As a new mom, you know how important it is to stay healthy during pregnancy. The decisions and choices made now have a literal and immediate effect on the little one in your womb. But sometimes, it can be difficult knowing what’s the right or wrong thing to do. Everyone seems to have different opinions, and with the holiday season coming up, choosing something as simple as what to eat can suddenly become an enormous task.
First, you should always check with your doctor on what he or she recommends is best during every stage of your pregnancy. Secondly, if you’re concerned about food, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a quick list of the top ten recommended power foods to eat while pregnant—to give you energy and care for your baby.
Eggs are a valuable source of protein for both you and your baby. Protein is made up of amino acids, which also function as the building blocks of the cells in your body, which help you and the little one feel healthier. Eggs also contain various vitamins and minerals, including choline. Choline makes sure your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly in the womb, and helps prevent neural tube defects.
2. Greek Yogurt
While regular yogurt is great for you as well during pregnancy, greek yogurt usually has twice the amount of protein. It also serves as a useful source of probiotics and calcium. Calcium is an extremely valuable component of your diet during pregnancy, because it keeps your bones strong and ensures the growth of a healthy skeleton for your baby.
While beans might not be the most lavish of foods, they are extremely nutritional. Beans serve as a great source of protein, iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and essential fatty acids. Additionally, beans are also extremely high in fiber, which can help prevent and alleviate other discomforts during your pregnancy, such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
4. Whole Grains
Different from refined grains, whole grains are loaded with fiber, vitamins and plant compounds. They also help to meet the increased calorie requirements you might find that come along with pregnancy. Whole grains like oats and quinoa are high in nutrients, including B-vitamins, fiber and magnesium. All of these power ingredients are extremely helpful when trying to stay healthy during pregnancy.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Similar to carrots, sweet potatoes get their unique orange color from their carotenoids—plant pigments which are converted into vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is essential to the growth and differentiation of many of our cells and tissues, and is very important for healthy fetal development. Even more so, sweet potatoes also contain fiber, vitamin C and folic acid.
If you’re looking for a snack or something to include in your salad during pregnancy, try a handful of walnuts. These delicious little power punchers are a rich source of plant-based omega-3s. They also include protein and fiber, which help you feel better and help your little one in his or her development.
7. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard and kale contain many of the nutrients that you need during pregnancy. They’re packed with vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants that benefit the immune system and help with digestion. Eating these leafy greens during pregnancy has even been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight.
If you’re not a fan of fish, you’re about to be. Salmon is extremely rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help with your baby’s development of the brain and eyes. However, due to the mercury and other contaminants sometimes found in fatty fish, pregnant women are often advised to limit their seafood intake to 8 to 12 ounces per week. Salmon is a great low-mercury option for pregnant women because of its omega-3 fatty acids and high source of vitamin D.
9. Lean Meats
Of course, meat is often an excellent source of protein. Still, make sure the meats you eat while pregnant are lean beef, pork and chicken, with 95 to 98 percent fat free. Meats like these are also rich in iron, choline and other B-vitamins. Iron especially serves as an important mineral for delivering oxygen to cells throughout the body, and is vital to pregnant women.
Finally, berries! Berries are a powerful superfood jampacked with water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber and plant compounds. Vitamin C is essential during pregnancy because it helps your body absorb iron and supports your immune system. Berries are also an excellent source of fiber, providing a lot of delicious flavor and nutrition with few calories.
This holiday season, feel healthy and support your little one by trying some of these top 10 power foods for pregnancy. Of course, follow them up with a delicious glass of your favorite beverage—water, juice or non-alcoholic wine.
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