5 Foods Every Pregnant Woman Should Eat
1. Sprouted GrainsThe sprouting process of grains increases the amount and bio-availability of its vitamins and minerals, which makes sprouted grains a nutrition powerhouse for pregnant women. Sprouted grains also contain B-vitamins and essential trace minerals such as selenium, zinc, and magnesium. A growing fetus needs various B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate for healthy development. Folate, in particular, significantly reduces a child's risk of developing spina bifida. Sprouted grains are able to give your body the energy it needs to help build the placenta and other vital tissues in your body. This muffin recipe is a great breakfast for pregnant women and provides not only sprouted grains but fruits and vegetables as well. Additionally, Anna Kaiser, a celebrity trainer, recommends eating pickles wrapped with sprouted grain bread. Here are some more sprouted grain recipe that we know you'll love:
- Dandelion Swiss Cheese Spelt Scones
- Spelt Flour Pancakes with Strawberry Syrup
- Sprouted Spelt Banana Bread
- No Knead Dutch Oven Spelt Bread
- Apple Sponge Cake with Spelt Flour
- Zucchini, Blueberry, Banana Bread
2. KaleWhen it comes to nutrient-dense vegetables, kale arrives to mind immediately. Nature’s own mix of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and bioactive components, the health benefits of kale for the body are long-lasting. With an extremely low count of calories, kale provides vitamin C, vitamin A from beta-carotene, vitamin K1 and large amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium and copper (source). The all-acclaimed spinach is given a run for its money by kale. Its bioactive compounds, such as Isothiocyanates and Indole-3-Carbinol, have been shown to even counter cancer (source).
3. Oolong TeaStress is not good for anyone, but it can be especially harmful to pregnant women. Increased levels of stress that continue throughout pregnancy may increase a woman's chance of having a premature baby or a baby with a low birthweight. Babies who are born before they are fully developed are at an increased risk for health problems. Drinking oolong tea for stress can help increase a woman's chances of carrying a baby to term. Oolong tea was able to decrease stress levels in mice by almost 20% compared to those who did not ingest this ingredient. The natural polyphenols that are present in the oolong tea were said to be the main force in its ability to reduce stress. Also, the leaves of this tea contain L-theanine, which is an amino acid that blocks the L-glutamic acid to the brain's glutamate receptors. When L-glutamic acid reaches the glutamate receptors in the brain, it causes increased activity in the cortical neurons, leading to increased neural stress responses. When this excitation doesn’t occur, stress decreases and you are able to keep a more peaceful mind.
4. Sweet PotatoesSweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A once it is consumed. This is an essential vitamin for the proper growth and development of a fetus and for the differentiation of their cells and tissues. While pregnant, women are typically advised to increase their intake of vitamin A by up to 40%, however, pregnant women are also cautioned to avoid high amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A because they can cause toxicity if too much is consumed. Because of this, eating foods rich in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes, is an ideal and safe way for women to get the vitamin A that they need. To get the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, pregnant women only need to consume about 100–150 grams of cooked sweet potatoes each day. Sweet potatoes are also full of fiber, which can help increase satiety, improve digestion, and reduce spikes in blood sugar spikes.
5. Sustainable SeafoodBefore indulging in seafood, it is important to note that 70% of the world’s fisheries have already been exploited extensively. Through their choice for sustainable seafood, customers can lead to a more environmentally-friendly approach to fishing. Sustainable fisheries produce plentiful species that can reproduce faster, maintaining their population level. For that reason, closed containment farmed salmon is a great way of consuming the best seafood in a sustainable manner. Salmon is a great source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are very important during pregnancy; however, most people are not getting the amount of omega-3 that they need from their diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to healthy fetal growth, especially DHA and EPA, which are the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These helps to build the eyes and brain of the baby. Seafood, and especially salmon, is rich in DHA and EPA. Due to the fact that women are advised against eating seafood during pregnancy due to its mercury content, they often stop eating salmon altogether. This greatly limits their intake of this essential ingredient. However, studies show that pregnant women who consume salmon 2–3 times per week are able to get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids and increase their levels of the critical amino acids, EPA and DHA. Salmon also contains vitamin D, which is very difficult to find in natural sources. Vitamin D is also an important ingredient for growing babies, so this is an added bonus to including salmon in your diet if you are pregnant. When looking to enjoy salmon, it is important to look for farmed salmon raised with closed containment technology, and not fished or farmed salmon raised in open net pens. The latter are raised in an unsafe environment and can spread disease and pollution even to the wild salmon, further endangering the ecosystem of the oceans. Prepared in a wide variety of ways, salmon is one of the best foods one can consume. Doing so responsibly, however, is something that everyone should do.
Final thoughtsWhile there are certainly foods that pregnant women should avoid during this important time in their lives, there are also some foods that are important to keep on their radar to eat every week. These foods will help protect the health of the baby and the mother during pregnancy.
Guest Post written by Mike Jones, Writer.