Pregnancy is the time when you should take extra care of yourself. Proper nutrition in all stages of pregnancy helps the development of your baby. A healthy diet containing all essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients is the key for achieving your pregnancy goals. This will help you overcome fatigue as the pregnancy progresses and also any deficiencies in the body.
Nutrition in Early Pregnancy
Early pregnancy does not require you to take extra calories per day as the baby is still too small. However, it is important to keep track of what you eat as there are foods that may harm you early in the pregnancy as the fetus is making its way to get stable. Poor dietary habits may lead to lack of nutrition which is a big no during your pregnancy period. It should be noted that excess weight gain will only harm your body and the developing baby as you may get gestational diabetes.
Overall, choosing healthy and nutritious meals should be your goal throughout the period. This will help your baby grow healthy and you will be able to lose weight easily after childbirth.
List of Nutritious Foods
The body needs extra nutrition in case of a pregnancy as your baby is developing vital organs and muscle tissues to sustain healthy life after birth. This means you need to consume more protein, calcium, folate, iron, fiber, and other minerals. Still wondering what foods to choose in order to stay healthy? Here is a list of highly nutritious foods to include in your diet.
Dairy foods are an essential part of any diet plan as the body needs calcium on regular basis. Dairy also contains protein which is beneficial for muscular strength.
Dairy of also rich in potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. Yogurt is particularly beneficial for women among all the dairy products because it contains even more calcium. Some yogurt varieties are even better for digestive health.
The good news is that even lactose intolerant people can consume yogurt especially if it is probiotic yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics which can help in reducing complications.
This food group is considered among the healthiest foods to eat during pregnancy. Lentils, peas, beans, peanuts, and soybeans are the foods included in this category. Legumes contain all essential nutrients for pregnant women including fiber, folate, iron, and protein. Folate has a very important role in developing the fetus in early pregnancy and therefore women are advised to increase their folate intake.
One cup of legumes such as peas and lentils contain around 65% of the daily recommended intake of folate. Women not being able to take the recommended amount of folate should definitely take a supplement to fulfil their body’s requirement.
Sweet potatoes are important source of beta carotene which converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for the baby’s growth and healthy development. However, animal based sources of the vitamin are not usually recommended during this phase as it may cause toxicity. Sweet potato can fulfil the entire requirement of RDI if consumed well. Also, it is good for the digestive health and blood sugar control. It may help you keep full for longer as it is an excellent source of fiber.
Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is essential for the baby’s vital growth. Women don’t usually consume enough omega 3 fatty acids however, these fatty acids can provide great nutrition in pregnancy. The source of omega 3 fatty acids should be checked as not all fish are safe for consumption in pregnancy because of the mercury levels. Omega 3 fatty acids can usually be obtained in high amounts from seafood. These are good for the brain and eyes of fetus. Salmon also contains good amount of vitamin D which is also essential for healthy immune system.
Eggs contain part of all nutrients required by the body which is why these are the healthiest breakfast option for pregnant women. The high quality protein, choline, and calcium is what makes them the healthiest food on Earth. It is also packed full of other vitamins and minerals. Whole eggs are an excellent source of attaining essential nutrients for the baby’s healthy development.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are in the talk often because of their nutrients. They contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. All of these are vital for healthy development of the baby. Leafy greens and broccoli are also rich in antioxidants that benefit the immune system. Being high in fiber content, leafy greens are good for constipation. These will also reduce the risk of having baby with low weight.
Beef and chicken can provide you with good quality protein. Beef is also known to contain iron which is required more in pregnancy. Iron is linked to the supply of oxygen to the red blood cells which every pregnancy needs more.
Consuming red meat regularly is good for pregnant women as they need more of this nutrient. Low levels of iron may cause anemia which is unhealthy for you and your growing baby. Moreover, Vitamin C can help in the absorption of iron and therefore you should also eat oranges and bell peppers.
Berries have water content which is beneficial for health as well. These also contain carbs, fiber, and antioxidants. Vitamin C is beneficial for overall health of the immune system and skin health. Berries also have a low glycemic index which does not cause spikes in blood sugar.
Whole grains are beneficial as it helps women meet their increased calorie requirement during pregnancy. These foods will not make you gain unhealthy weight as the nutrition is all what you need minus any unnecessary fats.
Avocados are healthiest fruits that are known to contain various nutrients. They are rich in potassium which may help you relieve leg cramps. The potassium content is even more than bananas in avocados.
Dried fruits are nutrient rich as they contain high calories, fiber, vitamins, and other minerals. Small quantities of dried fruits can also provide you with a large percentage of RDI as they are fully packed with nutrition. It is mostpy convenient to take dried fruits as their size is small and nutrient percejtage is larger but women should take care of the sugar content as these may also be high in sugar.
Let’s not forget about water which is our basic drink for the day. Water cleanses the system and removes toxins from the body. Increasing water intake will make your fight infections easily as any harmful bacteria will already be flushed out. The blood volume increases to about 25% and therefore it is very important to stay hydrated. Mild dehydration is indicated by headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and bad memory.
Increasing water intake will also help you overcome constipation and urinary tract infections which are both very common problems in pregnancy. It is advised to drink water whenever you feel thirsty and quench your thirst each time. Therefore the recommended intake is 2 liters per day which may vary according to body needs.