet the nutritional needs of your growing fetus, it is crucial to consume extra protein and calcium during pregnancy. The baby needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones, as well as allow the heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly. Greek yogurt, in particular, is beneficial for pregnant women since it contains more calcium than any other dairy product. Some varieties of yogurt also include probiotic bacteria, which supports digestive health.
Legumes such as peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts are excellent plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium — all of which the body needs nearly double the amount of during pregnancy.
Folate is essential for normal fetal development and your health, especially during the first trimester. The lack of folate has been linked with an increased risk of low birth weight (meaning the baby is too thin and fragile) and neural tube defects. Insufficient folate intake may also cause the baby to be more prone to infections and disease later in life.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a plant compound that the body converts into vitamin A. Pregnant women should increase their vitamin A intake between 10 to 40% and roughly 100–150 grams of cooked sweet potatoes fulfills the whole reference daily intake. Vitamin A is vital for healthy fetal development, including the differentiation of most cells and tissues.
Broccoli contains many of the nutrients pregnant women need to maintain their’s and the upcoming newborn’s good health. These nutrients include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Furthermore, broccoli is rich in antioxidants, which removes the damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. It also contains plant compounds that benefit the immune system and digestive tract.
White and brown eggs have a tiny bit of almost every nutrient the human body needs. A large egg contains a total of 77 calories, as well as high-quality protein and fat. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, which is essential for many processes in the body, including brain development. However, a dietary survey in the United States concluded that over 90% of people consumed less than the recommended amount of choline. Low choline intake during pregnancy not only increases a woman’s risk of neural tube defects, but may also decrease both the mother’s and the child’s brain function. A whole egg contains about 113 mg of choline, which is 25% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women (450 mg).
This list should serve as a great start towards a healthy, well-nourished pregnancy. Just always remember that what you eat during your pregnancy not only affects your energy and well-being, but also directly affects the health and development of your baby.