If you have come here to know the answer for “what to eat while pregnant?”
Then you have come to the right place.
I still remember the day my wife told me she was pregnant.
It was and still is the best day of my life!
I was mesmerized, and filled with emotions.
The next thought was “what superfoods can make my wife’s pregnancy the healthiest.”
I made my comprehensive research and found my answer:
- Beans/ Lentils
- Chia Seeds
- Cheese (pasteurized)
- Dried Fruit
- Fish oil
- Greek Yogurt
- Lean Meat
- Orange Juice (fortified)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Grains
Another question I want to answer briefly is…
What is the medical definition for Superfoods?
Simply, it is a non-medical term for foods that have health-promoting properties.
Superfoods can either:
- Improve aspects of physical and emotional health.
- Reduce your chances of having different diseases.
Superfoods are also called “super” for their high content of antioxidants, different vitamins, or other nutrients.
Here are some superfoods that won’t be mentioned in this article:
- Green tea.
Now let’s go to the first healthy superfood for pregnancy…
Avocado is rich in healthy vitamins and acids like:
- Folate, which is so important for a pregnant woman as it aids in the child’s development.
- Magnesium that aids in the pain of the uterus and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications. Additionally, Magnesium helps build strong bones in the child.
- Potassium keeps the blood pressure and maintains proper fluids balanced during pregnancy.
- Vitamin C helps in making a healthy immune system. For the child, it helps him/her make collagen which is very important for the bones, tendons, and skin.
- Fats (Monosaturated and Polysaturated fats) found in avocado help in keeping a low level of bad cholesterol. This will help you remain fit and prevents overweight.
All these healthy nutrients will not only benefit you but will also help your child grow into a big healthy baby.
The magic of avocado doesn’t stop here; it can also be eaten in many ways: sliced in a salad, as a juice, in a smoothie, on a crispy toast, or as an alternative for mayo.
Beans and lentils are rich in proteins that are crucial for your pregnancy.
Not only are they a source of protein but they are also rich in folate and fiber.
The average need for protein from pregnant women is 60 grams per day.
And since a cup of cooked lentils could give you about 17 grams of protein.
This makes beans and lentils perfect for your DV of protein.
So cheer up if you’re a vegetarian. You can now add beans and lentils to your list of veggies.
Beef is one of the main sources of proteins in our world, and as for a pregnant woman your beef will give you:
- Protein: helps with your breast and uterine tissues growth, increases the blood supply sent to the baby and ensures the growth of the child’s tissues and organs.
- Zinc: helps with supporting the immune system, maintains the sense of tasting and smelling as well as healing wounds.
- Iron: helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and to the baby. Zinc also contributes to more blood cells production. This will prevent tiredness if you have anemia.
You would rather have a home-cooked steak, not a cheeseburger or any junk food.
Beetroot is a good source of healthy nutrients like fiber, folate, folic acid, and other vitamins.
It also helps with anemia, lowers the risk of preeclampsia, and helps maintain weight.
Beetroot is necessary for all of you who are looking to be in good shape even while bearing a child.
As for how it can be served: it can be served cooked, made as a juice, or eaten as it is.
It will still be healthy for you and your child.
Berries, in all kinds (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries), are a delicious source of Vitamin C, antioxidants, folate, and potassium.
You can either eat them: raw, by putting them as a snack in granola or oatmeal, as a smoothie, or in a salad.
The chances are infinite of how you can eat berries. Even your child would be happy about it, so why not?
Broccoli is a good source of:
- Vitamin B, especially folate.
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, K.
There is even more that scientists are still learning about.
However, you should never boil it, as it will lose about 90% of the nutrients it contains.
You can eat it raw or cook it differently away from boiling.
The benefits and nutrients of broccoli change according to the way it’s cooked.
Personally, I recommend you steam or add it to your soup, that way you and your child will benefit the most out of it.
Chia seeds contain a fair amount of fibers, proteins, fat, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.
For a pregnant woman, it’s never a bad idea to include chia seeds in your diet.
