Top 5 Foods for Pregnancy
Good nutrition is important for all stages in our lives. However, perhaps the most important time in which to have a healthy diet is during pregnancy where strong demands are put on a woman’s body to nourish an extra life. Whilst there’s no one ‘superfood’ that can meet all these demands, I’ve rounded up the Top 5 Foods for Pregnancy.
Green leafy veg, such as spinach and kale, are nutrient-dense foods that should feature in any pregnant woman’s diet. They’re full of iron, vitamin C and fibre; all of which are essential to a healthy pregnancy. Fibre contributes to a healthy digestive system, vitamin C is important for boosting the immune system, and iron is essential for combating tiredness.
Folate is another nutrient that’s absolutely essential for a healthy pregnancy; maternal deficiency can result in neutral tube defects in the developing foetus. Usually women are recommended to consume 200 micrograms daily, but this figure doubles for those who are, or are planning to become, pregnant. Spinach and other green leafy veg are packed with folate, but marmite and other yeast-based foods are also great sources.
Choline is another important nutrient for reducing the risk of neural tube defects. Pregnant women should therefore stock up on eggs; the yolk is packed full of choline. However, these eggs should be cooked before consuming; pregnancy weakens a woman’s immune system and so she’s at a higher risk of contracting Salmonella from raw eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to foetal brain development, particularly DHA. Since salmon and other oily fish are the only natural sources of this ‘essential’ omega-3, try to consume 1-2 portions each week. If you don’t eat fish, be sure to up your omega-3 intake through walnuts, flax and chia seeds, or take an omega-3 supplement that’s high in DHA.
Fermented foods such as kefir are great for helping keep our digestive system healthy. A healthy tum during pregnancy equals a healthy immune system and reduced risk of obesity for both mum and baby. Since kefir is a fermented dairy product, it’s also high in fat-soluble vitamins, protein and calcium; important in helping maintain maternal muscle mass and bone density, and in the growth of healthy tissue and bones in the baby.
Having a healthy pregnancy means giving your baby the best start in life. Diet has a huge role to play; what a woman eats will directly affect her unborn child. For more info, and for a smoothie recipe that includes some of my Top 5 Foods for Pregnancy, check out the following video by Dr Axe:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_VY5gHMm08. However, I’d suggest modifying it slightly by taking out the raw egg and serving it poached on a slice of wholemeal toast with smoked salmon for a wholesome (and less risky!) breakfast.