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8 Best Foods To Eat When Pregnant

Chief Editor | Published on January 29, 2023

While a woman does not need to double her food intake while pregnant, she definitely needs to ensure she maintains a healthy and balanced diet. A diet that lacks key nutrients may negatively impact a baby’s health and development. Make sure you include the following foods in your diet when expecting.

Food 1: Dairy Products

A pregnant woman needs to increase her protein and calcium intake to help support her growing baby.

Dairy products contain 2 types of protein — casein and whey. They are also generally a good dietary source of calcium and contain phosphorous, various B-vitamins, magnesium and zinc.

Yogurt is a great dairy product for pregnant women. Besides being a good calcium source, some varieties contain probiotic bacteria which promote good digestive health and may help reduce the risk of some pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and vaginal infections.

Food 2: Dark Green Vegetables

Dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli contain many of the nutrients that pregnant women require such as fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants which may help fight obesity and diabetes in a child in later life, and fibre which may help prevent constipation, a very common problem faced by pregnant women.

These are a fabulous source of protein — the building blocks of cells. Eggs also contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals including choline, which helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly, and helps prevent neural tube defects.

Food 3: Eggs

These are a fabulous source of protein — the building blocks of cells. Eggs also contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals including choline, which helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly, and helps prevent neural tube defects.

Food 4: Legumes

These are an excellent source of protein, iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and fatty acids — all essential for pregnancy. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of spinal defects in your baby as well as low birth weight. Legumes are also a good source of fibre which helps keep constipation at bay. Examples of legumes include peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils.

Food 5: Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon and ikan tenggeri are rich in essential omega-three fatty acids, which help build baby’s brain and eyes. Studies have shown that pregnant women who consume at least 2-3 meals of fatty fish per week achieve the recommended intake of omega-3.

Food 6: Foods Rich in Vitamin C

Food such as kiwis, papayas, guava, grapefruit, oranges and bell peppers are all rich sources of vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron from meals. Iron is an essential mineral that used by our red blood cells to deliver oxygen to all the cells in the body. Pregnant women require more iron, especially in their third trimester since their blood volume increases. Low levels of iron may result in anaemia which increases the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight. Vitamin C is also good for skin health and immune function.

Food 7: Lean Meat

Lean meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Beef and pork get extra points for also containing iron, choline and other B-vitamins — which are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy.

Food 8: Whole Grains

Meet the increased calorie requirements that come with pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters, by eating whole grains such as oats, brown rice, barley and quinoa. Whole grains are also packed with fibre, vitamins (including essential B-vitamins), plant compounds (these help protect cells) and magnesium. Some whole grains such as oats and quinoa also contain a fair amount of protein that’s needed during pregnancy.

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