You’ll even be addicted and would want to add it to almost everything: your oatmeal, breakfast, as a snack on the go, or on your yogurt.
Chia seeds will help/provide you with:
- Making more red blood cells, preventing iron deficiency anemia and will help supply you and your baby with more blood.
- Gives your baby stronger bones and teeth.
- Will make you feel full; this is for the new moms who are always hungry.
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- More energy.
First of all,
You should never eat hard cheese during pregnancy due to the risk of food poisoning from listeria, a very deadly bug for unborn babies.
If the cheese is made from pasteurized milk, it is safe for you to eat it.
Pasteurization is a process where the milk is sanitized, eliminating all kinds of pathogens that might have inhabited the milk.
That is why you should eat cheese only if the milk it is made from is pasteurized.
Carrots are a very superior source of nutrients like vitamin A, C, and calcium.
It is known that carrots are good for eyesight…
Adding to that on pregnant women…
It also contributes to the development of the eyes of the baby.
Vitamin C will work on the immune system and calcium will be working on the bones and teeth of the child.
Carrots cure anemia by making more blood cells, easing your pregnancy.
How about that right?
Disregarding the known belief, dried fruits have the same nutrients as fresh fruits.
Pregnant women could still get the fibers, vitamins, and minerals their babies and themselves need from the dried fruits.
Here are some nutritional dried fruits:
- Prunes, which are rich in vitamin K, potassium, and fiber.
- Dates are rich in iron, plant compounds, potassium, and fiber.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Proteins break down into amino acids, which are massively important for your baby’s health, and your own.
Eggs are also rich in choline, which is a very important nutrient for the baby’s brain development.
Eggs also provide a good calorie intake, providing you with energy to withstand the changes your body goes through.
Eggs also regulate your cholesterol levels, which is necessary for your body to produce healthy cells, for your body and your baby.
Just a quick note:
Make sure you eat cooked eggs. Eating raw eggs can risk your baby’s health.
Fish oil is quite beneficial, when you take it first thing in the morning, even before breakfast.
But let me first let me clear something up…
There are two types of fish oil supplements:
- The first one that is healthy for pregnancy; oil extracted from the flesh of the fish.
- The other one is not; the one extracted from the liver of the fish, like cod liver oil.
Both of these types offer their fair shares of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the vital acids for your baby’s brain and eye development.
But cod liver oil offers one more vitamin that can be harmful to your pregnancy and to your baby; high levels of the retinol form of vitamin A.
If you normally eat a lot of oily fish, like the Atlantic salmon, you don’t have to take fish oil supplements which are normally provided in digestible capsules.
But if you don’t eat oily fish…
You now know your two options.
Figs include many healthy nutrients needed by the mother and the baby during pregnancy:
Figs have a high content of fiber, which helps reduce constipation during pregnancy.
Greek yogurt is a nutritional food to add to your diet while you are pregnant, and after.
Greek yogurt contains more calcium than other dairy products and even twice as much protein as regular yogurt.
It is also a great source of nutrients like probiotics, Vitamin B, phosphorus, and calcium.
You can eat it as a snack or in a main meal, like breakfast.
You can either add raisins or berries to it or make a smoothie or a milkshake.
It’s yummy and healthy.
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern food that not only is delicious but also very rich in nutrients like:
- Other vitamins like vitamin K.
Hummus reduces the chances of birth defects and helps with the bone development of the baby.
During the pregnancy process, it is common that mothers suffer from depression.
Hummus enhances the mother’s mood and cures depression.
You can either eat hummus with bread. But if you are not a big bread fan, you can eat it with vegetables.
Lean meat is a great source of protein for pregnant women.
This is essential for the brain, muscle, and nerve development and growth of the baby.
Lean meat has 17% fewer fats than regular meats.
It is also rich in minerals and vitamins vital for your baby’s maturation in your body.
Lean meats can be served in soups, stews, bakes, and pasta dishes.
Nuts are rich in:
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Vitamin E.
