Busting some myths about pregnancy diet
Myth 1: In pregnancy, you need to eat for two, that for yourself and your baby.
Fact: In pregnancy, you need to keep a watch on the nutrients you take and not the quantity of food. In the first trimester, no extra meal is needed but you need to focus on healthy ingredients like legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts, plant proteins, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, etc.
In the second and third trimester, you need to get additional nutrition as your baby is growing and developing inside. Look for seasonal food items rather than ghee and sugar and work on the portion you are having.
Myth 2: Skipping meals during pregnancy help in working over digestive issues and treat symptoms like indigestion, bloating, and nausea.
Fact: Skipping meals in pregnancy would make the expecting mother feel energy less and weak. If you are suffering from nausea, talk with the doctor for possible ways to treat it. Taking a small portion of ice cream, jam toast, fresh lemon water, etc. might help for reducing nausea.
Control bloating by eating in small portions and gentle walks after meals. As the baby develops inside, having full meals can be difficult to digest, so look for frequent meals for adding to your comfort levels.
Myth 3: Having tea is harmful to the developing baby during pregnancy.
Fact: Tea is among the best sources for boosting antioxidants in the body. Too much consumption of tea can lead to acidity as well as add to the calories as you take sugar to make the tea sweet. So, having 1 or 2 cups of tea in a day is counted to be healthy during pregnancy for satisfying your taste buds.
Myth 4: In pregnancy, you can eat as much sweet as you want to have avoided the nutritional values.
Fact: Having sweet items like ladoos, chocolates, juices, etc. occasionally during pregnancy is ideal and healthy. However, make sure you don’t have too much of such empty calories as they don’t add to the nutrient levels but merely add to the calories which would simply help you gain weight. Make sure your pregnancy diet comprises of healthy and nutritional food of all types.
Myth 5: Suffering from indigestion or having an upset gut during pregnancy is quite normal.
Fact: The digestive system is the largest part of the immune system and when it is healthy, it not only aids in the absorption of various nutrients but also helps in fighting against various infections. During pregnancy, the stress levels increase which affects the digestive system adversely.
So, to deal with indigestion in pregnancy, look for food items that are rich in fiber like whole grains, legumes, whole fruits, fermented food, dahi, etc. for a healthy digestive system.
What to eat and what not to eat in pregnancy!
Pregnant! Make sure your pregnancy diet includes plenty of fruits in your diet. Are you having proper meals for two? Are all these confusing you?
This might sound strange, but as soon as people come to know about your pregnancy, a free list of advice and stories is something you can’t ignore. One of the most mystifying things during pregnancy is what to eat and what to avoid, especially during the first pregnancy. Be it a cup of coffee, some sushi, or even regular diet items, you are sure to think twice before having it. Again, the frequent knock of cravings makes the moment more adversative.
During pregnancy, women need to make sure they are having a proper diet in terms of energy and nutrients rather than the quantity as there is a developing baby who needs sufficient nutrients for proper growth. Again, women also need to prepare the health of their bodies for facing the challenges in the future.
And for all these, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is what they need to look for. The right diet here involves getting the required amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. through a variety of fruits and vegetables.
No doubt, every food item is going to help you and your baby, there are still particular food items that can be poisonous and might harm your toddler.
Are all these adding to your misperception? Don’t worry! Through this article, let’s work on all the food items to be included in your pregnancy diet, that are safe for you and your baby, and the ones you need to ignore throughout the pregnancy.
List of healthy food items for a healthy pregnancy
During pregnancy, your prime focus should remain on food items that are rich in proteins, minerals, vitamins, fiber and fluids, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, etc. Here is a list of healthy food items you need to focus on for a healthy pregnancy and add in your pregnancy diet plan.
1. Dairy products are MUST in a Pregnancy Diet
Dairy products prove to be the best source for meeting the calcium and protein requirements in pregnancy. Dairy items like yogurt, cheese, and milk should list your priorities. Dairy products help with two types of protein, that is, whey protein and casein protein. Both help with a high amount of calcium, Vitamin B, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium.
You can also add Greek yogurt to your meals for getting more calcium which is also beneficial for your digestive system. Ask your doctor if you can feed on parfaits, lassi, yogurt smoothies, etc., especially if you are lactose intolerant for obtaining probiotic yogurt.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a food item that provides your body with beta carotene, which gets converted into Vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A is essential for the development of the baby. Along with Beta carotene, the ingredient also helps with fiber that improves the digestive health, reduces the blood sugar levels, and keeps you full for long hours.
Add sweet potatoes in your morning breakfast and help your body to fight constipation issues that are quite normal during pregnancy.
The list of legumes includes chickpeas, beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, and soybeans. Obtained from plants, legumes are the best sources of calcium, folate, iron, protein, and calcium which is much required during pregnancy. Folate, one of the essential Vitamin B9, is helpful for the development of the fetus, particularly in the first trimester.
