10 Pregnancy Superfoods You Should Be Eating
Food has a central role to play in a healthy pregnancy. Getting the right fuel and making the best decisions can be daunting with so much choice, the additional cravings, and the challenges of listening to a changing body. Starting in your second trimester, some doctors recommend consuming an additional 300 calories daily. Make the extra calories count and boost your pregnancy by adding these baby building nutrients to your diet.
Dried Apricots are a healthy snack that are easy to incorporate in your diet. Apricots contain folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Only one handful gives you 10% of your daily iron requirement.
Eggs. The gold-standard of protein, eggs contain amino acid, iron, protein, vitamin B12 and over a dozen vitamins and minerals. Yolk contains essential nutrients that play a crucial role in the development of your baby’s brain. Look out for the Omega-3 label and be sure to eat them well cooked. Enjoy eggs in omelettes, salads, sandwiches, as a snack, hardboiled or scrambled.
Figs – dried or fresh have more fibre than the typical fruit or vegetable, more potassium and are particularly high in calcium, iron and zinc. They contain an enzyme which aids in digestion. This super fruit also helps to mitigate constipation, curb cravings (are highly alkaline) and help with morning sickness (vitamin B6). Dried figs contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Finally, a chemical found in figs has been used to treat skin pigmentation problems and may be beneficial in preventing melasma.
Bananas are rich in potassium and good for reducing fluid retention. They are energy boosting, a great source of fibre, vitamin C and vitamin B6 which helps with morning sickness – win.
Berries are a classic superfood packed with carbs, vitamin C, potassium, folate and finer. Berries work overtime as a great dessert, a topper, in yogurt, pancakes, cereals, salad or on their own. They also get to work in the right combo – try strawberries after an iron rich meal to boost iron absorption.
Avocado is nutrient dense and packed with lots of good stuff – fibre, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and healthy mono-unsaturated fats (aka Good fats). They don’t just pack a powerful punch (especially against morning sickness), they also help your baby’s brain and tissue growth. What’s more – they’re delicious and creamy. Add them to salads, as a side, or with your eggs.
Chickpeas are another good source of protein – also rich in calcium, magnesium and folic acid. Hoummous is a delicious snack that goes a long with savoury cravings. It’s easy to make with olive oil, lemon and garlic. It’s also a great dip and goes well with crunchy veg, making it easy to incorporate peppers, beans, carrots and celery into your daily veggie dose.
Seeds and nuts are a better replacement for processed chips. Try sunflower seeds which are an instant source of omega fatty acids, magnesium, vitamins A,B,D, E and K – they also help preserve nutrients. Chia seeds are also a great source of fibre and omega fats – (that also help to ward of pregnancy depression). The seeds also inhibit the speed in which sugar is absorbed and are great sprinkled on yogurt, salads and cereals. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews all have healthy fats, protein and fibre.
Broccoli and other greens. Broccoli is a great source of calcium, vitamin C, folate and B6. It’s an easy protein side, great in stir fries or just cooked with a little olive oil. Spinach provides vitamins C and E, which may help reduce the risk of eclampsia and contain high levels of folate, calcium, and iron. It’s also a great salad base and delicious when served with fruit, nuts and balsamic vinegar.
Oily Fish. You already know the benefits of chicken, lean meats and protein. Oily fish is another source of protein, rich in omega-3 (tuna, trout, salmon, sardines) that is great for the baby’s brain development – some research suggests it even makes for smarter babies. What’s more – it’s great for your overall physical and mental health too (it’s even believed to lower anxiety when pregnant). Just be sure not to exceed your recommended weekly amount of fish to limit mercury exposure.