7 best superfoods to have during pregnancy
Superfoods, or extremely nutrient-dense foods, have become increasingly popular in India over the past few years, as they are believed to keep various illnesses at bay, including cancers! So, when you are expecting, it makes sense to include some commonly available yet nutritious and tasty superfoods in your diet. After all, the little one inside you will derive nutrients from what you eat, and you want to give him nothing but the best, right? In this article, you will find out about 7 popular superfoods in India and how they can benefit you in unique ways.
What are superfoods?
Superfoods are foods that are high in nutritional value due to high concentration of nutrients, and these nutrients may be more easily available to the body or absorbed by the body due to the presence of bioactive ingredients. Superfoods provide optimum amounts of vitamins and minerals to a pregnant woman and helps in boosting the immune system of both the mother and the baby.
Here are the 7 best superfoods you can have:
- Pulses or daals: Foods such as kidney beans, Bengal gram, soybean, chickpeas, lentils etc. come under pulses. They are rich in protein, fibre, folate, calcium, and help support muscle growth and development of a growing child. Dals or lentils contain very high amounts of folate, which prevents birth defects too. 1 cup of chickpeas, bengal gram or black beans might provide 50-60% of the daily RDA of a pregnant woman.
- Broccoli and spinach: Spinach and broccoli are high in folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the growth and development of the foetus. Consumption of these two dark green vegetables can help in proper spinal and cognitive development, and prevent miscarriages. As spinach is rich in iron, it helps in prevention and cure of anaemia too. The high content of vitamin B in spinach enhances the mother’s mood and helps in fighting stress, anxiety and depression. You can also juice your spinach and prepare soups with broccoli.
- Salmon: Also known as rawas in India, this is an all-time favourite fish. It is full of omega-3 fatty acids and the B12 vitamin, apart from selenium and chlorine. Salmon, when consumed at dinner, can also induce sound sleep in expectant mothers. It's the presence of L-tryptophan that helps in inducing sleep.
- Dairy products: Dairy products are a must during pregnancy as they are high in calcium and protein. Fermented dairy foods like curd and buttermilk also provide the additional goodness of probiotic organisms, which help boost gut health. During pregnancy, women must load up on dairy products for adequate supply of calcium and other vital nutrients.
- Seeds and nuts: It is essential for a woman to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Adding superfoods like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds to the diet can ensure adequate intake of healthy fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Chia seeds are highly versatile and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which play a major role in the development of the brain of the foetus.
Pumpkin seeds are effective for combating morning sickness. Pumpkin seeds should be ideally consumed in their roasted form. Eating pumpkin seeds, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy, can help ease morning sickness, nausea, vomiting etc.
Sunflower seeds are also rich in essential nutrients like manganese, magnesium, copper and vitamin K. These seeds can regulate cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Eggs: Eggs are known as a powerhouse of protein and other essential amino acids. They contribute significantly to the development of the baby’s brain as well as muscles. They are rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. Also, they are believed to be rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which play an important role in eye and vision development of the foetus.
- Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, which is responsible for the bone development of your baby. Moreover, citrus fruits aid in better digestion and ward off morning sickness in pregnant women. Some citrus fruits you can include in your diet are mosambi, lemon, amla, and orange.
To sum up
Superfoods are hence highly beneficial during pregnancy, as they are full of various vital nutrients that can be absorbed readily by the foetus. These foods also keep the mother healthy and fit, without adding any empty calories. If you are allergic to any of the foods mentioned above, feel free to consult a nutritionist or doctor for an alternative.