Friday, October 31, 2014

10 Superfoods every pregnant women should include in her diet

What you eat during your pregnancy has a direct effect on the growth and development of your baby. So it is crucial that you include the healthiest and the best foods to boost your baby’s growth and to keep yourself healthy to face all the stress and strains of pregnancy and labour. Here are some pregnancy superfoods that you can’t afford to miss for the sake of your baby’s well-being.

Milk and dairy products
Adequate calcium intake during pregnancy is crucial. Apart from strengthening your bones and taking care of your teeth it also contributes towards the overall skeletal development of your baby. So gulp down that glass full of milk daily and make sure you also indulge in other dairy products like cheese, cottage cheese (paneer), yoghurt, buttermilk, etc., to meet your calcium requirements. Be regular with your calcium supplements too, as it could help you meet the required daily levels of the same in case your diet lacks in providing you with the requisite amount.

Spinach and fenugreek
Leafy green vegetables, especially spinach and fenugreek, are rich sources of folic acid or folate. Folic acid is an important nutrient for your unborn baby. It helps in fetal brain development and also saves your baby from birth defects like spina bifida a congenital disorder caused due to incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube. It also reduces risks of preterm labour and prevents preeclampsia in the mother. Apart from this, these leafy green vegetables also have traces of vital vitamins, minerals and calcium that can do you a great deal of good.

Till about a few years ago this vegetable was considered exotic. But now you can find broccoli in almost all the leading supermarkets. You have enough reasons to include it in your shopping cart, especially when you are pregnant. Broccoli is packed with an adequate amounts of calcium, manganese and potassium and contributes towards stronger bone development in the fetus.

Eggs and meat
Eggs are the best source of first class proteins, low in calories and packed with high-quality omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of folic acid, choline and iron and help to keep your amniotic membranes strong while preventing birth defects in the fetus. Remember to have your eggs with the yolk so that you don’t miss out on choline.

Meat, on the other hand, is rich in animal protein that helps in cell and muscle development in the baby. Having adequate quantity of protein through diet can also help an expectant mother fight pregnancy induced fatigue. Opt for lean meat as they are the best source of high-quality protein sans the fats.
Intake of fish during pregnancy has always been a bit controversial because of the high mercury content in them, especially the seawater ones. However, fish is packed with good quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids that contribute towards the brain and eye development of the baby. To be on the safer side limit your fish intake to twice-a-week. Make sure you cook your fish thoroughly before consuming it and avoid having raw fish as it can increase your chances of an infection and harm your baby.
Pulses and legumes
They are the best source of plant-based proteins, fibre and other nutrients like zinc, iron and folate. Sprouted beans, on the other hand, are also a rich source of vitamin B 12 that helps in brain and liver development of the baby and also the mother. Include a variety of pulses and legumes in your diet to reap their nutritional benefits.
Apart from being a rich source of calcium, tofu is also packed with iron, manganese vitamin A and K. It is also a rich source of folic acid and can be an excellent snack or a salad ingredient for an expectant mum.
Fruits and vegetables
Of course, you cannot miss eating them. But don’t limit your options when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Other than having the staple fruits like apple, banana and pear, opt for more colourful varieties. Ideally it is recommended that one should have five portions of fruits a day during pregnancy. Have foods rich in antioxidants like musk melons, strawberries, grapes, etc. Oranges are rich in vitamin C and would help in the absorption of iron while apples can help relieve constipation a common pregnancy woe, being fibre-rich. Eat more berries as they are packed with antioxidants that help to prevent birth defects and up the circulation. 
When it comes to vegetables, apply the same rule, more the colour the better. Shop for a variety of vegetables and ensure that you bring with you a vegetable basket that’s a riot of colours. Opt for bell peppers, pumpkins, eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower along with your green vegetables to make your diet wholesome. The antioxidants, minerals and vitamins in them would do your baby a whole deal of good.  
You don’t need any explanation on why you should have water during pregnancy. This will not only help your body get rid of internal toxic build-up, but will also save you from urinary tract infections which are common during pregnancy. Sipping on coconut water or fresh orange juice would also help. 
Breakfast cereals and grains
They are a great source of carbohydrate and fibre and act as a storehouse of energy. Fibre in your diet will also help you from fighting constipation that is common during pregnancy. Including good carbs in your diet will ensure that you give each cell of your body adequate energy for proper functioning and maintain an overall healthy body to take on the stress of pregnancy and labour.

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