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Pregnancy is one of the most important phases in a woman’s life and it is at this time, that proper maintenance of health is of utmost importance; not only for the mother but also for the health of the fetus. What you eat during pregnancy is extremely important and plays a major role in determining you as well as your baby’s health.
A count of 300 extra calories per day is needed, particularly at the latter stages of the pregnancy when the baby grows at a rapid rate; the calories should be particularly derived from nutritious food items. This helps in contributing to the baby’s development and growth. The main source of nourishment for the baby comes from what you eat and drink. Hence, here are some easy tips that women can easily incorporate in their diet plan during pregnancy:
- Prenatal vitamins with folic acid and iron: Iron helps purify your blood and folic acid helps in preventing defects during birth. Hence, daily consumption of these nutrients is extremely important.
- Food rich in complex carbohydrates: Food items such as whole wheat atta, multi grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables which are high in carbohydrates are required for the daily production of energy and hence, should be consumed in an adequate amount.
- Decaffeinated tea or coffee: Decaffeinated tea or coffee should be given as much preference as possible. Intake of soda should be limited and substituted with increased amounts of water. Restrict or if possible, abstain from alcohol completely during this phase.
- Shellfish and fish: Shellfish and fish such as swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel, that have high levels of mercury, should be avoided, as mercury levels have been found to interfere with the development of brain of the unborn baby. Some easily available and common fish with lower levels of mercury include shrimp, salmon and catfish.
- Boost immune system: The immune system (suppressed during pregnancy) can be boosted by having two spoons of sunflower seed butter containing vitamin E. This helps in building the red blood cells of the fetus.
- Control Cholesterol: Since cholesterol levels soar during pregnancy as well as breastfeeding, sprinkling ground flaxseeds on cereals and salads can help in controlling the levels of cholesterol, thus keeping various heart diseases at bay.
- Calcium: Calcium is needed during pregnancy for easing the muscle contractions as well as proper functioning of the nerves. Adequate levels of calcium are found in milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines and salmon.
Minimise morning sickness:
Morning sickness is most common in the early stages of pregnancy but sadly it’s not always limited to the morning! Help minimise the effects by:
- Eating little and often, basing meals and snacks on starchy foods like whole wheat atta, multi grain bread, brown rice, porridge, plain biscuits, crisp-breads, oatcakes, pasta, rice or potatoes.
- Minimising fatty foods which are harder to digest.
- Choosing quick and easy recipes which need little preparation.
- Keeping a couple of plain biscuits beside your bed – it can help to nibble on one before you get up.
If you want to lose weight, you should know that abstaining from certain foods will help you lose weight faster. Although, sometimes you can indulge in certain food items, but most of the time you strictly need to avoid. Avoiding these will enable you to fend off hunger and food cravings, thereby supporting your weight loss program.
Here are the primary food items which you should avoid:
- All snacks containing only carbohydrates: When you consume bread, rice, cakes, dry cereal or crackers alone, your body converts the carbohydrates into simple sugars, sending them into your bloodstream directly. Because of this, your body produces excess insulin. This results in low blood sugar. You are likely to get inclined towards eating sugary food items without any nutritional value.
- Frozen meals: For making fresh ingredients last longer in your refrigerator, many food manufacturers add sodium to frozen meals, which serves as a natural preservative. Sodium makes your body retain water, and bloats you up in return. This hampers your efforts for weight loss. When calories worth a whole meal are squeezed into a tiny box, with each bite you take, you will consume a lot of calories.
- High fiber snacks: Fiber is important for the body as it keeps the digestive system functioning smoothly, keeping you feel full even if you are avoiding calories. However, around 25 grams of fiber, which is worth one day’s requirement in one snack bar, is harmful for your weight loss target. Fiber intake should be consistent throughout the day for improving your digestive system, and for not causing an upset stomach.
- Juice: When you drink juice, you consume all the calories from the fruits without the natural fruit fibers, which are supposed to fill you up. Even 100% fruit juices are empty calories, which lead to high blood sugar. Fructose, the natural fruit sugar, which makes fruit juices taste sweet, tricks the body into gaining weight as the body’s ability to recognize when it is full gets blunted. This may make you eat more and the risk of developing diabetes and insulin resistance becomes more likely.
- Artificially sweetened drinks: You should stop having soda and all sweet drinks, which contain zero calories. Mind of some people is wired in such a way that artificial sweeteners enhance their food craving.
Apart from these, you must also avoid alcohol strictly, if you want to lose weight. Alcohol does not support weight loss as it contains empty calories. These do not make you feel full, and do not have any nutritional value. Your judgement regarding your weight loss goals also gets impaired because of alcohol. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!