Eating for two is not easy and there is a lot of pressure to get the right nutrition, especially when there is so much information out there about the things you should or should not be eating. Here are 6 superfoods that you should be including in your daily diet.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens pack a ton of nutrients in every bite; high levels of antioxidants, dietary fiber, protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Don’t be afraid to add these superfoods in your diet. You can have them raw, steamed, or cooked. Here is a list of some leafy greens:
- Collard greens
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
A lot of people confuse legumes with grains. Legumes grow inside pods and it may surprise you to know this includes peanuts. Yes, peanuts are legumes and not a type of nut. Legumes are packed with protein and are a great source of dietary fiber, Copper, Folate and Manganese. Folate is a very important nutrient early in pregnancy that helps prevent neural tube defects.
Here is a list of some legumes:
- Pinto beans
- Fava beans
- Black beans
- Lupini beans
Eating fish during pregnancy can be confusing. Eating fish is important because of the omega-3 but at the same time you have to be careful of mercury levels. I recommend you always use this simple rule; stick to eating small to medium size fish and when you are at the seafood counter, opt for wild over farm-raised fish. Omega-3 is important, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This fat is vital for your baby’s brain and eye development. Pre-natal vitamins now include DHA.
Stay away from these fishes:
- King mackerel
- Sea bass
- Mahi Mahi
- Fresh tuna
Beef is an excellent source of Iron and Zinc. During pregnancy zinc levels are 11 to 13 mg, they are 3 to 5 mg more than during non-pregnancy. It is crucial for cell reproduction and normal brain development of your baby. As pregnancy develops and a mom’s blood supply increases, the need for iron also rises. Pregnant women must consume an additional 700 to 800 mg of iron throughout their pregnancy. Choose lean cuts, with fat trimmed off. Be mindful that during pregnancy you cannot eat deli meats, especially raw or undercooked selections.
This delicious creamy food will give you and your baby a good amount of calcium, protein and folate, not to mention the gut helpers (probiotics) in yogurt that will help you with pregnancy GI symptoms. You need around 1000 mg of calcium a day. The majority goes to your bundle of joy and the rest is stored in your bones for future use during lactation. Add some yogurt to your smoothies and oats, or better yet- substitute sour cream with plain greek yogurt.
This small, misunderstood, powerhouse will give you a good amount of lean protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Zinc, Calcium and all of the B vitamins. Eggs are a good source of Vitamin B2 and B12. Egg yolks provide essential nutrients and antioxidants that support brain and eye health. Choline, for example, plays an important role in brain development and function. Lutein and zeaxanthin are strong antioxidants that help protect your eyes. Hard boil some eggs and stash in the fridge for a quick, powerful snack or add them to your salads.
Complementing your diet with a good pre-natal multi-vitamin is important. Women looking to become pregnant, or who are already pregnant, should take a pre-natal multivitamin to supply your body with the right levels of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects.
Keeping these six stellar superfoods in mind will make it easier next time you go grocery shopping or choosing a dish when eating out. Don’t be afraid of trying new recipes that include these six superfoods. You know what you and your baby need most.
Dr. Carolina Padilla specializes in women’s health, fertility, pre and postnatal care and breastfeeding support. Visit: www.carolnd.com to learn more about Dr. Carol’s practice or contact her directly at 860-375-5088.
For recipe ideas, tips, and more, follow on Instagram: @dr.carolnd or Facebook: @Dr.CarolPNd