According to the doctors, a pregnant woman needs around 600mcg of folate daily, which can be difficult by only depending on the food items. Hence, the doctor might also suggest some supplements. Add some whole-grain toast, hummus, lentil curry, taco salad with black beans, etc. to your diet to obtain magnesium, potassium, and iron through legumes.
Be it slathered form with pesto, grilled in teriyaki, or smoked with a whole wheat bagel, salmon is among the best ingredients during pregnancy. Salmon helps with omega-3 fatty acids that help with various benefits.
Salmon along with other seafood items help in the healthy growth of the eyes and brain of the baby and is also helpful in boosting the gestational length. Salmon is also a natural source to obtain Vitamin D which boosts the immune system and bone health during pregnancy.
5. Broccoli and leafy veggies
With no wonder, broccoli with other dark leafy veggies like spinach and kale help your body with a list of nutrients essential in pregnancy. Broccoli and other leafy vegetables provide the body with benefits like Vitamin K, C, and A, fiber, folate, iron, calcium, and even potassium.
Effectively packed with green benefits, they also help in dealing with constipation which is quite disturbing during pregnancy. So even if you don’t love having green leafy vegetables, add them in salads, green smoothies, etc. as it also reduces the risk of low birth weight.
Eggs are filled with every required nutrient you need in pregnancy which makes it an eventual health food. Having one large egg provides with around 80 calories, fat, high-quality protein, minerals, and various vitamins. Again, eggs are also rich in choline which is much helpful for preventing any abnormalities of the spine and brain of the fetus. It is among the best sources for the development of the brain of the baby during pregnancy. So, look for some delicious egg recipes along with other ingredients to give your baby some good health.
Berried is packed with healthy carbs, fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and water. They are quite a low counting on the glycemic index value and hence, they don’t add to the blood sugar levels. As they are filled with fiber and water, they can be the best snack to have in the morning or evening.
Again, they are nutritious as well as add amazing flavor with limited calories. Some of the berries you can pick up include raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, acai berries, and goji berries. If you hate having them raw, look for some inspiring smoothie recipes or salad recipes to have them in your diet.
8. Proteins and Lean meat
Chicken, pork, and lean meat are the best ingredients to look for when you are looking for high-quality proteins. Pork and beef also provide pregnant women with Vitamin B, choline, and iron. Iron is essential for boosting the red blood cells in hemoglobin, which makes it essential during the third trimester.
Reduced iron levels during the initial stage of pregnancy and mid-pregnancy can lead to anemia which can add to the risk of low birth weight as well as additional complications. For vegetarians, you can look for ingredients like bell peppers, oranges, tomato slices on a turkey burger, mango salad, etc. for obtaining iron and healthy proteins.
Avocadoes are rich in monosaturated fatty acids which make them buttery for giving any dish a creamy texture. They help the pregnant ladies with Vitamins B, fiber, Vitamin K, copper, potassium, Vitamin C, folate, healthy fats, and Vitamin E. All these ingredients help in the growth of tissues, brain, and skin of your baby as well as helps in the prevention of developmental abnormalities of the spine and brain like spina bifida, and neural tube defects.
Potassium obtained from avocadoes helps in dealing with leg cramps, one of the side effects during pregnancy. Add avocadoes in your diet by making smoothies, salads, guacamole, or even in a whole-wheat toast as a healthy supplement to sour cream or mayo.
10. Whole Grains
Whole grains are filled with Vitamins, plant compounds, and fiber. Some whole grains like quinoa and oats also boost protein levels in the body along with magnesium, fiber, and Vitamin B. You can add whole grains to your diet in various forms like brown rice, oats, wheat berries, barley, quinoa, etc.
11. Dried Fruits
To your surprise, a single piece of dried fruit serves you with minerals, calories, vitamins, and fiber which is similar to a glass of fresh juice. Dried fruit adds to your potassium, iron, and folate levels which is helpful in getting relief from constipation.
Dates are rich in plant compounds, iron, potassium, and fiber. Similarly, prunes also add natural laxatives. However, while having dried fruits, make sure you keep a watch on the nutrient levels and go for a small portion of mixed nuts and seeds to make it rich in fiber and protein.
Apart from all these, other ingredients that are beneficial during pregnancy include fish liver oil, raw sprouts, organ meat, egg yolk, oysters, tuna, brazil nuts, dandelion leaves, dried beans, etc. that provide the pregnant woman with various essential nutrients for the baby and a healthy pregnancy period.
List of food items to ignore during pregnancy
Just as there are food items that are must during pregnancy, there are certain ingredients that need to be ignored for the health of your fetus as well as other complications that might disturb your healthy pregnancy. Here is the list of items to ignore in pregnancy.
1. Undercooked and Raw Meat Should not be a part of Pregnancy Diet
This definitely doesn’t mean you have to get converted as a vegetarian during pregnancy. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind for good health. Make sure you cook all poultry and meat properly so that there is no blood or pink trace left on the meat while eating.
