Pregnancy is a great time to adopt healthier eating habits. After all, fresh and nutritious foods aids the growth of junior’s muscle, brain and organ development. Indeed, the kind of food your wee one is exposed to during his time in your tummy helps him remain strong and continue to grow inside your tummy.
“To ensure that baby gets optimal nourishment, eat foods that are natural on nutrients and easy on your tummy, eat sufficiently and have a well-balanced diet with adequate amounts of the necessary nutrients such as iron, calcium and DHA,” says Dr Kelly Loi, a fertility specialist and gynaecologist who runs her own practice at Health & Fertility Centre for Women. “Cut back on fat, salt and sugar, but increase the intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products.”
During the first trimester, nausea may prevent you from eating well. Dr Loi recommends eating smaller meals more frequently, five to six times a day, to ensure that bubba and you get sufficient nutrients. Here are several goodies you could incorporate into your daily diet for maximum benefits.
“To ensure that baby gets optimal nourishment, eat sufficiently and have a well- balanced diet with adequate amounts of the necessary nutrients such as iron, calcium and DHA.”
1) Dairy and fresh fruit, including juices
What it contains All-essential calcium ― which you need three servings of daily ― so as to ensure that you and junior are in tip-top shape.
Why it’s good for your bump A glass of OJ will fill you with minerals as well as vitamin C for normal function of bones. Even better if your juices have added vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption, improves junior’s bone strength, as well as contribute to normal blood calcium levels for junior. Incorporate yoghurt to your diet if all you do is add milk to your cuppa (decafe). Mix some favourite fruit to Greek yoghurt, then drizzle some honey over for a low-cal snack that’s packed with a protein and fibre punch.
What it contains Whether you enjoy it poached, scrambled or hard boiled, eggs are a fab source of protein during your prenatal stage. The yolk contains choline (a macronutrient usually grouped within the B-complex vitamins) and vitamin D.
Why it’s good for your bump “Vitamin D support calcium absorption, while choline helps support overall mental functioning." notes Karin Reiter, a medical nutritionist at Nutritious & Delicious. Karin Reiter also adds that "this all-important nutrient, which helps form the tissue in the nervous system that aids brain development and growth, is also crucial for nerve functioning".
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What it contains This oily fish is not only heart-healthy, it’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
Why it’s good for your bump There’s good reason why fish is known as brain food. Brain-boosting DHA helps power bubba’s brain growth, especially during the third trimester. Protein in fish also provides the amino acids for the building and maintenance of body tissues. Just make sure the fish is fully cooked as anything raw can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
4) Green leafy vegetables
What it contains Toss these bad boys ― spinach, broccoli, kale, gai lan or bok choy ― into your soups, stir-fries and salads as they are chockfull of antioxidants and nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron.
Why it’s good for your bump Iron is needed to produce haemoglobulin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues, which is essential in supporting the uterus. Reiter also adds that these delish veggies contain calcium for bone development and folate for mental/normal and overall development of foetus.
5) Beans, nuts & legumes
What it contains Flax and chia seeds, as well as walnuts are rich in omega 3. If you’re not a big meat eater, lentils, legumes and beans (bursting with zinc) will help you meet your protein requirements.
Why it’s good for your bump Omega 3 like alpha-linoleic acid in seeds is beneficial for junior. Zinc contributes to normal macronutrient and carbohydrate metabolism as well as protein synthesis, important in ensuring bubba thrives well after birth.
What it contains This luxurious butter fruit is a storehouse of vitamins ― C, E, K, B1 and B2 to be exact. Plus, since it’s packed with minerals, dietary fibre, calcium, antioxidants and folate, you can make this your go-to superfood as mentioned by the National Institutes of Health in the US.
Why it’s good for your bump A half a cup of sliced, raw avocado contains 59mg of folic acid, which will work wonders for your wee one’s growth, according to the National Institutes of Health in the US. This easy-to-eat fruit is perfect if you’re battling nausea in your first trimester. “The magnesium in it is also very helpful in relieving muscle cramping in the second trimester onwards,” Reiter adds. Perhaps it’s because magnesium helps in normal nerve function and electrolyte balance. And as we all know, a happy mummy equals a happy baby!
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