TOP FOODS TO EAT DURING PREGNANCY
While there are many healthy foods to eat, some foods are so packed in nutrients that it makes good sense to include them in your pregnancy diet plan., carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins with each and every meal. Not only does your baby depend on those nutrients to grow healthy bones, organs and cell tissue, but research shows that what you eat during pregnancy can affect your baby’s risk of developing allergies and even chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high cholesterol.
Here are some of the very best foods to add to your pregnancy diet:
1. Green, Leafy vegetables such as collard greens, swiss chard and spinach – these are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, folic acid and iron and are good for growing healthy tissue. Leafy greens are also high in magnesium and vitamin B12. Before conception, mothers can add a folic acid supplement as well as add leafy greens to their diet plan to help prevent neural tube defects.
2. Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are a healthier substitute than white potatoes. They contain large amounts of vitamins A and C as well as a good amount of dietary fiber.
3. Blueberries – These healthy berries contain vitamin C, manganese and are chock full of antioxidants. Blueberries are versatile and are an easy addition to yogurt, ice cream, and cereal for snacking or to add to any meal of the day.
4. Apples – An easy fruit to throw in your bag for quick snacking, apples contain fiber and vitamin C. You might consider eating an apple a day since apples have just been shown to reduce the incidence of asthma in children when mothers ate 4 or more apples each week.
5. Lean Organic Chicken Breast – With 87% of your daily recommended amount of protein in just one cup of cooked chicken breast, you will also be getting plenty of selenium, niacin and vitamin B6 when you add lean organic chicken to your pregnancy diet plan. Chicken also contains some omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
6. Nuts- These are a quick protein source to take with you during the day. Choose almonds since they are high in vitamin E and manganese and cashews for their magnesium.
7. Low fat Organic Yogurt – One of the best sources of calcium that your baby needs for his or her bone development, organic yogurt is also rich in protein. Organic yogurt contains good bacteria and is the perfect food to add to your diet if you are taking antibiotics.
8. Whole Grains – Look for breads that are high in fiber (4-5grams per slice) and enriched with folate or folic acid.
9. Cereals – Find cereals that are low in fat, high in protein and fiber (at least 5gm per serving) and enriched with folate to be sure you are getting plenty of this crucial mineral to prevent neural tube defects.
10. Beans and Legumes – Beans such as pinto, red and black beans as well as lentils are packed with fiber, protein, folate and tryptophan. These beans also contain a little known mineral called molybdem which helps to detoxify sulfites (a substance often added to processed foods such as deli meats and salads.)
It is very important for you and your baby that you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. While pregnant you should consume about 300 more calories per day than you normally do (about 2,300 calories total). Nausea and vomiting can make this difficult but it is important to have good nutrition, and plenty of it, to help your baby develop fully and correctly.
Essential Things to Include in Your Diet
• You should eat a variety of foods everyday while pregnant to keep a balanced diet. Be sure to have six to eleven servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy and three servings of protein sources (meat, eggs, fish, poultry, or nuts).
• Eat plenty of high fiber foods like cereals, whole-grain bread, pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables.
• Take your prenatal vitamins! You should make sure that you are getting enough of vitamins and minerals in your diet as well.
• Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.
• Eat or drink at least four serving of dairy or calcium products to ensure that you are getting at least 1000-1300 mg of your necessary calcium while pregnant.
• It is also important to get at least one good source of Vitamin C because pregnant women should get about 70 mg of it in their bodies per day. God sources of Vitamin C include grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, honey dew and papaya.
• Eat one source of Vitamin A every OTHER day. If you absorb too much of this vitamin it can cause fetal malformations. Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, and turnip and beet greens.
• Each pregnant woman should have 0.4mg of folic acid per day to help protect their baby from developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Good sources of folic acid are dark green leafy vegetables and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas).
THINGS TO AVOID EATING WHILE PREGNANT
• It is imperative that you avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol has been proven to cause, premature births, low birth weights, mental retardation and other birth defects.
• You should also limit your caffeine intact while you are pregnant to no more than 300 mg a day. Remember that chocolate contains caffeine and you be careful how much at of that as well as monitoring your coffee, tea an soda intake.
• You should decrease your total fat intake by about 30% as well. So if you are have a regular calorie in take of about 2000 calories, you shout limit yourself to maybe about 65 mg of fat.
• Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters or clams.
• Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. Because these cheeses are often unpasteurized and can cause a bacterial disease. You don’t have to avoid hard cheese, processed cheeses, yogurt, cream cheese or cottage cheese.
• Do not eat foods with high levels of mercury like shark or swordfish.
• It is highly discouraged for pregnant women to use saccharin because it can cross the placenta and remain in the fetal tissue. However the use of other FDA-approved non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners is okay. These include Equal, Splenda, NutraSweet, or Sunett.