Eating right is one of the most important factors for a healthier pregnancy. What a mother eats is the source of nourishment for the unborn baby. Thus, a mom-to-be needs to make healthy food choices that will help in the growth and development of the fetus. Proper nourishment will also ensure that the mother has a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy. It will also help keep other health conditions such as gestational diabetes at bay. As such, let’s look at some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy, along with foods that you should avoid.
Pregnancy Nutrition – Foods to Eat During Pregnancy:
- Dairy Products: Calcium is important for the growth of the fetus as it helps build muscles and strong bones & teeth. It also helps prevent osteoporosis in pregnant women later in life. Thus, it is essential to include calcium-rich foods in your diets such as milk, yogurt, cheese, chia seeds and dried fruits.
- Legumes and Whole Grains: Legumes are a rich source of iron, folate, fiber, protein and calcium. They help reduce the risk of birth defects and prevent constipation in pregnant women. Whole grains, on the other hand, helps you to maintain the minimum weight required during pregnancy and includes nutrients like B vitamins, fiber, iron and more. Hence, consume legumes (kidney beans, soya beans, lentils etc) and whole grains (oatmeal, barley and brown rice) for a healthier pregnancy.
- Leafy Veggies and Fruits: Both fruits and dark green leafy vegetables are a storehouse of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. You should include veggies such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and watercress to your diet. Whereas, fruits such as kiwis, berries and avocados help boost your immune system while bananas are potassium-rich and oranges keep you hydrated.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy:
- Raw, Undercooked and High-Mercury Fish: Raw and undercooked fish can cause severe infections as they might be contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Whereas, being a toxic element, mercury can cause developmental problems in children. Thus, it’s best to avoid high-mercury fish, including shark, swordfish, tuna and more.
- Raw, Undercooked and Partially Cooked Eggs: While eggs contain almost all the essential vitamins and nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy, avoid eating raw or uncooked/partially cooked eggs as they may be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria, which can cause stomach cramps, nausea, fever and diarrhea leading to premature or stillbirth.
- Alcohol, Smoking and Excessive Caffeine: One needs to make healthy lifestyle choices during pregnancy to avoid health issues and pregnancy complications. Alcohol, smoking and excessive caffeine should be strictly avoided as they can cause server complications, including miscarriage.
- Processed Foods: Apart from offering low nutritional value, processed foods can lead to excess weight gain and an increased risk of gestational diabetes due to its high calories count, added sugar and fats. As such, this is another food item that you should avoid during pregnancy.
Also read Yoga During Pregnancy For Overall Wellness.