Pregnancy super foods and tips for good nutrition
Eating right takes on a whole new meaning when you learn you have a baby on the way. People are bombarded with nutritional advice, but the information can become confusing. There are promises of pregnancy super foods that will allow you to achieve perfect health. It’s appealing, but not realistic. However, there are foods that are vitamin-packed and healthy. These foods will provide the nutrients you need before, during and after pregnancy.
Pregnancy super foods – Myths vs. facts
Unfortunately, there are no magical foods that will provide ultimate health. However, there are foods that will enhance your diet and improve your mood. They can also provide shiny hair, strong nails, improved digestion, and increased energy. Focusing on healthier foods during pregnancy will likely put you on the path to eating healthier after pregnancy as well. There is no official list of pregnancy super foods. However, here are some that are known to provide boosts in essential vitamins and minerals.
- Eggs are a vital source of protein, folate (B9), choline and iron.
- Sweet potatoes have high levels of fiber, along with vitamin B6, potassium, iron, calcium, copper and beta-carotene.
- Nuts offer healthy fats and big doses of omega-3s, fiber, and a ton of vitamins and minerals.
- Beans and lentils provide not only iron and protein, but also folate, fiber, and calcium. Bake them, and you’ll get a healthy supply of zinc as well.
- Lean meat helps provide those boosts of protein your body needs during pregnancy to ensure muscle development and help your baby grow. You also get iron from lean meat, which is essential in red blood cell formation to prevent anemia. Plus, you get vitamin B6, which can actually ease morning sickness.
- Oatmeal provides fiber, protein, and vitamin B6. Whole grains contribute to your energy levels, and will help you with pregnancy constipation.
- Leafy greens provide both antioxidants and nutrients, in addition to calcium, potassium, fiber, and folate that are important to your baby’s development.
- Berries contain phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients. These chemicals are what plants use to keep themselves healthy. In humans, phytonutrients enhance immunity, repair DNA damage due to toxins, and reduce cancer and heart disease risks.
Nutrition before pregnancy
According to many nutrition experts, most people aren’t getting enough potassium, calcium, dietary fiber, or Vitamin D in their daily diets. These nutrients are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and dairy products. If you aren’t yet pregnant and plan to be pregnant soon, it’s a good idea to analyze your normal daily diet and add in some of those pregnancy super foods to balance it out.
Eating during pregnancy
A balanced diet is essential during pregnancy. Avoid processed foods and opt for fresh, naturally healthy choices instead. Don’t deny yourself an occasional hamburger or a couple of pizza slices if they’re your favorite foods, but remember that they are exceptions to your healthy diet, not additions. Foods like canned tuna, which contains low levels of mercury, should be eaten in moderation. Avoid soft cheeses, foods containing raw eggs (like Hollandaise sauce), and raw shellfish. Acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy and fried foods, and unfortunately, chocolate and coffee, are often triggers for heartburn during pregnancy.
But can I still eat ice cream?
Of course. Eating well during pregnancy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy foods with a higher calorie count, like ice cream. In fact, ice cream actually has a healthy dose of calcium. But eating it all the time, or eating a big bowlful instead of a single serving may not be the best way to achieve your daily calcium requirements. Try sorbet or sherbet for a lower-calorie option. Moderation is key when it comes to foods that aren’t essential, and keeping that in mind will help you to maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy.
Listen to your physician about pregnancy super foods
When it comes to eating and your daily diet, listen to your physician and follow the guidelines he or she has provided for you. Your weight will be monitored throughout your pregnancy, and, if you’ve gained too much between visits, be honest with your doctor so you can discuss ways to address the issue. Never diet while pregnant, which can deprive your baby of essential nutrients and vitamins needed for healthy development. Wait until after you’ve had your baby to lose any excess pounds. Your doctor can provide some diet guidelines to help you get back to your pre-baby weight.