10 Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant it is vital that you keep yourself healthy, as well as your baby. You may not think that there is a lot you can do for your baby before it is unborn, but there are many things you can do to give your baby the healthiest possible start to life.
There are a wide variety of nutrients needed in order to help with the healthy development of you and your baby. Here are just 10 of the recommended healthy foods to eat during your pregnancy to boost baby's development. Luckily they’re yummy too!
Oily fish like sardines are a rich food source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which helps the brain and central nervous system of your baby mature. It is advised that pregnant women consume at least two portions of fish a week, and with sardines being the less likely fish to be contaminated with mercury, it’s the perfect lunchtime treat. Sardines also contain a good amount of vitamin D in, which is critical for building bones and teeth and reducing any infections.
When pregnant, iron is crucial because it affects the production of brain chemicals and the formations of myelin, which is vital for quick and accurate message sending in the brain. If you are struggling with your iron levels, lentils could be a great addition to your diet. Too little iron can lead to mental underdevelopment in your baby.
There are plenty of lentil soup recipes to help you get your daily dose of iron - it is recommended that you need 14.6mg per day during pregnancy. Following a plant-based diet can be good, but when pregnant, a good balance of meat, dairy fish and vegetables is advised.
If you are pregnant, it is advised that you intake 140mcg of iodine a day, which is what 150g of greek yoghurt will provide you. All yoghurt is a great source of iodine, and is very important, following a warning from the World Health Organisation stating that iodine deficiency during pregnancy is the leading cause of preventable mental health problems.
Greek yogurt also has more protein in it than any other, which can prevent low birth weight. Adding yoghurt into your diet as a snack or a breakfast substitute could provide you and your baby with great nutrients.
To produce new DNA and to regulate cell metabolism, it is important that your baby has naturally occurring folate, which is something that spinach can provide. As well as this, eating extra spinach can also provide you with the nutrients to protect your baby’s brain tissue from any damage. 400mcg of folate per day for pregnant women is recommended, adding spinach into a meal can provide you and your baby with all the vital nutrients you need.
Protein and iron are both great sources of nutrients, both vital for the brain development of your baby. Eggs are a great superfood because of their high levels of choline, essential when developing memory and life-long ability to learn. Adding a hard-boiled egg to a salad, or eating them with some toast for breakfast could give you 113mg of choline - 450mg of choline is needed per day.
If you are expecting and you want to give your baby the healthiest start to life it is important that they get enough selenium, which is a nutrient to help your baby's brain development. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium to add to your diet for your baby, they are also rich in monounsaturated fats. Just one brazil nut will cover your daily required dose of selenium. However, there is no harm in putting a handful into a steamy vegetable dish.
Looking for some new pregnancy snacks? Peanuts are a great choice, not only are they great for providing vitamin E, but they are also full of protein, niacin, monounsaturated fats and folate, all of which will protect brain cell membranes. Luckily you don’t just have to eat peanuts by themselves. Spread some peanut butter on your toast, or pair it with a chopped apple, this will be sure to cover your 3mg of vitamin E a day.
Pumpkin seeds offer the supernutrient of zinc, vital for building the structure of the brain whilst activating the areas of it that receive and process information. It is recommended that pregnant women intake 7mg of zinc per day and pumpkin seeds are a great snack, or you can blend them with pasta dishes. This excellent natural source of zinc will keep you and your baby healthy for the whole 9 months.
Vitamin E is another essential nutrient to have in your body when carrying your baby as it is required for the development of the baby’s central nervous system. A medium-sized sweet potato is a great source of vitamin E will give you your daily quote of vitamin E and beta-carotene (700mcg per day). If you can, it helps if you also eat the skin which has the highest concentration of beta-carotene. Just pop them in the oven for 30 minutes and drizzle with butter and enjoy.
Oranges are great during pregnancy and will keep you hydrated throughout. They’re a great source of folate or folic acid, which is important in helping prevent brain and spinal cord defects. Oranges provide vitamin B, which is important for making sure the body’s cells are functioning properly, great for you and your baby.
For more help on your journey through pregnancy and preparing for the arrival of your little one, why not start by taking all the stress out of packing your hospital bag with our ultimate expert guide below.