In this post, I’m going to discuss about top 6 foods for expecting mothers that are enriched with protein and magnesium contents essential for healthy mother and baby. While eating healthy food is essential for leading a healthy life, it becomes much more necessary when you are pregnant.
Nutrition-rich diet is essential for growth of the fetus, which ultimately helps in delivering a healthy and happy baby. On the other hand, eating for two people can be difficult, especially when you’re bombarded with an array of conflicting information on what to eat and what to avoid.
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This is the reason; I offer you top 6 foods for expecting mothers from the several foods available in the grocery aisles for pregnant women. It’s not necessary to always spend money for getting the best items from the market. Even some of the essential food items for pregnant women are available at low prices in the market all year long. Moreover, they are easy to prepare, keeping you from the stress of the cooking.
1. Include Whole grains in your Pregnancy Diet
Whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, oats, rice and corn are enriched with nutrients such as iron, selenium and magnesium. Apart from being a good source of magnesium, these grains are also packed with Vitamin B including B1, B2, niacin and folic acid. And all these are essential for the growth of the baby, as they supply energy and help build the placenta.
The whole grains are also rich in fiber. While the recommended amount of fiber for expecting moms is 28 grams per day; grains in the form of whole wheat bread or brown rice can fulfill their requirements. Even these grains help prevent hemorrhoids and constipation.
Did you know?
Whole grain is divided into 3 parts and these parts include the following –
- Bran – This is the outer layer of the grain which contains anti-oxidants, fiber, photochemical, Vitamin B and 50-80% of minerals including iron, zinc, copper and magnesium
- Endosperm – This is the middle layer and is comprised of mostly carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of minerals and Vitamin B
- Germ – This is the inner most layer and contains Vitamin B, photochemical, healthy fats and anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E.
FashionLady suggests you to add oatmeal to your breakfast, whole grain bread to your lunch and whole wheat pasta to your dinner.
2. Have Salmon During your Pregnancy
While it’s still a debated question whether it’s safe to add seafood to diet during pregnancy, let us assure you salmon is not only safe but one of the essential dietary supplements for expecting moms as well. The intake of salmon fish twice a week increases the omega-3 levels for both mother and baby. Also it increases the anti-oxidant defenses of both, apart from providing protein and Vitamin B. Since salmon has relatively low mercury as compared to other fish; it’s safe for the expecting moms.
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As per The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
“Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids that are considered to be important in the growth, development, and health of the fetus and newborn infant.”
They further added,
“If pregnant women, who do not regularly eat oily fish, eat 2 portions of salmon/wk, they will increase their intake of EPA and DHA, achieving the recommended minimum intake and they will increase their their fetus’ status of EPA and DHA compared with those who did not.”
So, now you can safely add salmon to your diet – twice a week. Try it grilled, broiled, or in a salad.
3. Eat Beans During your Pregnancy
Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the… less you puke
Beans such as black beans, pinto beans, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, soy beans, navy beans, chickpeas and garbanzo are extremely beneficial for both expecting mothers and their babies.
Beans contain the most fiber and protein of all vegetables and are also rich in the amino acids and protein that are needed for fetal cell production. You can add beans with other protein-rich foods to enhance nutritional value in your diet. Besides enabling you with protein and fiber contents, beans are also good sources of essential nutrients, such as iron, foliate, calcium, and zinc required for pregnancy.
While constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, thanks to progesterone which slows down everything; beans help in fighting with such ailments.
Besides, beans are a great savior for women suffering from pregnancy nausea. Here is an excerpt –
What kind of beans clean the bile and help pregnancy nausea?
“They are pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, navy beans, black beans, lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans, to name just a few. Legumes are not green beans, wax beans, or soy beans.”
So, to summarize beans in diet = cleaner bile and less bile = less nausea! You can try beans as curry, soups, salads, and pasta dishes. These provide good nutrition during pregnancy.
4. Pregnancy Diet Must Include Eggs
This is another important source of nutrition added to the list of top 6 foods for expecting mothers. As per Elizabeth Ward, author of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy, “It’s amazing what you get in one egg for only about 90 calories.”
These are the most versatile, when it comes to adding nutritional values to your diet. Apart from being the source of 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs also contains proteins and choline which enhance baby’s overall growth. Eggs promote baby’s brain development and prevent neutral tube defects.
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Expecting moms should consume eggs with omega-3 fats which are essential for both vision and brain development. Go for DHA-enriched eggs as these contain the most beneficial form of omega-3s.
Research has shown that cholesterol naturally found in food does less damage to health than saturated fats. Hence, even if eggs are high in cholesterol, they’ve relatively low saturated fats. Pregnant women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one egg per day, but if cholesterol is a concern for you then you can substitute normal eggs with whole eggs.
5. Have Greek Yogurt Daily During Your Pregnancy
Just like other listed food items in this post, Greek Yogurt is also one of the top 6 must-have foods for expecting mothers. It is a nutritious addition to diet that enables nutrients essential for the overall growth of baby, whilst keeping the mother healthy. While low-fat yogurt does not offer rich supply of vitamins, it still supplies 2% of Vitamin A in the form of daily requirement.
As compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt offers twice the protein supplement. Besides, it is also a great source of calcium.
Since overall nutrition is required for the baby’s health, calcium enables strong bones whilst shaping up a healthy skeleton for the baby.
6. Add Walnuts to your Pregnancy Diet
If you are a vegan and expecting a baby, then it becomes mandatory to add walnuts to your diet. Also known as super nuts, walnuts are an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids especially the alpha-linolenic acids that help develop the baby’s nervous system, vision, concentration and overall IQ as they get older. Besides, this fatty acid present in walnuts help prevent the baby from having asthma and eczema.
The important minerals in walnut include calcium, potassium, vitamin B, fiber and magnesium, all of which improve your overall blood flow.
Walnuts also prevent hypertension, low birth weight and post-partum depression. In addition to, vitamin E with its gamma-tocopherol helps the body to get rid of harmful free radicals.
Here are some other benefits for expecting mothers that we can get from walnuts –
- The antioxidants present in walnuts develop bones and collagen, of both mother and the growing baby
- Walnuts help in treating metabolic disorders, diabetes, cancer, weight loss etc.
- Walnuts comprise of melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep cycles
- Walnuts also help in sharping memory and cognitive response, whilst developing baby’s brain
So these are the top 6 foods for expecting mothers. While these are not the only food items pregnant women should consume, there is an array of foods that supply nutritional values to both mother and baby.
FashionLady offers you a better understanding of the nutrition available in foods that are essential for the overall growth of healthy baby and mother.
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Importance of Folate During Pregnancy
Also known as folic acid, folate is water soluble Vitamin B that helps that in building DNA and RNA. Doctors suggest pregnant women should consume 600 mcg of folic acid per day. Here is the list of food items containing folate –
- 1 small orange contains 30 mcg of folic acid
- 1 ounce of peanuts contains 40 mcg of folic acid
- 1/2 cup sliced avocado contains 45 mcg of folate
- 1/2 cup broccoli also contains 45 mcg of folate
- 4 spears asparagus contain 85 mcg of folic acid
- 1 cup fortified cereal comprises of 400 mcg of folic acid
- 1/2 cup spinach contains 100 mcg of folic acid
Why Include Magnesium During Pregnancy
Magnesium helps repair body tissues. It works along-with calcium to prevent uterus from contracting prematurely. It helps in strengthening bones of the baby and also regulates insulin and blood sugar levels. Doctors suggest expecting mothers should take 350 mg of magnesium per day.
Here is the list of food items containing Mg –
- 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 151.9 mg of magnesium
- 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds contains 127.4 mg of magnesium
- 1 cup cooked millet contains 105.6 mg of magnesium
- 3 ounces of chinook salmon (baked or boiled) contains 103.8 mg of magnesium
- 1/2 cup bran cereal contains 93.1 mg of magnesium
- 1/3 cup wheat germ contains 90.9 mg of Mg
Why Must You Have Calcium During Pregnancy
As we all know calcium promotes healthy bones; it is a mandatory supplement for the development of baby’s skeleton. Doctors suggest consuming 1,000 mg of calcium a day. Foods rich in calcium include
- 8 oz non-fat yogurt contains 415 mg of calcium
- 8 oz skim milk contains 302 mg of calcium
- 1 cup of fortified orange juice contains 200-250 mg of calcium
- 3 oz salmon contains 181 mg of calcium
- 1 oz feta cheese contains 140 mg of calcium
- 1 cup of chickpeas comprises of 105 mg of calcium
Why You Should Include Iron During Pregnancy
Iron boosts immunity, prevent anemia, and aids in regulation of blood flow. Pregnant women are suggested to consume 27 mg of iron per day. Iron-rich foods include –
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- 3/4th cup of fortified cereal contains 18 mg of iron
- 1 cup of fortified oatmeal contains 10 mg of iron
- 1 cup of kidney beans comprises 5.2 mg of iron
- 3 ounces of chicken contains 1.3 mg of iron
- 1/2 cup spinach contains 1.0 mg of iron
Why Must You Include Protein During Pregnancy
Foods enriched with proteins promote baby’s overall growth. The amino acids present in protein serve as building blocks for the baby’s cells. Doctors suggest pregnant women to consume 70g of protein per day. Foods rich in protein include –
- 3 ounces of chicken breast contain 27 gm of protein
- 3 ounces of sockeye salmon contain 18.8 gm of protein
- 1 large egg contains 6gm of protein
- 1 cup of skimmed milk contains 8gm of protein
- 1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese contains 14gm of protein
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter comprise of 8gm of protein
Apart from the above mentioned top 6 foods for expecting mothers; I hope this brief knowledge session on nutrients essential for pregnant women help you in shaping your diet chart when you’re expecting.