The omega-3 fatty acids aids in the brain development of the child. And the fiber content in the nuts helps the mother with digestion.
Also, nuts can be referred to as precautious food.
This is because nuts prevent the occurrence of different diseases in the body, which are normally accompanied by the different biological changes the mother’s body goes through during pregnancy.
And if you also want your child to be smarter and have a nice memory, nuts can be a vital food to add to your diet.
As it is proved nuts help with the brain development of the baby if eaten during pregnancy.
You can eat nuts as a snack, add them to the yogurt, ice cream, or even a smoothie.
Orange juice is rich in:
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
And it is also a good source of potassium.
Orange juice helps lower blood pressure during pregnancy.
However, you better avoid orange juice if it is not fortified with calcium, just to avoid preeclampsia (A pregnancy complication accompanied by high blood pressure and signs of damaged organs).
Prunes are good for your health and for the baby’s growth.
You would often find the doctors suggesting you eat prunes due to their lack of side effects as well as it is good for your overall health.
And here is why…
- Prevent constipation
- Aids in bowel movement
- Prevent anemia
- Increase iron levels,
- Controls blood pressure
- Helps with depression
- Fights nausea
- Prevents joint pain
- Aids with digestion.
Prunes can be eaten in a lot of ways: as a snack, added to yogurt, baked, or added to salad.
The list goes on, but you got the idea.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients including:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These seeds are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pumpkin seeds regulate blood pressure, helps with digestion, keeps your heart healthy, and aids with your baby’s development (brain and eye development).
Peas are very rich in many nutrients, mainly:
- Vitamin A, B, C
- Folic acid.
Peas reduce the chances of having a baby defect, and they are also healthy for the mother’s heart.
Peas protect and enhance the immune system, aids in the development of bones and teeth for the baby, and prevents disease.
Peas can be eaten in many ways, but the most recommended for pregnant women is green pea soup.
Green pea soup is easy to make, healthy, and delicious.
Spinach is one of the main superfoods
It is full of benefits and nutrients that will help both the mother and the baby during pregnancy.
Spinach is rich in:
- Vitamins A, C, E, and K
You can eat spinach prepared in a soup, eat it with omelet and cheese, as a smoothie, and even in a salad.
Salmon is an amazing superfood to add to your diet, during and after pregnancy.
Salmon is rich in:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- DHA content, which helps in the brain development of the child.
Salmon is great for the mother’s and the child’s:
- Prevention of diseases
- Blood pressure regulation
- Healthy immunity.
Salmon’s nutrients contribute to healthy eyes and skin, and thick hair.
There are many options when it comes to eating salmon; just don’t eat it raw.
And what I mean by raw salmon is sushi, as it has a lot of side effects that could possibly affect you and your baby adversely.
Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of two of the most important nutrients crucial for your baby’s development:
- Beta Carotene.
Let’s dissect it a little bit more… Shall we?
Beta Carotene is a plant compound that is converted in your body to Vitamin A, which is very important for your baby’s growth and development.
Careful for a too much animal-based source of Vitamin A, these are too toxic for your baby, and your health.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are plant-based sources of vitamin A and fiber.
For the fiber content.
- Regulates your blood sugar levels; reduces the blood sugar spikes.
- Keeps you full longer.
- Treats your digestive problems; this will be very helpful if constipation hits.
Whole grains are utterly nutritious and beneficial to you and your baby.
Whole grains are packed with:
- Plant Compounds
Here are some of the best whole grains for you and your baby’s health:
- Brown rice
- wheat berries
- White rice
Two more whole grains, oats and quinoa, offer fewer proteins, but more B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium.
The nutrients included in whole grains mostly prevent pregnancy complications.
For example, B vitamins reduce the risk of birth defects.
Magnesium prevents preterm labor and other pregnancy complications.
In conclusion, healthy food during your pregnancy is the main essence for:
- Healthy and Safe Pregnancy.
- Healthy development of the baby’s brain and main organs.
You will just have to make sure to stick to a healthy diet with some of the listed foods up there and avoid the ones that could harm your baby.