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Healthy Food For Pregnant Women

Pregnancy Food You Need To Eat

Pregnancy food Infographics(Image Detail In Text Formate)

Maintaining healthy diet during pregnancy is vital for the health of the fetus and the mother. However, certain foods groups that must be included in the diet of a pregnant woman. According to a study done in Portugal, a pregnant must take additional 350 – 500 calories each day during pregnancy, especially 2nd and 3rd trimester.

These food groups provide essential nutrients and vitamins that fulfill the bodily requirement of a pregnant woman.

A poor diet lacking essential nutrients and vitamins affects baby’s development negatively – poor diet may increase weight gain, increase the risk of gestational diabetes and cause birth complications.

Here is the list of food groups that must be included in your diet when expecting a baby.

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Whole grains:

  • Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamin B, and magnesium, all of the essential nutrients pregnant woman need.
  • Oats and quinoa are loaded with fiber and provide sufficient amount of protein as well.
  • Whole grains such as wheat, buckwheat is packed with plant compounds, an essential vitamin, and minerals that are essential for a woman expecting a baby.
  • Eating whole grains fulfill the extra calorie count as well.

Green vegetables and fruits:

  • Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale and fruits such as apples, pineapples, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, etc.) are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, Vitamin A, iron, folate, fiber, potassium, and water.
  • Dark green vegetables and broccoli are rich in antioxidants, contain plant compound that benefits immune system and digestion.
  • Moreover, high fiber content prevents constipation, a problem most pregnant women suffer with.
  • Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, and it is also essential for skin health and immune function.
  • All these vegetables and fruits have relatively low glycemic index value, so they could not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Consuming green, leafy vegetables reduce the risk of low birth weight.
  • All of these are essential for healthy pregnancy.

Lean Meat:

  • Red meat (beef, lamb) and chicken provide high-quality protein.
  • Beef is high in iron content, choline, and other B-vitamins, all of these vitamins are essential for a pregnant woman.
  • Iron is an essential mineral used in making hemoglobin and delivers oxygen to all cells in the body.
  • Low levels of iron may cause iron deficiency anemia which leads to premature delivery, low birth weight, and other birth complications.
  • Many pregnant women are prescribed additional iron or folic acid supplements as diet alone cannot provide sufficient amount of iron.
  • Many pregnant women develop aversions to meat.
  • Moreover, foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges or bell peppers, increase the absorptions of iron from meals.

Eggs:

  • Eggs are the power pack of nutrients as they contain every nutrient a woman will need during pregnancy.
  • One large egg is loaded with high-quality protein, fat, vitamins and minerals – and contain only 77 calories.
  • One large egg provides 113 mg of choline, which is about 25% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women (450 mg).
  • Eggs contain choline, an essential vitamin needed for many processes in the body including brain development and health.
  • Low level of choline increases the risk of neural tube defects which leads to decrease in brain functioning.

Dairy Products:

  • Dairy products are a rich in calcium and proteins (milk, yogurt, cheese, and whey etc). Moreover, they contain phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc which are essential for the development of the baby.
  • Yogurt especially Greek yogurt is rich in calcium and proteins to a pregnant woman.
  • Women who are lactose intolerant may eat yogurt, especially probiotic yogurt.
  • Taking probiotics during pregnancy reduce the risk of complications such gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, vaginal infections, and allergies.

Legumes:

  • Legumes include beans, peas, chickpeas, soybean, lentils, and peanuts, etc.
  • Legumes provide essential plant-based fiber, folate, iron, calcium and protein, everything your body needs during pregnancy.
  • One cup of chickpeas, lentils or black beans provides high amount of folate, 65-90% of the RDA.
  • Legumes are high in fiber.
  • Folate is the type of the B-vitamins (B9). It is important for the health of the fetus and mother.
  • Insufficient amount of folate leads to neural tube defects, low birth weight and increases the risk of the child to catch infections and diseases later in life.

Sweet Potatoes:

  • Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which is used by the body to produce Vitamin A. An essential vitamin needed for the development and growth of the cells.
  • It is important for the development of the healthy fetus.
  • Sweet potatoes provide 100-150 grams (3.5- 5.3 oz). Moreover, sweet potatoes provide sufficient amount of fiber, which improves digestive health and reduces blood sugar spike.
  • Women are asked to increase their vitaminA intake by 10-40% during pregnancy. However, they are advised not to take very high amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A (meat).

Seafood and Salmon:

  • Salmon provides high-quality omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (especially the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA) are essential during pregnancy.
  • Seafood especially salmon provide a high amount of omega-3 fatty acid, which is essential to building the brain and eyes of the fetus.
  • However, it is advised to limit seafood intake to twice a week during pregnancy due to the high amount of mercury and other contaminants found in seafood.
  • Salmon is the only food source of vitamin D which is essential for bone structure.

Fish liver oil:

  • Fish liver oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for the development of brain and eye of the fetus.
  • Fish live oil is made from the oily liver of fish mostly from the cod.
  • Fish liver oil is rich in vitamin D, which most people do not get in sufficient amount.
  • Low levels of vitamin D increases the risk of developing preeclampsia (a dangerous condition characterized by high blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling of the hands and feet.
  • Consumption of cod liver oil during early pregnancy reduced the risk of many diseases later in the baby’s life and linked with higher birth weight.
  • One single tablespoon of fish liver oil provides more than the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and omega-3.
  • More than one tablespoon of liver oil is not recommended as higher levels of vitamin A put the baby at the risk of developing birth defects.

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