Pregnancy is the most beautiful period of woman’s life. Every expecting mother has radiant glow on her face. She eagerly waits for this special moment and when it arrives, her joy knews no bounds. It is one of the most delicate period of her life as she has to not only take care of her body but also nurture a new life, a new soul inside her womb. Indian women are showered by advices from caring aunties and grandmothers on what to eat, what not to eat, what to read and so on.
There is one huge myth that needs to be busted- Pregnant women must double or triple her food consumption. This myth is absolutely blind and there is no scientific evidence that supports it. On contrary, women may gain excess weight which may lead to complications during delivery. During time of pregnancy, body becomes highly efficient at absorbing nutrients and whatever healthy, organic food you eat is sufficient to meet nutritional requirements of both- mother and fetus. During the gestation period, there is a whole list of precautions to be taken like avoiding medications, eating healthy food, exercising, reading , restricting intake of alcohol, etc. Out of these factors, we will concentrate on healthy foods that every expecting mother should consume. This list will provide you detail information on why it is healthy and what are its nutritional composition. Let us have a look at foods that are to be consumed during pregnancy.
- Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are must, mandatory for every expecting mother to consume. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Spinach, one of the most healthiest leafy vegetable, is rich source of vitamins A, B2, C, E and K and contains minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, calcium and potassium. A cup of raw spinach contains only 27 calories. Another super healthy leafy vegetable kale contains proteins, vitamins like vitamin A, B, C and K and minerals like zinc, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Other leafy vegetables also contain a storehouse of essential miners, vitamins and antioxidants. Pregnant mother must consume at least 2-3 cups of leafy vegetables daily. Common issue of anemia during pregnancy can be avoided by consumption of dark green leafy vegetables as they are high in iron content. Make sure that you consume some sour foods like orange, lemon etc. that contains vitamin C as vitamin C helps in complete absorption of iron.
- Eggs are another super food every pregnant mother should consume. All the essential amino acids are present in egg and that makes its a complete protein food. Fetus in the womb is growing at an exceptional rate and to grow at this rate, it needs sufficient protein to produce more cells. Cells are comprised of proteins and if there is deficiency of protein, it affects the rate of growth of fetus. Do not worry about the cholesterol found in the yolk of egg unless you are consuming more than two eggs per day. Egg yolk is a rich source of vitamin A and contains minerals. It is a better source of fats (natural cholesterol) than saturated fats found in fried food items. Eggs contain minerals like selenium, zinc, iron, copper etc. and vitamins B12, B6, D etc. Hence, eggs are essential part of diet as they provide a set of complete proteins.
- People who are vegetarian should increase their protein intake. Not all essential amino acids are found in plant sources of proteins. They have to be combined in order to reap their complete benefit. Combine beans and legumes with rice, dark chocolate with apple to get complete proteins.
- Whole grains are another important aspect of diet. Whole grains are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are present in plant compounds that protect cells. Oats, quinoa, wheat, rice etc. should be consumed daily. They are major providers of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy that is required for proper functioning of body. On digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and gives instant energy when absorbed into blood. Thus, both mother and fetus benefits from eating good carbohydrates. Whole grains when consumed along with their covering provide more nutrients and fiber.
- Nuts are another group of super foods that are exceptionally indispensable for mother and child. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts etc. are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids; in layman’s language- good fats. These good fats impart glow to skin, balance moisture and prevent macular degeneration. Nuts also contain high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are usually found in abundance in sea-food. Hence, people who are vegetarians should consume nuts to increase intake of healthy fatty acids. Also, fatty acids are important for absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.
- Greek yogurt contains good bacteria that help in digestion and keep you gut healthy. Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein found in normal yogurt and is also a rich source of calcium. If there is less amount of calcium in your body, all the calcium content in mothers body will be diverted towards the growth of fetus. This will further more increase deficiency of calcium in mothers body. A foundation of healthy skeleton for your baby will be build only if there is proper supplement of calcium.
- Lean meats when consumed in moderation prove to be healthy for the body. Lean meat is a good source of iron and proteins. Iron from animal products is more easily absorbed into the body than iron from plant-based products. Make sure that you don’t coat lean meats with heavy spices and use lots of butter or oil. That will increase fat percentage and instead of being a healthy choice, will become a little bit unhealthy.
- Pregnant women should consult doctor regularly to monitor baby’s development and progress. Also, regular consultation will detect if there is any problem or obstruction in baby’s health. To know more about maternity hospitals and cost of baby delivery in major Indian cities, click here
Hope the above mentioned foods will help to keep mummy-to-be and child healthy.