The pork, poultry, minced meat, burgers, and even sausages you have should be steaming hot. Avoid raw meat and even undercooked meat as this can lead to some infection damaging your baby’s health. Make sure the utensils you use along with the surface is properly cleaned while preparing meat to avoid dangerous bugs like campylobacter, E. coli, and salmonella from poisoning the food.
No doubt, cheese adds to the deliciousness of various dishes, there are still some cheese types that need to be avoided during pregnancy. While ordering or preparing your food, avoid feta, Camembert, Brie, queso fresco, blue cheese, panela, queso Blanco and other soft cheese types. All these cheese types are made from unpasteurized milk which can be harmful during pregnancy. As the milk is unpasteurized, the cheese might contain bacteria like E. coli or listeria that can trouble the health of your baby.
Confused how can fish be both good and bad? Fishes surely add to the protein levels required in pregnancy, yet there are some fishes that have a negative impact on the health of the baby as they are high in mercury levels which make them toxic.
During pregnancy, avoid fishes like marlin, tuna, king mackerel, swordfish, orange roughy, and shark. Another reason to avoid fish in such a period is that if they are left undercooked or raw, or the fish is refrigerated, unpasteurized, pickled, smoked, or shellfish, it contains harmful parasites and bacteria. So, if you are planning to have some fish, make sure to work on all the precautions.
4. Undercooked or Raw Eggs
Similar to meat and fish, even eggs can be harmful to you and your baby during pregnancy as they might include Salmonella in high quantity. The infection caused due to Salmonella might fade away in some days, it can still be harmful to the immune system of both the expecting mother and baby.
So, say no to unpasteurized eggs and cook them properly to make them healthy. Some egg dishes to avoid include poached eggs, fried eggs, lightly scrambled eggs, salads with egg dressings, Tiramisu, Eggnog, cake batter, Artisanal, homemade ice cream, cookie dough, etc.
Meanwhile here are important tips for how to take care of breasts during pregnancy?
This is one of the foremost things to avoid as soon as you come to know about your pregnancy. Not only during pregnancy, but women should also start avoiding alcohol once they start planning for a baby, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
Alcohol can be harmful to not only the unborn baby but the mother and the newly born baby too. It is highly recommended to say no to even the beverages containing alcohol as they can be too toxic for the health of the mother and baby.
Caffeine at a high level or quantity can add to the chances of miscarriage, birth difficulties, and low birth weight. Caffeine is widely found in various regular drinks like chocolate, tea and coffee along with various energy drinks and soft drinks. There are many cold and flu remedies that are high in caffeine content.
Hence, it is advisable to talk to the doctor for a safe quantity of caffeine through regular drinks like coffee and tea as well as the remedies during flu and cold. Replacing caffeine drinks with normal water, fruit juice, and decaffeinated coffee and tea is also ideal. Try to avoid these elements from your pregnancy diet as much as possible.
Sushi is also in the list of items that should be avoided during pregnancy. Along with sushi, women should also avoid chilled seafood like sashimi, raw oysters, ready to eat smoked seafood, ready to eat prawns, etc. as they might be contaminated with listeria.
If you are still looking to have sushi, go for vegetarian and completely cooked items to avoid any health risk.
8. Raw sprouts
Sprouts are surely nutritious even during pregnancy, but they surely need to be prepared in a healthy way of making it safe for the baby and the pregnant woman. Raw sprouts like mung bean, radish, clover, alfalfa, etc. can be contaminated due to Salmonella. Hence it is better to remove these raw ingredients from your pregnancy diet.
The humid environment in which the sprouts grow is also favorable for various bacteria which is impossible to remove. Hence, rather than having raw sprouts, look for well-cooked sprouts that are safe for the expecting mother and the unborn baby.
9. Processed junk food
Pregnancy is all about eating nutritious foods. And this means one should start avoiding processed junk food items that can be dangerous for the developing fetus and the mother. During pregnancy, women should look for nutrients like iron, choline, folate, and protein, and processed junk food is quite low in terms of nutrients.
They merely add to your fat, sugar and calorie levels which would help you merely gain additional weight during pregnancy. They can also add to the chances of suffering from gestational diabetes along with other pregnancy complications.
Apart from all these, other ingredients to avoid during pregnancy include unpasteurized milk, unwashed vegetables, and fruits, organ meat, pate, chips, cookies, biscuits, cakes, deli meats, unripe papaya, liver products, peanuts, pre-packed salads, etc.
To sum up the content, in pregnancy, a fetus is dependent on the expecting mother for obtaining all the nutrients that would boost healthy growth and development inside. Hence, pregnancy diet plays a vital role in growth and development of your baby. It is advisable to look for freshly prepared items along with healthy veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins to support the pregnancy period. Make sure to deny any food items or drinks that can be unhealthy.
If you are still confused with what to include in your diet, it is advisable to talk to your doctor as well as plan necessary supplements with him for a well-nourished pregnancy and a healthy baby.