Maintaining a healthy diet in pregnancy can be easier than many women think. There are a number of health foods that are ideal for both mother and baby. Maintaining a balanced diet during pregnancy can help to increase energy and vitality during a pregnancy while assisting the fetus in proper development.
Here are some of the best health foods to eat during pregnancy.
1.) Eggs are ideal to consume during pregnancy because they are high in protein, which is essential for the mother's health and the baby's growth. The baby's cells are growing at a constant rate and protein is used in the makeup of every cell. Eggs are also high in choline, which is necessary for proper brain development of the fetus.
2.) While pregnant women have long been cautioned not to eat fish, this may not be necessary. Salmon is a source of omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, unlike fish such as mackerel and swordfish. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for fetal development and can help to balance a woman's mood when she is expecting.
3.) Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, an antioxidant that is essential for skin and immune system health. The vitamin A that comes from vegetables and fruits like sweet potatoes are called carotenoids. They are not harmful in excess the way animal sources of vitamin A such as liver and milk can be. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C and fiber. Fiber can be essential during pregnancy, as constipation and bloating are common, particularly in the second and third trimesters. Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system and can regulate blood pressure for mother and baby.
4.) Lentils, kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas are among the beans that can be included in a pregnant woman's diet. Beans have more protein than any other vegetable and are also a source of fiber. Since hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, eating beans can help to treat or prevent this issue.
5.) Popcorn is recommended for pregnant women because it is a whole grain. Whole grains are high in vitamin E, which help boost the function of the immune system and facilitate healthy blood circulation. Phytonutrients, which are plant compounds that protect the cells, are also found in whole grains like popcorn.
6.) Greek yogurt is ideal for consumption during pregnancy because it contains twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is also high in calcium, which is essential for the baby's bone and muscle development. Calcium can help pregnant women to manage their weight and prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is also a mineral that contributes to the health of the heart.
7.) Vegetables that are green and leafy should be included in a pregnant woman's diet. These vegetables are rich in folate, which is necessary for the baby's bone development. Folate has also been shown to prevent spina bifida. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, cabbage and broccoli are also high in vitamin K, which helps to improve brain function in mother and baby. Vitamin K, also known as potassium, can also help to prevent muscle cramps which can often occur in pregnancy.
These foods can be included in a healthy, balanced diet for pregnant women and can continue to be consumed during breastfeeding to maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.