10 Expert recommemded foods to eat for a healthy pregnancy

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Pregnancy can be a healthy journey for some mummies while for some, it can be a little unhealthy. It is very important to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy.

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A poor diet may hinder the growth of the fetus and the health of the mother. The body needs increased calorie intake and amount of nutrients during pregnancy since the body now serves the baby and the mother. Knowing what to eat is thus essential. Here are 10 physician recommended foods to eat for a healthy pregnancy:

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1. Eggs

Eggs are know to be one of the best super-food. They are known to even be the healthiest food. They are rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamins B- vitamins selinium, zinc. They are also rich in a nutrient called choline which is very essential for pregnancy as it is needed for brain development of the fetus.

Deficiency of choline during pregnancy can cause neural tube defect. This can lower brain function causing failure to thrive. One egg is estimated to contain more than 110mg of choline and the recommended dietary intake for pregnant women is 450mg.

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2. Whole grains

They are very high in fiber and vitamins. High fiber intake is essential in pregnancy, it adds to the bulk of stool and reduces risk of constipation.
They also help pregnant women to reach their recommended calorie intake. Also, a lot of pregnant women are deficient of magnesium and the B- vitamins which are found in whole grains.

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3.vegetables

Vegetabes like broccoli, spinach, kale
Are very high in fiber, iron, vitamins c, vitamin k and vitamin A
Iron and folate are known to be very essential for pregnancy. According to the world health organisation, about 50% of women are iron deficient.These vegetables also contain anti-oxidants which helps in immunity. The fiber in them eases digestion and adds to the bulk of stool thereby preventing constipation. Vegetables like carrots and avocados also give pregnant women a lot of nutrients. Carrots are excellent sources of beta-carotene which helps in growth and cell-differentiation in the fetus. Avocados are high in mono-unsaturated fatty-acids, potassium and folate.

Folate helps in the prevention of neural tube defects in the fetus while potassium helps in relief of leg cramps in pregnant women. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids are healthy fats which help in building the skin and brain of the fetus.

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4. Diary products

Diary products are high in calcium which is needed in pregnant women. In pregnancy, the body needs more calcium and protein. Diary products are the most recommended sources of calcium and protein. They contain high quality protein, high amounts of calcium, B-vitamins, zinc, phosphorous and magnesium. Greek yogurt contains more calcium than other diary products and some Greek yogurt contain probiotic bacteria. Probiotics can reduce the risk of pregnancy complications like: gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

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5. Tubers

Tubers like sweet potatoes are excellent sources of beta-carotene which is essential for the growth and differentiation of cells in the body. Sweet potatoes prevent blood sugar spikes thereby preventing gestational diabetes. They are very high in fiber which helps in digestion and in preventing constipation. Yams help pregnant women increase their calorie intake.They are rich in fiber. They also help prevent constipation. They can also be a good source of magnesium.

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6. Legumes

Legumes are: chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils, peanuts and groundnuts.
They are high in folate and fibre. Pregnant women require an increased an amount of folate. Folate is important in the growth and development of the fetus. Folate deficiency can cause neural tube defects and low birth weight. Also, their high fiber content helps in constipation during pregnancy. Legumes can also be a good source of protein.

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7. Lean meat

These are recommended sources of protein. Beef and chicken are good sources of choline and iron. Iron is very important in pregnancy. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia which can cause low birth weight and premature delivery. Fatty fish like salmon are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential during pregnancy especially DHA and EPA (types of omega-3 fatty acids). DHA and EPA help in brain and eyes development in fetus. DHA and EPA are found in seafood. Though, seafood can have contaminants like mecury, pregnant women are thereby recommended to reduce their fish intake. Also, Salmon is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, which is important for bone growth and function.

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8. Fruits

Citrus fruits and berries are high in vitamin C, fibre and anti-oxidants. Vitamin-C helps the body increase iron absorption thereby preventing anemia.

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Berries have a low glycemic index value which prevents spike in blood sugar thereby preventing diabetes.

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9. Fish oil

This is usually cod liver oil gotten from the liver of cod fish.
It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA which help in fetal development of the eyes and brain. It can be an alternative to fatty fish (for the pregnant women avoiding seafood). It is also high in vitamin-D which prevents complications like pre-eclampsia. A single serving of cod-liver oil is enough. More than one serving a day can increase the levels of vitamin A above the RDI which may cause toxicity. Omega-3 may also have blood thinning effects. It is most commonly available in tablets or supplements.

Read :7 Things To Know About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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10. Water

Hydration is very important in pregnancy. Hydration helps the kidney to function properly and excrete toxins from the body. The blood volume increases in pregnancy hence, the need of water to meet up to the body’s demands. Dehydration can cause anxiety, headaches and tiredness. Hydration reduces risk of constipation and some diseases that are common in pregnancy like urinary tract infections.

A healthy diet is important in pregnancy. It is important for both mother and baby. Weight gain is normal in pregnancy but it is important to gain weight the healthy way. Obesity in pregnancy may increase the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
Choosing nutrient dense healthy foods is a step in maintaining good health in pregnancy. However, you can supplement with life-changing supplements. You can get all your pregnancy nutrient requirement in a single tablet.

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