Pregnancy is the phase during which your body undergoes numerous physical, emotional and mental transitions. Of the many changes that you experience whilst your journey towards motherhood, your cravings and aversions towards certain foods are surely one of the most significant. What may have been your ultimate favorite choice of food back in college may now make you feel sick in the stomach. Foods that you earlier didn’t have a liking for, now give you such irresistible cravings that your husband has to dash around the city seeking outlets to fulfill your needs at ungodly hours of the night. As you’re accustoming yourself to these strange changes going on within, you must also consciously watch your pregnancy diet that’ll do both you and your baby a lot of good. Here are top superfoods your pregnancy diet must include:
- Broccoli (And Other Leafy Greens) – Broccoli and other leafy greens surely top the list of foods that your pregnancy diet must include. These veggies are rich in many nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy such as calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamin C. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all women of childbearing age to include at least 0.4 mg of folic acid in their daily diet. Folic acid-rich foods lower the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects in the fetus. Calcium helps in the formation of the baby’s bones, and vitamin C lowers the risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition caused by high blood pressure in pregnant women. Iron contributes to an improved supply of oxygen to the fetus.
- Berries – Berries, apart from holding the reputation for being a baker’s delight, also happen to be a doctor’s favorite, for reasons well known. They contain antioxidants that have free-radical scavenging properties. Being rich in potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, berries can also help reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia that can even result in brain, kidney, and liver damage. The other nutrients contained in berries include calcium, vitamin C, fiber, and folate.
- Sardines – If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be happy to know that sardines are a great inclusion in your pregnancy diet. They are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats that contribute to the baby’s brain and eye development, a study by the Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology reports. While there are concerns about certain fish being high in mercury (mackerel, swordfish, tilefish) that can damage the baby’s brain, you can be rest assured that sardines are low in mercury. Salmon is another fish you should indulge in.
- Avocados – Add it to your smoothies and salads or use it to make a sandwich spread or a dip, avocados are probably the most versatile and the healthiest pregnancy superfoods out there! Apart from containing generous doses of omega-3 fats, they also contain folic acid, vitamins K, C and B6, fiber, and potassium. Fiber helps ward off the risk of indigestion or hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Vitamin B6 fights the symptoms of nausea and vomiting while Vitamin K aids the baby’s healthy bone development and blood clotting.
- Yogurt – A single pack of yogurt not just meets 25% of your daily calcium needs but also provides you with high doses of protein needed for your infant’s cellular development. A diet low in calcium can cause your body to compensate for your baby’s calcium needs by taking it from your bones. This can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis after pregnancy. Yogurt also contains vitamin D that provides relief from the symptoms of nausea.
- Eggs – In addition to being an excellent protein source, eggs contain a micronutrient named choline. As per a Journal of American College of Nutrition study, choline is highly essential for the development of the fetal brain and thus, an important constituent of a pregnant woman’s diet. Other nutrients contained in eggs include iron and omega-3 fats.
- Beans – If you’re a vegetarian, beans can act as a great source of iron. They are also rich in nutrients like fiber, folate, protein calcium and zinc. Studies suggest that a deficiency of zinc in pregnancy diet can hinder fetal growth.
Some other superfoods you should include in your pregnancy diet are chia seeds, pomegranate, quinoa, lentils and citrus fruits. Include generous portions of these foods in your diet and enjoy the manifold benefits they offer not just to you, but also the baby growing in your womb.