These 10 Foods Are a Must-Have in Any Pregnancy Diet

These 9 foods are a must-have in any pregnancy diet

If you are pregnant, you are already eating more cautiously and carefully, as far as nutrition is concerned. However, choosing the right options from a wide array of food items can get confusing, when you are planning healthy meals on a daily basis. To make your pregnancy diet simple, here is a list of the 9 foods that will give all the necessary nutrients your body needs.

  1. Dals and pulses

    These are the best source of:

    • Fibre
    • Protein
    • Iron
    • Folate(B9)
    • Magnesium
    • Potassium
    • Calcium

    All these are required in greater quantities than usual, during pregnancy. Some pulses you can try are rajma, beans, moong dal, masoor dal, arhar dal, chana dal etc.

    How they help:

    • Folate (Vitamin B9) reduces the risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight.
    • Folate increases the immunity of the baby.
    • Fibre helps improve digestion, releases energy slowly, and also reduces constipation.
    • Calcium helps in the skeletal development of the baby.
  2. Carrots

    Carrots are a wonderful source of:

    • Beta-carotene, which gets transformed into vitamin A in the body.
    • Fibre

    How it helps:

    • Pregnant women need to increase their vitamin A intake by 10-40%. This isn’t possible through animal sources as they might increase toxicity in the body, when consumed in large quantities. Hence, carrots are a great vegetarian source of vitamin A.
    • Carrots can meet the daily requirement of beta-carotene for pregnant women.
    • The fibre content in carrots improves digestion, increases fullness, and reduces blood sugar spikes.
  3. Eggs

    Eggs are the best source of:

    • High-quality protein
    • Good fats
    • Choline
    • Important vitamins and minerals

    How it helps

    • Choline is required for the brain development of the unborn child.
    • Choline also reduces the risk of neural tube defects.
    • High-quality protein helps in the baby’s growth.
  4. Leafy greens

    Leafy greens include methi leaves, drumstick leaves, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, amaranth etc.

    Green leafy vegetables are a good source of:

    • Fibre
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin K
    • Vitamin A
    • Calcium
    • Iron
    • Folate
    • Potassium
    • Antioxidants
    • Plant compounds

    How it helps:

    • The high fibre content helps prevent constipation, a common problem during pregnancy.
    • Plant compounds improve immunity and digestion.
    • Leafy greens also reduce the risk of low birth weight.
  5. Whole grains

    Whole grains include wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oats, etc.

    Whole grains are the best source of:

    • Dietary fibre
    • Protein
    • B Vitamins
    • Magnesium
    • Plant compounds

    How it helps:

    • They are the best way for women to meet increased calorie requirements during pregnancy.
    • They are better than refined grains in terms of fibre, vitamins, and plant compounds.
  6. Dry fruits

    Some of the best dry fruits to consume during pregnancy are apricots, almonds, walnuts, prunes, and dates.

    They are a good source of:

    • Fibre
    • Folate
    • Iron
    • Potassium
    • Vitamin K
    • Plant compounds

    How it helps:

    • Prunes are natural laxatives that help relieve constipation.
    • Dates can help cervical dilation in the third trimester.

    Remember:

    Dates are high in natural sugars, so consume in moderation.

  7. Dairy products

    Dairy products are a source of:

    • Calcium
    • Phosphorous
    • B vitamins
    • Magnesium
    • Zinc
    • High-quality protein like whey and casein

    How it helps:

    • Dairy products are the best source of the extra protein and calcium your body needs during pregnancy, for foetal development.
    • Yoghurt contains probiotic bacteria, which is great for digestion and reduces the risk of complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and vaginal infections.

    Remember:

    • If you’re lactose intolerant, avoid dairy items during your pregnancy.
    • Homemade dairy products from fresh, unadulterated cow’s milk are your best bet.
  8. Selected fruits

    Fruits are an excellent source of:

    • Phosphorus
    • Beta-carotene
    • Vitamin A and C
    • Folate
    • Potassium
    • Fibre

    How it helps:

    • The variety of nutrients in fresh fruits will keep both the mother and the baby healthy.
    • Fruits can help alleviate problems like morning sickness, constipation, indigestion, etc.

    Remember:

    • The fruits that you should consume are guavas, bananas, berries, pears, mangoes, oranges, pomegranates, and mangoes.
    • Try to buy organic fruits if you can.
    • Fruits are high in natural sugars. Hence, portion control is the key.
  9. Lean meats.

    These include lean cuts of mutton, lamb, and chicken.

    They are a great source of:

    • High-quality protein
    • Iron
    • Choline
    • B vitamins

    How it helps:

    • Iron supplies oxygen to all the cells in your body via the blood. During pregnancy, blood volume increases and more iron is needed. Iron deficiency can also lead to anaemia, causing preterm labour and low birth weight babies. So, lean meats can help as they are an excellent source of iron.

Important to remember

Every woman’s body and health status is different, and will react differently to various food sources. So, when you are pregnant, listen to your body and monitor how you feel after your meals. Let your body guide you when deciding what are the best foods for pregnancy. And remember to consult your doctor as well, for personalised meal plans.