The 15 Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of strange cravings and seemingly endless hunger for a good reason…you are eating for two people! However, despite how easy it seems to reach for more ice cream, snacks, junk food, and carbohydrates, the normal requirements of your body are still in place, but they are doubly important because you are helping to shape the development of your baby, as well. According to a recent study, women with poor diets before pregnancy are more likely to give birth prematurely than women who have healthy diets. Therefore, eating a well-balanced diet, with a specific focus on certain types of nutrients that are particularly beneficial for fetal development, is a necessary and sometimes challenging part of being pregnant.
If you stick to a diet that includes moderate intake of these foods explained below, you will not only have a more pleasant and smoother term of pregnancy, but also keep you and your baby safe during those nine months. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy.
15 Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
1) Eggs – Eggs always provide our bodies with a low-calorie, high-protein, and versatile food source, but when pregnant, the certain types of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, is particularly beneficial. It is known to boost brain development and the the formation of healthy eyes. Egg whites are an even healthier option!
2) Dairy Products – Calcium is one of the key elements of a pregnancy diet, and the best type of foods for consistent and direct calcium supply is dairy products. Furthermore, the high content of vitamin D, vitamin A, and protein found in everything from milk to certain cheeses is just as important for the development of your newborn.
3) Avocados – These fruits are wonderful for pregnancy health, as they offer a variety of benefits. The folic acid content ensures proper neural tube development in the baby, the vitamin C stimulates the development of a healthy immune system, while other B vitamins do everything from preventing morning sickness to improving tissue development of your unborn child. Also, avocados are very high in healthy fats, so they can help you boost your weight and feel full if you’re craving food!
4) Sea Salt – Although most people tend to stay away from salt to improve their health, increase circulation, and lower blood pressure, sea salt has one very important element for proper fetal development – iodine. As most pregnant women are told to stay away from sushi (and the seaweed packed with iodine that is involved in that Japanese dish) sea salt is often the best method of adding this essential hormone-balancing nutrient to your pregnancy diet.
5) Edamame – This popular Japanese snack is actually nothing more than cooked soybeans. They also pack a powerful punch for pregnancy and can replace beans in the diet (while also reducing flatulence). Edamame are a great source of protein, folic acid, vitamin A, B vitamins, and calcium, all of which is important for proper fetal development!
6) Fish – This is a subject of some debate for a pregnancy diet. Some fish can contain trace amounts of mercury and other harmful trace minerals and compounds that could be very unhealthy for your child. However, fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring tend to have low levels of dangerous minerals and are packed with healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely important for the proper development of your baby. Only get your fish from reputable sources and speak to your doctor about what percentage of fish intake is right for your specific diet.
7) Carrots – Vitamin A is an essential part of a pregnancy diet, as it guarantees the proper formation of skin, eyes, teeth, and bones for your baby. Furthermore, the vitamin C and vitamin B have their own functions, while the high fiber content keeps your bowels moving regularly, preventing that traditional pregnancy constipation that can be so irritating.
8) Yogurt – While this technically falls under the category of dairy products, yogurt has some unique characteristics that make it a separate dietary item, including that all-important folic acid and vitamin D. Furthermore, yogurt contains gut microflora prebiotics that can improve your nutrient absorption in your stomach and ensure the efficient uptake of essential vitamins and minerals to you and your baby.
9) Mangoes – This delicious and exotic fruit is a wonderful source of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, which spurs fetal development and improves your blood pressure and immune system while pregnant, both of which are notorious victims of pregnancy stress on the body. Also, mangoes are good for settling the stomach and reducing morning sickness.
10) Oatmeal – Oatmeal and other types of grains are packed with minerals, like iron and copper, as well as a major dose of fiber. Fiber helps to boost your heart health, which takes a serious beating sometimes during pregnancy, while also regulating your bowels, reducing cramping, nausea, and other gastrointestinal issues that so often plague pregnant mothers.
11) Popcorn – This doesn’t make it on too many health lists, but popcorn is surprisingly healthy; it is the loads of salt and butter that most people include that makes this snack less than idea. However, popcorn has a significant level of fiber, vitamin E, selenium, and even some antioxidant compounds (phytonutrients) that can protect the development and strength of your baby’s cell membranes.
12) Nuts – When pregnant, there is a good chance that you’re always snacking and looking for something to tide you over to the next meal. Nuts are an easy, on-the-go snack that provides a wealth of different minerals, including magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, and zinc, all of which play an important role in maintaining your mineral levels, as well as the baby growing inside you! Furthermore, the omega-3 fats found in walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are essential for brain development of your infant.
13) Spinach – Spinach is packed with important pregnancy nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, iron, and folic acid, as well as a range of antioxidants that can protect your developing baby from any chronic diseases. The high iron content is particularly important for the mother, as anemia is a common concern during pregnancy and immediately following birth. Plus, your baby’s red blood cells need to form too, so extra iron from spinach is a wise choice!
14) Lentils – These tiny, unassuming dietary boosters are some of the most folate-packed items in the grocery store, so they protect your baby from neural tube defects better than almost anything else. Furthermore, lentils also contain high levels of fiber, iron, and complex carbohydrates that will keep you feeling full and will optimize your digestive process and absorption of nutrients.
15) Chicken – Chicken and other lean forms of protein are a must for your baby’s development, as the amount of protein required for fetal development is massive. However, be sure that you primarily get high-quality lean protein (meaning very low-fat) and avoid any overly processed meats, as they can often contain harmful bacteria or chemicals that you shouldn’t be putting in your body when you’re eating for two!