Best Foods For Pregnant Women

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A mother-to-be’s diet should be balanced and nutritious with the right amounts of carbs, protein, and fats so as to maintain a healthy pregnancy. During pregnancy, a mother-to-be gets bombarded with food and nutrition information. With healthpress.co, bury all those confusions. Below are some of the power packed foods for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Let us start by checking out the importance of each and every health element without any further delay.

Importance Of Protein In
Pregnancy:

Protein,
a “builder nutrient” is vital during pregnancy to support the fetal brain
development, fetal cell growth, fetal heart and blood production. Vegetarians
who consume no meat should pay huge attention to protein consumption to
supplement the daily protein requirements. According to a survey, it is stated
that 75 to 100 grams of protein consumption is a must during pregnancy. Since
the baby grows more rapidly in the second and third trimesters, protein intake in
the latter stages of pregnancy is more important than in the earlier stages.
Protein deficiencies can lead to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and
hampered the growth in foetus. Below are the protein-rich foods that should be
consumed by a pregnant woman.

1. Beans and Lentils.

Beans and
lentils both form an excellent source of protein. A ½ cup (125 grams) serving
of lentils provide about 12 grams of protein. Just add a cup of cooked lentils
to your meal, and you can meet half of your daily folate requirement.

Example: Kidney
beans, black beans, green lentils, black lentils, garbanzos, and peanuts.

2. Nuts And Seeds

Gulp down
a handful of nuts and it can fulfil your daily requirements of protein. Nuts
that are rich in protein include almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios,
walnuts, coconuts, hazelnuts and etc..,

Seeds
that are rich in protein include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds,
and etc..,

3. Eggs

Thank
eggs by making it a part of your protein diet. Eggs are an excellent source of
protein, as one large egg provides almost 6 grams of protein (3.6g in the white
and 2.7g in the yolk). An omelet with sprinkled cheese loaded with veggies
serves as the best protein-rich dinner recipe. Tuck tacos or quesadilla with
scrambled eggs. Use creativity in your fillings and I’m sure you will never get
bored with eggs. 

Note: Never eat
undercooked eggs during pregnancy.

5. Meat

Generally,
the more the leaner the meat, the more the protein it contains. A 3-ounce
serving of cooked pork and lamb provides 22g and 23g of protein respectively.

Iron:

A
pregnant woman has to consume 27 milligrams of iron a day to make sure that
there is adequate oxygen supply to the growing fetus. Pregnant women need more
iron especially in the third trimester as low levels of iron doubles the risk
of low-birth-weight and premature delivery. Foods that are rich in iron include
dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, brussel sprouts, broccoli, eggs,
meat, fish, tofu, whole wheat bread, and etc…, Since body absorbs animal
sources of iron better than plant sources, eating citrus fruits high in Vitamin
C will help in high iron absorption rate for vegetarians.

Importance Of Calcium In
Pregnancy:

Calcium
is an important mineral that is used to build the baby’s bones and teeth. It
further helps in the growth of your baby’s heart, muscles, nerves, blood-clotting
abilities and etc..,.  According to the Academy
of Nutrition And Dietetics, it is stated that if a pregnant woman does not
consume enough calcium in her diet, then the baby draws it from her mother.
Hence it is highly important for you to consume 1300 milligrams of calcium per
day to meet the requirements of the growing baby.

1. Dairy Products

When it
comes to dairy products, casein and whey are the two types of high-quality
protein. You have to fulfill your need for 60 grams of protein along with
calcium. All dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, tofu, soy
milk, almond milk and etc.., are rich in calcium, protein, Vitamin D,
phosphorus, Vitamin B, magnesium, zinc, and etc.., Greek yogurt is highly
beneficial for pregnant women as it contains more calcium compared to other
dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant, then go eat vanilla ice cream as
a ½ cup of it contains almost 85 milligrams of calcium.

2. Broccoli And Leafy Green Vegetables

Broccoli,
kale, spinach, turnip greens, and dark green leafy vegetables contain pregnancy
essential nutrients like Calcium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate,
and potassium. These greens also prevent constipation in pregnant women and
also benefit the immune system.

Note: Calcium
carbonate provides the most calcium. But it requires extra stomach acid for
efficient absorption. Hence, consume your calcium supplements (that contain
calcium carbonate) after a meal.

