Pregnancy comes with many demands, but proper nutrition is probably the most important one because you will be eating for two. An expectant woman’s body will need anywhere between 300 and 500 extra calories every day during pregnancy, and so diets that do not have sufficient nutrients will affect the development of the fetus.
However, it is not just about eating enough food or getting all the essential nutrients but also ensuring that whatever you take is real and organic food because this is what will contribute to ensuring that you give birth to a strong and healthy child. It is also not hard to get these healthy foods once you come up with a pregnancy menu as you only need to do some research on the best places to buy organic foods.
Here are some seven of these best nutrition sources for pregnancy that any health and diet expert will recommend highly.
#1 Legumes (peas, beans, soy, lentils, peanuts, and chickpeas)
Legumes are the super food for a pregnant woman, and they should be part of her diet almost daily. Foods from this group are rich in calcium, iron, folate, fiber and protein all which the body needs and are vital for the development of the fetus. Folate is one of the B vitamins that a woman needs in the first trimester of her pregnancy but somehow most do not consume enough of it. Experts associate lack of enough of this vitamin with the increased cases of neural tube defects. A bowl of dried lentils and beans a day will give you a significant percentage of the folate and the additional proteins that an expectant woman requires.
#2 Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, and broccoli contain almost all the nutrients that a pregnant woman needs. These vital nutrients include calcium, iron, potassium, folate and the vitamins A, C and K. Furthermore they are also full some important antioxidants and plant compounds that are very beneficial to the digestion and immune system. Also, consuming these vegetables will help ensure that you do not get constipation which is a common problem for pregnant women. If you have a small garden at home, you can grow dark leafy vegetables because they are easy to cultivate and they tend to mature fast. Also, growing vegetables in your gardens is a good way to ensure that they are organic and safe for you and the fetus.
You need plenty of proteins during your pregnancy as it is essential for growth and development of the child in your womb. Salmon is an excellent and rich source of protein, and the best thing about this fish is that it does not contain as much fat as other animal sources of protein. Apart from this, it is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for building the brain, eyes and other vital organs of the fetus and can also help to boost your mood. Unlike most other types of sea fish such as swordfish and king mackerel it does not contain a lot of mercury which is a toxic compound in seafood. This fish is also a natural source of vitamin D, and studies show that eating it at least thrice a week will give you enough omega-3
Berries are a natural source of melatonin which makes them perfect for sleep. But, there is still more to the small fruit than its sleep inducing properties. Berries are full of healthy carbohydrates, vitamin C, plant compounds, fiber and a lot of water which make the fruit one of the best foods to eat when you’re pregnant. The high amounts of vitamin C in the berries will help in iron absorption and promote skin health. These fruits have a low glycemic index and so they will not cause any spike in blood sugar level. Also, they are interesting and tasty to eat which mean that a pregnant woman can just snack on them when reading a book or as you watch a movie. Berries are very nutritious, but the fact that they have few calories is what makes them a perfect pregnancy food.
#5 Sweet Potatoes
The yellow color of sweet potatoes comes from carotenoids which are plant pigments that the body converts to vitamin A when you eat them. Unlike the vitamin A that you get from animal sources like liver and milk, the carotenoids will only transform into the essential vitamin when the body needs it, and so you do not have to restrict its consumption. These potatoes are also rich in fiber, folate, and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are not expensive and are also very versatile which means that you can use them to make different kinds of dishes.
#6 Free-Range (Organic) Eggs
Eggs are one of the best foods for pregnancy because they contain some significant amounts of almost all the nutrients that you will need. But, in these modern times, you have to be extra careful with your source of eggs because industrially bred chicken feed on some refined foods full of chemicals that can be harmful to you and your baby. Eggs from free-range chicken might be slightly expensive, but they are organic and safe. These organic eggs will provide you with protein, fats, antioxidants and vital nutrients such as choline. Choline is one of the compounds that make eggs unique because research shows that it plays a crucial role in the development of the brain and it can help prevent spina bifida and other congenital disabilities.
What you eat during your pregnancy will affect your well-being and that of your unborn child. Although you can still complement your diet with prenatal vitamins with DHA, nothing beats the energy and the nutritional value you get from real foods. The food that you eat will determine the development and health of your baby, and so you cannot afford to go wrong with your choice. Lastly, you will need to make sure that you take in more calories, but it is important to choose safe and healthy foods. And the six vital diet tips during pregnancy above are an excellent starting point.