A healthy diet is an important part of pregnancy, as what you eat has a direct effect on your baby’s health. Eating healthily will also ensure that there are no complications later on. Thus, read below to learn about pregnancy nutrition that includes food items you should eat and avoid.
What Foods to Eat During Pregnancy?
1. Legumes: These are one of the best foods you should have during your pregnancy. This group of foods include beans, lentils, chickpeas, soya beans, and kidney beans. They are known to be rich in fibre, iron, calcium, and protein. They are an excellent source of folate (b9), which is an important vitamin for both the mother and the fetus in the first trimester. A proper intake of folate can help decrease the risk of birth defects and neural tube defects in the fetus.
2. Lean Meat: These high protein foods include lean beef, pork, and chicken. They are also packed with iron, zinc and vitamin b12, which helps in the growth and development of the baby’s nerve, brains and muscles. The iron obtained from them is easily absorbed by our body compared to a plant-based source. Having a sufficient amount of iron in the body reduces the risk of anaemia. Plus, it decreases the possibility of premature delivery, low birth weight, and postpartum depression.
3. Kiwis, Avocados and Berries: Fruits like kiwis, avocados and berries are a powerhouse of healthy fats, carbs, folate, vitamins K, C, E, dietary fibre, antioxidants, and potassium. They help build up your immune system and promotes hormonal balance. Other fruits like bananas are packed with potassium that keeps your energy levels high, and oranges have 90% water and vitamin C, which can keep you hydrated during pregnancy.
4. Dried Fruits: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, date and hazelnuts are one of the most healthy snacks to eat during pregnancy. They are rich in amino acids, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals that help in the development of the baby’s bones, brains, cells, nerves, lungs and teeth. They are also rich in fibre, which helps prevent constipation. Plus, they help strengthen the uterus muscles, thereby supporting a smooth delivery.
What Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?
1. High Mercury fish and Raw fish: Fish with high mercury is toxic and can affect the women’s kidneys, immune system, and nervous system. It can also cause developmental issues in the fetus. Fish such as king mackerel, tuna, shark, swordfish, and tilefish are known to have high mercury levels, so it's best to avoid them during pregnancy. Similarly, eating raw or uncooked fish such as sushi should also be avoided as they may contain harmful parasites and bacteria.
2. Unpasteurised Dairy products: Unpasteurised cheese and milk contain harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria and e.coli. This could not only cause food poisoning but also jeopardise the health of the fetus. Hence, always check and purchase dairy products with a pasteurised label.
3. Excess Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol present in the mother's blood directly passes from the umbilical cord to the fetus and can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). Also, high consumption of caffeine may lead to premature birth, low birth weight and miscarriage. Thus, avoid them for a healthy pregnancy.
Women go through a lot of changes during their pregnancy. To keep up with them, having a nutritionally-rich diet is necessary. Thus, take into consideration the above do’s and don’ts, and for more information, check out this Infographic.
Pregnancy Nutrition Infographic
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