Role Of Carbohydrates In
Pregnancy:

The major
source of energy in your diet is carbohydrates. Carbs are broken into simple
sugars like glucose which further pass across the placenta and provide the
required energy to support your growing baby. Low carb can affect your baby’s
weight and overall development. Hence, eat high-nutritional quality carbohydrate
food that is generally nutrient dense. Spreading your intake of carbs throughout
the day by consuming foods in appropriate sizes is important to manage your blood
glucose levels. It is important to remember that a high blood glucose level
during pregnancy is associated with gestational diabetes (in a mother-to-be) which
can increase birth complications. Hence pregnant and a breastfeeding women should
maintain an intake of 175grams to 210grams of carb per day and not more than
that.

Carbs
To Avoid:

Try to avoid
simple carbs as they offer less nutrition and quickly convert to sugars in your
body. This includes chips, white bread, candies, and white rice.

Carbs To Choose:

Choose
foods like whole grain bread, baked potatoes, and fresh fruit. The
more complex the carbohydrate is, the more nutritious it would be. Our body
absorbs complex carbohydrates in a slower way which helps in regulating
consistent blood sugar levels.   

Other Essential Nutrients:

Zinc: Zinc plays a major role in cellular integrity, and several
biological functions. Hence it is essential for the fetal growth.

Sources Of Zinc: Chicken, shrimp,
oysters, crab, and etc..,

Sources of Zinc (In vegetarian
food):
Nuts,
sunflower seeds, onions, ginger, rice, pasta, wheat germ, tofu, cereals, eggs,
and etc..,

Vitamin D: Supplements
containing at least 10mcg of Vitamin D should be consumed daily. Hence, it is
good to get exposed to summer sunlight which triggers the skin to synthesize
Vitamin D naturally. But at the same time, limit your sun exposure as too much
sunlight exposure can cause skin burn and allergies.

B12: B12 plays an important role in
developing the baby’s brain. Sources of B12 include dairy products, plant milk,
nutritional yeast, and breakfast cereals.

Iodine: Similarly
Iodine is important for fetal brain development. Dried seaweed, iodized salt, cow’s
milk, and yogurt are good sources of iodine for vegetarians.

DHA: DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that
promotes the development of the eyes and brain of the fetus. This fatty acid is
abundant in fish, algae, and fish oil. If you are a vegetarian, consume
supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Fruits:

Eating a lot of fruits during pregnancy boosts the
health of both the mother and the growing baby. Fresh fruits fuel up your body
with essential vitamins, nutrients, and even fiber. Include fruits such as
apricots, pears, oranges, avocados, pomegranates, mangoes, guava, grapes,
bananas, apples, berries, dried fruits, and grapes. Eating fruits during
pregnancy minimizes the risk of certain diseases and defects thus nourishing
you.

Say No-No To These Foods During
Pregnancy:

1. Anything
undercooked should be avoided. Like raw or undercooked fish, raw eggs, raw milk,
and raw meat should be completely avoided.  

2. Try to
be far away from empty calorie foods like chips, cakes, biscuits, candies and
etc.., These foods have very less nutritional content but have high sugar and
fat content which inhibits in maintaining healthy body weight.

3. Don’t
eat swordfish, marlin, and shark as they have high-mercury.

4. Alcohol
should be avoided completely during pregnancy as it is impacts the learning and
abilities in children.

5. Never
opt for uncooked or undercooked ready-prepared meals as there is a huge risk of
infection from pathogens. It is important to ensure that your meals are cooked
until piping hot.

6.
Consume caffeine in moderation. Less than 200mg of caffeine a day should be
good.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy:

For most
of the pregnant women, the calorie intake just grows by a few hundred calories
and hence overeating is not good. According to Krieger, the recommended weight
gain during the first trimester is 1 to 4 pounds. In the second trimester add
200 calories to your diet intake and in your third trimester, add 300 calories
daily.

According
to IOM (Institute Of Medicine), the guidelines of weight gain during a women’s
full-term pregnancy is as below:

  1. Underweight women whose BMI (Body Mass Index) is
    below 18.5 should gain about 12.7 to 18 kg.
  2. Normal weight women with a BMI ranging in between 18.5-24.9
    should gain about 11.3kg to 15.8 kg.
  3. Overweight women whose BMI is between 25.0 to 29.9 should
    gain a weight that is ranging in between 6.8 kg and 11.3 kg.
  4. Obese women with a BMI of more than 30.0 and above
    should gain 5 to 9kg.

Note: This weight differs if a woman is carrying twins.

Conclusion:

Fill your
plate this way: ½ a plate with fruits and vegetables, a ¼ plate with whole
grains and the rest quarter with lean protein. Make sure you consume a dairy
product after every meal. According to the Journal Of Physiology, fats should
not constitute more than 30% of pregnant women’s diet. Besides all the above
things, it is important to maintain a healthy mind as a healthy mind means a
healthy body and vice-versa. To check out the information
regarding prenatal yoga, click here.

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