When you are expecting, you are eating not only to nourish your body, but also to nourish the foetus growing within you. This has led to the common saying that when pregnancy, ‘eat for two’. However, more than the quantity you eat, it is important for you to make the right choices when it comes to what you are eating. Here are a few foods you should include in your diet to have a healthy pregnancy.
- Fruit and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals essential for your baby’s growth and development and to give you the energy you need. They also add fibre to your food and help prevent constipation thereby helping the digestive system function smoothly. To get the most benefits from fruits and vegetables, try eating them raw as much as possible.
- Starchy foods: Cereals and grains are essential carbohydrates that are needed when pregnant. To avoid excessive calorie intake, stay away from processed carbohydrates and instead pick whole grains, potatoes, unpolished rice, maize, millets etc to be part of your diet.
- Protein: Protein helps build muscle tissue and promotes development in the growing baby. It also helps with the development of the baby’s brain. Meat, fish, eggs, legumes, pulses and nuts are rich sources of proteins that should be essential parts of your diet. However, avoid excessive protein as it can lead to indigestion. Pick lean meats without skin and ensure that they are cooked properly before eating them. Avoid raw preparations such as sushi and raw oysters when pregnant.
- Dairy: To build strong bones your baby needs plenty of calcium. Calcium also helps regulate the use of fluids in your body. For this, it is essential that you have plenty of milk and milk products when pregnant. Wherever possible, choose fat-free variants to avoid excessive calorie intake.
- Lentils and nuts: Dried beans, lentils and nuts are rich sources of folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent congenital defects like spinal bifida etc that can affect the development of the baby’s spinal cord and brain. The liver is also a rich source of folic acid.
Not everything is good for you. Some things like saturate fats and foods that are high in sugar and salt content are best avoided when pregnant. These foods do not contribute much to your health but lead to weight gain, water retention (swelling of feet) and increased blood pressure especially during last trimester. You should also try and limit your caffeine intake when pregnant.