Eggs are the ultimate health food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg contains 77 calories, as well as high-quality protein and fat. It also packs many vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are a great source of choline. Choline is essential for many processes in your body, including brain development and health. A dietary survey showed that over 90% of people consumed less than the recommended amount of choline. Low choline intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects and possibly lead to decreased brain function in the fetus. A single whole egg contains roughly 113 mg of choline, which is about 25% of the RDI for pregnant women (450 mg).
Whole eggs are incredibly nutritious and a great way to increase your overall nutrient intake. They also contain choline, an essential nutrient for brain health and development.
Eating vegetables during pregnancy is not just good for baby, but essential for pregnant mothers to remain healthy as well. The benefits of a diet rich in vegetables include healthy weight gains and maintenance, controlled blood pressure, and reduced risks of anemia. Moms who are planning to get pregnant or who already are should look for the following benefits of specific nutrients.
Potassium – This mineral helps to balance fluid levels, regulate blood pressure, and helps muscles perform well. Blood volume in pregnant women can increase by as much as 50%, requiring slightly increased levels of electrolytes (including potassium). Pregnant mothers who experience leg cramps, especially at night, should consider whether or not their potassium intake is adequate. Vegetables that supply potassium include:
- Beet greens
- Lima beans
Fiber – Especially helpful in regulating a woman’s digestive system, fiber is also important for reducing a woman’s risk of gestational diabetes. Adequate levels of fiber also help to keep moms-to-be from getting constipated and dealing with things such as hemorrhoids. Some vegetables that can provide fiber include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooked carrots
- Sweet corn
Green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain many of the nutrients pregnant women need. These include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Furthermore, broccoli and leafy greens are rich in antioxidants. They also contain plant compounds that benefit the immune system and digestion. Due to their high fiber content, these vegetables may also help prevent constipation, which is a very common problem among pregnant women. Consuming green, leafy vegetables has also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight
Fish liver oil is made from the oily liver of fish, most often cod. The oil is very rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for fetal brain and eye development.
Fish liver oil is also very high in vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. It may be highly beneficial for those who don’t regularly eat seafood or supplement with omega-3 or vitamin D.
Low vitamin D intake has been linked with an increased risk of preeclampsia. This potentially dangerous complication is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet and protein in the urine.
Consuming cod liver oil during early pregnancy has been linked to higher birth weight and a lower risk of disease later in the baby’s life.
A single serving (one tablespoon or 15 ml) of fish liver oil provides more than the recommended daily intake of omega-3, vitamin D and vitamin A.
However, it’s not recommended to consume more than one serving per day, as too much preformed vitamin A can be dangerous for your fetus. High levels of omega-3 may also have blood-thinning effects.
SUMMARYA single serving (one tablespoon or 15 ml) of fish liver oil provides more than the required amount of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin A. Fish liver oil may be particularly important for women who don’t eat seafood.
Avocados are an unusual fruit because they contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids. They’re also high in fiber, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Because of their high content of healthy fats, folate and potassium, avocados are a great choice for pregnant women. The healthy fats help build the skin, brain and tissues of your fetus, and folate may help prevent neural tube defects. Potassium may help relieve leg cramps, a side effect of pregnancy for some women. In fact, avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
SUMMARYAvocados contain high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, folate and potassium. They may help improve fetal health and relieve leg cramps that are common in pregnant women.
During pregnancy, blood volume increases by up to 1.5 liters or about 50 ounces. Therefore, it’s important to stay properly hydrated. Your fetus usually gets everything it needs, but if you don’t watch your water intake, you may become dehydrated.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include headaches, anxiety, tiredness, bad mood and reduced memory. Furthermore, increasing your water intake may help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.
General guidelines recommend drinking about 68 ounces or 2 liters of water per day, but the amount you really need varies by individual. As an estimate, you should be drinking about 34–68 ounces (1–2 liters) each day. Just keep in mind that you also get water from other foods and beverages, such as fruit, vegetables, coffee and tea.
As a rule of thumb, you should always drink water when you’re thirsty and drink until you’ve quenched your thirst.
SUMMARYDrinking water is important as your blood volume increases during pregnancy. Adequate hydration may also help prevent constipation and urinary tract infections.
What you eat during pregnancy affects your energy and well-being. It may also directly affect the health and development of your baby. Since calorie and nutrient needs are increased, it’s very important that you choose nutrient-dense, healthy foods. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but it’s important to gain it in a healthy way. This benefits you, your baby and your health after the pregnancy. This list should be a good start towards a healthy, well-nourished pregnancy.