Good nutrition is important for all stages in our lives. However, perhaps the most important time for women to have a healthy diet is during pregnancy where strong demands are put on a her body to nourish an extra human life. Whilst there’s no one ‘superfood’ that can meet all these demands, we’ve rounded up 5 Top Foods To Eat When Pregnant!
Green leafy veg, such as spinach and kale, are nutrient-dense foods that should feature in any pregnant woman’s diet. They’re full of iron, vitamin C and fibre; all of which are essential to a healthy pregnancy. Fibre contributes to optimal digestive functioning, vitamin C is important for boosting a woman’s immune system, and iron is essential for combating tiredness and fatigue.
Folate is another nutrient that’s absolutely essential for a healthy pregnancy; maternal deficiency can result in neural tube defects in the developing foetus. Usually women are recommended to consume 200 micrograms daily, but this figure doubles for those who are, or who are planning to become, pregnant. Spinach and other green leafy veg are packed with folate, but marmite and other yeast-based foods are also great sources.
Choline is another important nutrient for reducing the risk of neural tube defects. Pregnant women should therefore stock up on eggs; the yolk is packed full of choline. However, these eggs should be cooked before consuming. Pregnancy weakens a woman’s immune system defence, so she’s at a higher risk of contracting Salmonella from raw eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to foetal brain development, particularly DHA. Since salmon and other oily fish are the only natural sources of this ‘essential’ omega-3, try to consume 1-2 portions each week. If you don’t eat fish, be sure to up your omega-3 intake through walnuts, flax and chia seeds, or take an omega-3 supplement that’s high in DHA.
Fermented foods such as kefir are great for helping keep your digestive system healthy. A healthy tummy during pregnancy equals a healthy immune system and reduced risk of obesity for both mother and baby. Since kefir is a fermented dairy product, it’s also high in fat-soluble vitamins, protein and calcium which is important in helping maintain maternal muscle mass and bone density as well as in the growth of healthy tissue and bones in the growing baby.
Having a healthy pregnancy means giving your baby the best start in life. Diet has a huge role to play, what a woman eats will directly affect her unborn child. Rather than consuming raw eggs we’d suggest poaching them and serving on a slice of wholemeal toast with smoked salmon for a wholesome (and less risky!) breakfast. Got any other healthy eating tips for pregnant mothers? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Feel free to check out our other healthy eating/diet articles to help Keep YOUR Fit On!)