Proper nutrition is crucial at all stages of fetal development, and if a mother doesn't eat right, her growing baby won't either. For easy-to-follow guidelines of the types of foods and nutrients that will support a healthy pregnancy, please read below.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is made by your body in response to sunlight exposure. Optimizing your vitamin D during pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your child. When a child is born deficient in vitamin D, his or her health can be affected in many ways, ranging from childhood allergies to asthma, colds and flu, dental cavities, diabetes, and even strokes and cardiovascular disease in later life of the child.
Eggs are a huge source of protein, fat, and other nutrients. In pregnant women, eggs play an important role helping to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida, and playing a role in brain development.
3. Wild Salmon, Sardines
Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased you have to be very choosy about which types of seafood you decide to eat – especially when you're pregnant.
Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fats. They also contain vitamin B12 and selenium, protein, calcium, and choline, making them one of the best sources of omega 3. You can also supplement your diet with animal based omega-3 by taking a fish oil supplement.
4. Full Fat Dairy
Whole dairy products are a rich source of healthy fats, protein, calcium, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and more. Raw organic butter, milk, and cheese are all beneficial. Raw organic milk contains beneficial bacteria that strengthen your immune system and can help reduce allergies, and is also a great source of vitamins, zinc, enzymes, and healthy fats.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain the an antioxidant called beta-carotene which helps fight free radicals that damage cells through oxidation speeding up aging and making you vulnerable to chronic diseases.
This antioxidant can help support your immune system, as well as lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. It's also very important during pregnancy, as it is converted into vitamin A in your body, which is essential for fetal health and development.
6. Broccoli and Leafy Greens
Broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are loaded with important nutrients for pregnant women, including folate, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins C, K, and A. Their rich antioxidant content will also support your immune system health and digestion, while their fiber can help prevent constipation, which is a common problem in pregnant women.
7. Organic Beef and Chicken
Beef is an excellent source of protein and other nutrients like iron, choline, and B vitamins. Chicken is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus, and choline.
Berries contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals found to boost your immunity, prevent cancer, protect your heart, and prevent seasonal allergies. Berries are lower in sugar than many fruits, so they are less likely to affect your insulin levels. Berries also contain high amounts of vitamin C, which will help your body absorb iron, and a good amount of fiber. Go for strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
Avocados provide so many essential health boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, and folate. They're also one of few foods that contain significant levels of both vitamins C and E and are excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fat.
Avocados are even high in fiber, which plays an essential role in your digestive, heart, and skin health, and may improve blood sugar control.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a quick and easy-to-use source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Their high concentration of omega-3 fats is one of their major advantages.