Eating for two is never an easy endeavor; you have to ensure you get the proper nutrients for yourself and your baby. To do this, you need to understand the various types of food that can help support your baby's growth and the right way to incorporate them into your diet.
However, some foods may cause digestive issues, something that can happen during pregnancy, but avoiding them can be completely natural. In fact, you can combat specific digestive problems with superfoods for pregnancy.
Here, we have compiled a list of eight superfoods packed with essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that are ideal for expecting mothers.
The Bottom Line
- Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy: During pregnancy, there’s an increased demand for nutrients such as folic acid, iron, and calcium
- The Eight Best Superfoods for Pregnancy: Leafy greens, berries, fish, avocados, sweet potatoes, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains
- Foods to Avoid When Pregnant: Raw or undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol
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Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a monumental moment in a woman's life and nutrition is crucial in ensuring that both the mother and baby are in optimal health. During this gestation period, there is an increased demand for certain nutrients such as folic acid, iron, and calcium. Therefore, eating a balanced diet is non-negotiable, and that's where superfoods come in. There are many superfoods that can support a healthy pregnancy, for instance, that’s one of the surprising moringa health benefits for women.
So, whether you are looking for a new way to add some variety to your pregnancy diet or simply looking for some inspiration, you’re sure to find something here that you’ll love. Continue reading for tips on how to incorporate these superfoods into your meals and delicious and easy-to-make recipes that you can try.
The Eight Best Superfoods for Pregnancy
Expecting mothers are responsible for nourishing themselves and the little one(s) growing inside them. It goes without saying that proper nutrition during this time is vital for both the mother's and baby's well-being. It is advisable that pregnant women consume an additional 300 to 500 calories each day if it is one fetus and twice or thrice that for women carrying twins or triplets, respectively. Learn how you can make these calories count with the eight superfoods below.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folic acid and iron, making them an essential part of any pregnancy diet. Folic acid is vital for pregnant women, as it helps to prevent congenital disabilities in the baby's brain and spine. Iron is essential for healthy blood cells, and calcium, another crucial vitamin in leafy greens, good for strong bones and teeth.
Some of the best leafy greens you can incorporate into your prenatal diet are spinach, kale, cabbage, and asparagus. These greens are high in nutrients and low in calories, making them a perfect choice for expecting mothers looking to control their weight gain. You can easily add them to salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. For a delicious and easy-to-make recipe, try the simplest superfood salad recipe for a tasty side dish.
Berries come second best in the list of superfoods for expecting mothers because they are good antioxidants. Eating berries help protect the mother and baby from harmful free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause damage to body cells and affect normal body functioning and aging. Berries help combat this unpleasantness and are a good source of vitamins C and K, which help the body absorb iron and clot blood.
The best berries to include in your diet are blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. These berries can be easily added to cereal, yogurt, and smoothies. If you’re wondering how to make a healthy smoothie bowl, all you need are frozen berries, a frozen banana, greens, zucchini, non-dairy milk, plant-based protein powder, and some toppings to spice it up.
Are you looking to add omega-3 to your diet? Then look no further. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for developing the baby's brain and eyes. It is also packed with vitamin D, which is crucial for the baby's bone development and the mother's immune system. Not to mention, fatty fish also happens to be one of the best superfoods for muscle gain. Some of the best fish to include in your diet include salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
It is worth noting that fish caught in the lake, river or ocean have fewer contaminants than farmed fish. As for the intake, you can either grill, bake, or add your fish to salads for a savory meal. Other fish, such as sardines, are meals you can take as a snack.
Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, vital in developing the baby's brain. They also contain potassium, critical in maintaining healthy blood pressure, and vitamin E, an antioxidant.
There are many ways to incorporate avocados into your diet, including adding them to sandwiches, salads, or guacamole.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great addition to your pregnancy diet. Not only are they a good source of complex carbohydrates, but sweet potatoes are also a prime provider of beta-carotene, readily converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for the baby's vision and overall immune system strength.
You can prepare sweet potatoes in different ways. The most common approaches include boiling and mashing them for soups, stews, or side dishes.
Legumes such as beans, peas, soybeans, and lentils are abundant in protein, iron, and folate. Protein is vital for the growth and development of the baby, iron is essential for healthy blood cells, and folate is key in preventing congenital disabilities, especially in the first trimester. Legumes are also high in fiber which can help prevent prenatal problems of hemorrhoids or constipation.
Easy ways to add legumes to your diet include:
- Making soup, stews, and salads
- Turning legumes into dips such as hummus
- Snacking on peanuts or soy, ideally in small amounts
7. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are valuable sources of healthy fats, protein, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. They also contain folate and vitamin E, making them a superfood for any expecting mother. The iron and zinc found in various nuts and seeds are essential for forming your baby's bones and teeth, while folate aids in the healthy development of your baby's neural tube.
When choosing which nuts to indulge in, it is advisable to go for unsalted varieties to avoid a case of excess sodium intake. It is also recommended to eat nuts and seeds in moderation as they are calorie-dense, so it’s easy to overdo it.
8. Whole Grains
Whole grains contain high levels of energy, fiber, and B vitamins. They provide essential minerals such as iron and zinc, not to mention complex carbohydrates, which can help maintain your energy level during pregnancy. Some of the best whole grains to include in your diet during pregnancy include:
Quinoa is a great source of protein, iron, zinc, and all nine essential amino acids. You can cook and serve them as a side dish or include them in salads.
Brown rice is rich in B vitamins, iron, and zinc, and it's also a good source of carbohydrates. You can serve it as a side dish or add it to soups and stews.
Oats are a great source of fiber, B vitamins, and iron. You can eat them as oatmeal, add to smoothies, or use them as a substitute for flour in baking.
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread is a good source of B vitamins, iron, and zinc. It's also a good source of complex carbohydrates. You can use it for sandwiches, toast, or as a base for pizzas.
The Foods to Avoid When Pregnant
Throughout your nine-month pregnancy journey, there sure is a long list of foods you should be eating. But what about the foods that you should avoid when pregnant?
Raw or Undercooked Meat
Raw or undercooked meat generally contains harmful bacteria such as salmonella or listeria, which can lead to food poisoning. This can lead to serious health issues such as miscarriage or stillbirth.
Unpasteurized Dairy Products
Dairy products that have not been pasteurized, such as raw milk, can also contain harmful bacteria that eventually lead to food poisoning.
You're probably already aware of the fact that pregnant women should stay away from caffeine as a precaution. This reason for this is, high levels of caffeine significantly increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth rate, and developmental issues.
For obvious reasons, you should avoid alcohol during pregnancy, no matter what pregnancy stage you are at. Drinking alcohol while pregnant increases the risk of miscarriage and congenital disabilities and could possibly lead to premature birth.
In addition to the foods you should avoid, it is also important to be mindful of portion sizes and to limit the intake of foods high in sugar, salt, and unsaturated fat.
Elevate Your Pregnancy Diet with Ensō Supergreens
We cannot overstate the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. But it can be challenging to ensure you get all the nutrients you need, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. That’s where we come in. At Ensō Superfoods, we make the journey easier for you by offering a variety of top-notch, all-natural superfood powders packed with essential nutrients. Don’t let a busy lifestyle or dietary restrictions hold you back; discover how Ensō Supergreens can supercharge your pregnancy diet today.
Starting living a healthier life! Order your Ensō Supergreens today
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