You know that a healthy diet is a must if you want to stay healthy and live longer. It is truer during pregnancy as you have another soul growing inside you.
It is wiser to start focusing more on a healthy diet when you start planning for a baby. It helps you get used to the much needed healthier journey ahead.
A healthy diet during pregnancy also prevents complications. Besides, quitting any habits that you have such as smoking and alcohol consumption are essential too. They affect growth and lead to complications.
Here are a few vital nutrients and best foods which you need for a healthy pregnancy:
Folic acid-rich diet
Spinach and other green leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid and help in preventing birth defects called neural tube defects.
Folic acid is naturally found in spinach, okra, green turnip, beetroots, dried beans, and broccoli. Pregnant women need 400 mcg of folic acid a day and half a cup of cooked spinach has 130 mcg of folic acid.
Folic acid is so essential that doctors recommend folic acid supplements even before conception, basically when the couple starts planning for a baby.
You are aware that you need more blood during pregnancy as the baby is growing. The iron-rich diet helps in producing the red blood cells.
Your blood has cells called RBC/ Red Blood Cells that carry oxygen and supply it to your whole body. You need iron to produce RBCs. If your iron intake is low, you are likely to have low haemoglobin (the red pigment of blood.)
Spinach, green, leafy vegetables, dried beans, beets, tofu, and meat are rich sources of iron.
You need around 30 mg of iron per day and half a cup of cooked spinach gives you up to 12 mg of iron a day.
Calcium is essential for the growth of healthy bones, teeth, and nails of the baby. You need at least 1000 mg of calcium every day during pregnancy.
We all need calcium every day so that our bones stay strong. If we do not have enough calcium from food, our body uses the calcium from our bones and bones become weak. Pregnant women need to take more care as the growing baby needs calcium.
Milk and milk products are a rich source of calcium. A cup of milk has 300 mg of calcium and a cup of curd has 450 mg of calcium.
However, your body needs the help of vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without vitamin D, all the calcium that you consume goes waste.
Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. It is safe and inexpensive too. You need 30 minutes of sunlight a day to meet your vitamin D requirements. Also, sufficient vitamin D is crucial for conceiving as well as healthy a pregnancy.
Cheese, egg yolk, and fatty fish such as tuna and mackerel are the dietary sources of vitamin D.
In addition, have plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains which are power-packed with nutrients and fibre. Potassium-rich foods such as bananas and oranges also prevent high blood pressure in pregnancy.
Remember to drink enough water
In winters and rains, prefer to drink lukewarm water. If you do not drink at least two litres of fluids a day, you increase the chances of constipation, mood swings, and other health problems!
Talk to your doctor about a diet that suits your body type.