15 Pregnancy Superfoods All Future Mums Need
A pregnant woman’s diet can be challenging to structure and stick to, as it might be very different to what an expectant mother was used to eating during her pre-pregnancy days. In this, future mums can be aided by adding superfoods to their diets. Most people have heard of the term “superfood,” but many are still confused by their definition: they’re simply a variety of non-processed and healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are great to consume to boost vitamin, mineral, and antioxidants intake.
A healthy pregnancy diet should include many superfoods, as they’re key to supporting the baby’s development and future health. But what kinds of superfoods should future mums include in their diet? Take a look and find out!
Salmon and other fatty fish
Salmon is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, and future mums should aim to consume it every week to help support their baby’s developing brain. It is a perfect lean protein, and a great source of Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and selenium. Wild salmon is recommended over farm-raised, but in either case, it’s best not to exceed two portions of oily fish a week.
Almonds are a classic superfood, and just a handful a day could provide enough Vitamin E to help the baby’s development in early pregnancy. Raw almonds are considered a brain-boosting food and are easy to keep in the house, the car, or a purse, and just snack on throughout the day.
Yoghurt and cottage cheese
Six ounces of plain Greek yoghurt has 230 mg of calcium, a fourth of daily calcium needs for a pregnant woman. Yoghurt, both the Greek and plain variety, is rich in probiotics and good bacteria for the gut, as well as essential protein. Cottage cheese is also loaded with calcium, protein, and iodine, which is great for expectant mums because iodine plays a role in brain and spinal cord development. It can be enjoyed in salads, or with berries and honey as a sweet treat, or even in smoothies!
Quinoa and other whole grains
Quinoa is also a great source of protein and fibre, especially consumed by vegetarians and vegans, and the perfect grain to add to a cold or warm salad. While white rice is highly processed and thus contains less key nutrients than it does at its natural state, brown rice has a great amount of protein, minerals, and dietary fibre, which aids digestion and helps keep blood sugar levels down. Future mums are commonly advised to eat three servings of whole grains per day during pregnancy.
Seaweed is a great source of iodine, which enhances the baby’s brain development. It’s easy to add in soups, salads, broths, and even sandwiches. Even seaweed snacks are a delicious superfood! While it’s important to remember to limit consumption to one portion per week, to avoid getting too much iodine, and to only buy high quality seaweed to avoid pollutants.
Berries are another classic, and a perfect superfood for expectant mums. They’re rich in healthy carbohydrates, Vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants, and they’re the perfect summer or winter snack. They will keep you hydrated while remaining low in calories, so you can eat as many as you’d like!
Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc. They can be salted, roasted, or raw, as a salad or oatmeal topper, or as the perfect superfood snack.
Kale and other leafy greens
When it comes to leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, kale, turnip greens and swiss chard, they’re a pregnant woman’s best friend in combating constipation, aiding digestion, and ingesting enough fibre, folate, Vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s best to consume these superfoods cooked instead of raw, as this will help eat more of them and digest them more easily.
Sweet potatoes are an amazing superfood, healthier than normal potatoes and rich in Vitamin A and fibre. They’re good at balancing blood sugar levels, and preventing overeating, as they will keep you satisfied for a long time.
Eggs are an important source of protein and choline: choline plays a key role in brain development, and it is often left out in large part of prenatal vitamins commonly available. It’s important, however, to consume the yolk, not just the whites, as that’s where choline is stored. Eggs also contain folate, Vitamin B12, A, E, and E, as well as iodine and selenium. What’s more is, they’re quick and easy to cook, and a common staple already in many people’s diet!
Beans and lentils
Chickpeas, lentils, peas, soybeans, and black beans are all superfoods full of fibre and iron, which is especially important to consume during the first trimester of pregnancy. Expectant mothers can eat legumes in salads and rice dishes as a way to avoid constipation, and to add some healthy, plant-based deliciousness to their meals.
Eating avocados is a traditional, natural way of staving off morning sickness. They’re a healthy source of fat and fibre, and have seen an unexpected rise in public perception over the last five years or so. And for good reason! They contain potassium, which can help relieve leg cramps, iron, Vitamin A, C, E and K, which are important to the health of the mother and the baby.
Spirulina has a bad reputation as a superfood, but it is a fantastic source of iron, especially for those who don’t like or don’t eat meat. It is great in smoothies, easy to buy in health food stores or online and add to salads and meals.
Asparagus contains significant amounts of folate, which is key in the prevention of neural tube defects. Two cups of asparagus contain about 20% of daily iron needs, with iron helping deliver blood and oxygen to the baby.
Coconut water is the perfect superfood beverage, very safe to drink during pregnancy and an easy way to avoid dehydration, a common side effect of morning sickness. Pure and unsweetened coconut water is a great alternative to plain water, and can help replace caffeine as a natural energy-booster. It is also thought to improve circulation, regulate moods, and aid digestion.