The Best Pregnancy Diet
There is a well-known adage “You are what your mother ate”. Pregnancy places special nutrient demands on the woman’s body and fulfilling them results in a healthy pregnancy. A nutritionist for pregnant women can help plan a pre natal nutrition program to ensure a healthy pregnancy outcome. The most important diet during pregnancy is – a balanced diet which helps in maintaining the nutritional status of the developing fetus and the mother. This includes a range of foods from each food group.
The following food groups will help maintain the right nutrients in the diet:
Consume a variety of cereals:
Cereals will give energy along with vitamins and minerals. Along with wheat and rice, millets like ragi, bajra, jowar, rajgira are important. Fiber rich cereals help combat constipation which is common during pregnancy.
Although this group is a rich source of protein, some caution needs to be exercised while consuming it. Avoid raw eggs, cured or under cooked meats – they should be well cooked. Also, avoid eating raw shellfish and large fish like swordfish, shark, etc due to the high mercury content in them.
Vegetarians can rely on beans and lentils for their protein which is required for tissue building. Sprouting of beans increases the bio availability of some nutrients. However, it is unsafe to consume raw bean sprouts as it increases the chances of infection.
Known for their good quality protein and calcium, milk and milk products are essential through the entire pregnancy.
Regular consumption of leafy greens like palak, methi, amaranth will provide with nutrients like vitamin A, iron, folic acid, calcium, etc. Other vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, etc are essential for their fibre and micronutrients too. Avoid consuming raw vegetables as they could cause infections.
Eating fresh fruits provides essential micronutrients, fibre and antioxidants which keeps the fetus and mother healthy. Avoid fruit juices as they might be high in sugar content and lack fibre.
Fats (ghee), oils (olive oil, mustard oil, peanut oil, rice bran oil) and fats from nuts and oil seeds are all important for the essential fatty acids and energy that they provide. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is important for cognitive and visual growth and development of the fetus. You can get your omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseeds, walnuts, garden cress seeds, soyabean, and fish like salmon.
Remember, it is not possible to have the best of diet week after week for all the 40 weeks of the pregnancy. So, instead of stressing out every time you waver from the list, try to stay within the framework most of the times and enjoy the pregnancy under the advice of a pregnancy nutritionist.