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Pregnancy diet:

What to eat and what to avoid

Pregnant women need to ensure that their diet provides enough nutrients and energy for the baby to develop and grow properly. They also need to make sure that her body is healthy enough to deal with the changes that are occurring.

According to koodakpress، For a healthy pregnancy, the mother’s diet needs to be balanced and nutritious – this involves the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and consuming a wide variety of plants like vegetables, and fruits.

Some women’s diets may be impacted by ethical beliefs, religious requirements, or health conditions, so checking with a doctor is an important part of planning a pregnancy diet.

Fast facts on eating during pregnancy:
  • A pregnant woman’s calorie intake grows during pregnancy. She does not eat for two; her calorie consumption just goes up a few hundred calories a day for most pregnant women.
  • Typical weight gain, if the mother is carrying just one baby, varies considerably based on pre-pregnancy weight and other factors. An underweight pregnant women is recommended to gain the most, whereas an overweight woman is recommended to gain the least.
  • A woman’s body absorbs iron more efficiently and blood volume increases when she is pregnant, so she has to consume more iron to make sure that both she and her baby have an adequate oxygen supply

Rules

 As mentioned above, the mother should follow a varied, balanced, and nutritious diet, and it must include:

Fruit and vegetables

Aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. They may be in the form of juice, dried, canned, frozen, or fresh. Fresh and frozen (if frozen soon after picking) produce usually have higher levels of vitamins and other nutrients.

Experts stress that eating fruit is usually better for you than just drinking the juice, as natural sugar levels in juice are very high. Consider vegetable juices like carrot or wheatgrass for dense nutrition.

Starchy carbohydrate-rich foods

Starchy carbohydrate-rich foods include potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. Carbohydrates are high in energy, and are therefore an important component of a good pregnancy diet.

Protein

Healthful, animal-sourced proteins include fish, lean meat, and chicken, as well as eggs. All pregnant women and especially vegans should consider the following foods as good sources of protein:

  • Quinoa – known as a “complete protein,” it includes all the essential amino acids.
  • Tofu and soy products.
  • Beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, and nut butters are a good source of protein and iron.

British and Brazilian researchers reported in the journal PLoS ONE that pregnant women who ate seafood had lower levels of anxiety compared with those who did not. Pregnant mothers who never consumed seafood had a 53 percent greater risk of suffering from high levels of anxiety, the authors wrote.

Fats

Fats should not make up more than 30 percent of a pregnant woman’s diet. Researchers from the University of Illinois reported in the Journal of Physiology that a high-fat diet may genetically program the baby for future diabetes.

Team leader, Professor Yuan-Xiang Pan, said:

We found that exposure to a high-fat diet before birth modifies gene expression in the livers of offspring so they are more likely to overproduce glucose, which can cause early insulin resistance and diabetes.”

There are other risks to pregnancy with an overly high-fat diet, so a balance is needed and monounsaturated and omega-3’s or “healthy fats” should be the primary fat choices. In the journal Endocrinology, a team from Oregon Health & Science University explained that Food and Nutrition Bulletin because the blood flow from the mother to the placenta is reduced.

Examples of foods high in monounsaturated fats include olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, canola oil, avocados, many nuts, and seeds.

Fiber

Wholegrain foods, such as wholemeal bread, wild rice, wholegrain pasta, pulses like beans and lentils, fruit, and vegetables are rich in fiber.

Women have a higher risk of developing constipation during pregnancy; eating plenty of fiber is effective in minimizing that risk. Studies have shown that eating plenty of fiber during pregnancy reduces the risk or severity of hemorrhoids, which also become more common as the fetus grows.

Calcium

It is important to have a healthy daily intake of calcium. Dairy foods, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are rich in calcium. If the mother is vegan, she should consider the following calcium-rich foods; calcium-fortified soymilk and other plant milks and juices, calcium-set tofu, soybeans, bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, okra, mustard greens, beans, kale, and soynuts.

Zinc

Zinc is a vital trace element. It plays a major role in normal growth and development, cellular integrity, and several biological functions including nucleic acid metabolism and protein synthesis.

Since all these functions are involved in growth and cell division, zinc is important for the development of the fetus. The best sources of zinc are chicken, turkey, ham, shrimp, crab, oysters, meat, fish, dairy products, beans, peanut butter, nuts, sunflower seeds, ginger, onions, bran, wheat germ, rice, pasta, cereals, eggs, lentils, and tofu.

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