Eating for two can often be a complicated process and many young mothers-to-be are confused about which foods belong to the prenatal superfoods category. While it is a well known fact now that “you are what you eat”, it is also very important to know that “ Your baby is also what you eat during pregnancy”. Enlisted below are a few super foods to eat when pregnant. These top 10 superfoods for pregnancy can help you through various stages of discomfort and also make way for a healthy baby.
Milk, yogurt and cheese are full of protein and calcium both of which are essential for the fetus to grow properly. Milk also contains Vitamin D which might help with the pregnancy nausea. This is the main reason why the dairy food group is included in the list of pregnancy superfoods third trimester as by that time, most women have overcome their morning sickness. You can try to aim for at least 3-4 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese daily. Incorporate milk and yogurt in smoothies and shakes and eat cheese as a snack between meals. If you are concerned about weight gain, opt for low-fat yogurt or Greek Yogurt.
2. Iron rich prenatal superfoods
Iron fortified cereals are specifically recommended as prenatal superfoods because they help women overcome anemia and B12 deficiency that are normally associated with pregnancy. Choose cereals having at least 80-90% RDA of iron. Other sources of dietary iron are apricots, lamb, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.
3. Folate rich foods
Folate or folic acid is the building block that helps in fetal development. Most women are given folate supplements by their doctors, starting in the first trimester of pregnancy itself. A pregnant woman’s folate needs are double that of a non-pregnant woman’s (at least 1000mcg per day). Many prenatal superfoods like Tahini, asparagus, leeks, pinto beans etc are very good sources of folate.
4. Citrus fruits
Vitamin C, which is found abundantly in citrusy fruits can help improve the mother and the child’s immunity. Vitamin C also helps in iron absorption so all fresh fruits and most leafy green vegetables must be used in pregnancy superfoods recipes as far as possible. Go for oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and clementines.
Apart from supplying you with protein, eggs also help you get 12 essential vitamins and minerals that are great for you and your baby. Eggs contain choline which is necessary for brain development. Cholesterol is usually not a concern during pregnancy, so go for 2-3 eggs per day as far as possible.
Avocado is considered one of the super foods to eat when pregnant because it is high in MUFAs or mono-unsaturated fatty acids that are good for skin, hair, heart etc. It also supports brain development of the baby, so go ahead and snack on guacamole as much as you like. Try and get at least 2-3 servings of avocado daily.
Lentils are packed with proteins and fiber and are especially recommended to vegetarian pregnant women for their daily source of proteins. Lentils also help you remain full longer. They can help ease constipation that occurs in pregnancy and are rich in folate, zinc, calcium and amino acids. Lentils are very flexible and can be incorporated into numerous pregnancy superfood recipes like soups, stews and salads etc. Try and get in at least 2-3 servings of lentils on a daily basis.
8. Water and herbal teas
Hydration is very essential in pregnancy and you must try and drink at least 10 -12 glasses of water. You can also drink various herbal teas like mint, chamomile, lavender, spearmint, peppermint, raspberry, ginger, rose hip, lemon balm and green tea. These are recommended in moderation and most are soothing, safe and refreshing in pregnancy. Most of them are also rich in vitamin C and they do not contain caffeine. Mint tea is especially soothing for the gastrointestinal lining.
Fish is one of the top pregnancy super foods third trimester and in first trimester as long as you get it from a reputable source. Avoid farm raised mercury laden fish and go for certified organic varieties. Women who eat fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies etc in the last trimester have better chances of delivering babies with healthy weights. A small can of tuna can provide you with 0.15g of Omega-3 fatty acids. If you dislike fish, go in for fish oil supplements under your doctor’s advice.
While most fruits are great as super pregnancy foods, the ones that are packed with antioxidants are berries. Go for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. These are packed with vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and antioxidants. All these are necessary for building baby’s skin and immune system. Doctors recommend eating a cup of berries after a meal rich in iron to absorb it better. Aim to get in at least 2-3 servings of berries and you can do so by adding them to your smoothies, breakfast cereals or even as a snack between meals.
These are some of the top superfoods for pregnancy.