What to Eat and What to Avoid When You’re Pregnant
Pregnancy causes a number of changes to the human body. Most of you will have heard the saying about a pregnant mother having to ‘eat for two’ – while that’s accurate in the sense that a pregnant woman’s diet will need to provide sufficient nutrients for herself as well as her unborn child, that still doesn’t cover everything you need to know. Here are some more details on the type of food you should be trying to eat and the food that you’d be better off avoiding when you’re pregnant.
First up, here’s what you should be eating:
Fruits and vegetables
This is extremely important for that balanced and nutritious diet we mentioned earlier. The ideal amount to consume is five portions of fruit and/or vegetables per day. The good news is that you can consume these portions any way you like, whether it’s in the form of juice, fresh produce, canned products, etc. Fresh is obviously best, as it conveys the most vitamins intact to you, and research has shown that eating consistently delivers better results than drinking juice.
Carbs and proteins
Starchy foods that are rich in carbohydrates are recommended for pregnant women. Examples of these are bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Also try to ensure that you’re getting a consistent amount of protein in your diet, that consists of all the essential amino acids necessary to keep you healthy.
During pregnancy, women are at a higher risk of issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Incorporating wholegrain foods into your diet, such as wholegrain pasta or bread and pulses, ensure that you’re receiving large quantities of fiber; and fiber is the key to effectively minimising that risk.
A healthy daily intake of minerals is essential to fortifying your body for the rigours of pregnancy. Calcium-rich foods such as milk, yoghurt, broccoli and okra are highly recommended. Zinc is also a vital mineral for expecting mothers, as it plays a significant role in the growth and development of the baby.
Iron is probably the most important mineral for pregnant women. Not only does iron increase your resistance to stress and disease, but it also carries oxygen through the body in red blood cells and ensures that all your muscles and organs are sufficiently oxygenated. Pregnancy causes your body to absorb iron more efficiently; thus, you need to increase your consumption of iron to make sure that you and your baby are both receiving adequate amounts. If you’re not receiving an adequate amount of iron through your diet, then you will become anemic – a condition that affects approximately 60% of pregnant women globally, according to a study, and one that could cause significant problems during childbirth and beyond.
Although this may not be applicable for vegetarians and those on similiar diets, research has discovered that regular consumption of seafood is effective at combating anxiety and anxiety-related disorders in pregnant mothers.
And here’s a couple of things you should steer clear of:
Turns that that whole ‘eating for two’ thing isn’t entirely accurate – although you do need to increase your nutrient intake, recklessly consuming more isn’t the way to go about it. It’s the same principle as if you weren’t pregnant – you want a balanced and nutritious diet, you’ll just be having larger quantities than you might have otherwise. Despite the occasional craving you might have, avoid indulging yourself – it’s easy to put on extra weight when you’re pregnant, and excessive gaining of weight can undermine your health as well as that of your child.
High-fat diets can cause significant problems for your unborn child, including (but not limited to) increasing their risk of diabetes later in life. This is partially caused because the flow of blood from you to your child is reduced. Try to ensure that fats constitute less than 20-30% of your daily calorie intake while you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience; and, with the help of these tips, you’ll be able to ensure that your diet helps you make it so!