7 Superfoods to Eat When You’re Pregnant
When you’re pregnant nutrition is vital to keeping yourself and your little one healthy. By fuelling your body, you’ll ensure you provide your baby with all the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow healthily and happily. Including these pregnancy superfoods in your diet, particularly in your third trimester, will give you and baby that added boost to get through the last few weeks.
Bananas are an amazing source of potassium, and make up about 10-12% of your daily potassium intake needs. This mineral helps to prevent pregnancy-related hypertension and keep blood pressure at a normal level, which has been found to also help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke or diabetes later in life.
As an easy on-the-go snack, bananas contain vitamin C, which is a natural antioxidant and are the ultimate fruit source of B6. This vitamin aids the body in red blood cell generation, and also boosts serotonin production, which is the stuff that makes you feel happy - something you can’t say no to. One contains approximately 50% of your recommended intake of B6, so 2 of these little guys and you’re good for the day - not to mention they’re a great source of carbohydrates.
2. Dried Apricots
During pregnancy sometimes you have cravings for certain foods and snacks, and dried apricots are a healthy choice for when you need a food boost. Pregnant women are recommended to up their iron intake to ensure they don’t develop anaemia as it can lead to fatal consequences during the baby bump stages. A handful of dried apricots contains around 10% of your daily iron intake, along with a good amount of copper and cobalt.
They also contain vital vitamins such as folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium - all which help to keep you healthy during pregnancy. One common pregnancy problem is having digestive issues - dried apricots help to regulate this process and prevent your bowels from becoming slow as baby develops. Eating an excess of apricots can lead to gastric upset, so make sure you eat them in moderation.
When you have another little person growing inside you, it’s very important to eat about an extra 10g of protein every day, averaging out at 60g in total per day. Lentils are a great source of protein, and they’re also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. During pregnancy, protein helps your baby’s muscles to develop and grow, making them stronger and healthier.
You might have been advised to take folic acid supplements, but it’s much better to get your recommended daily intake from natural food sources. Half a cup of lentils contains around 25% of your folic acid requirements, which is a nutrient that naturally occurs in the food, rather than like in other grain-based products. One other benefit of eating lentils is that they help to combat constipation and intestinal disorders as they are rich in fibre, with a half cup containing 8g of fibre.
4. Sunflower Seeds
Essential fats are just as the name says, essential. When you’re pregnant, the cleaner the source the better, so getting your recommended fat intake from a source like sunflower seeds will benefit your body. Sunflower seeds are rich in both omega 3 and omega 3 fatty acids, which aid towards your babies development and growth.
Sunflowers seeds contain around 90% of all vitamins including phytochemicals, protein, minerals, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats, so they really are a pregnancy superfood. Phytochemicals help to improve your immune system, which is often weakened during pregnancy as your body is working extra hard due to adapting to sustain your baby. Your baby’s health comes down to their development during their time in the womb - sunflower seeds are a great source of phosphorous which aids the strengthening and growth of your little one’s bones.
5. Egg Yolks
If you’re looking for a food that has everything from protein to fat-soluble vitamins, then egg yolks are the perfect source of all. Although the whites of eggs have more protein in, it’s the yolks that contain choline, which is an important mineral that aids towards your baby’s brain development. Egg yolks are also a great source of vitamin D, which helps to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and low birth weight in babies.
Although eggs are often considered as a potential food to avoid during pregnancy, they’re completely safe to eat as long as you’re consuming them in the correct way. Undercooked or raw eggs pose dangerous health risks to your unborn baby, therefore if you’re going to eat eggs, always make sure that they’re well cooked. If you’re worried about cooking them right, why don’t you try scrambled eggs - a great way to ensure they’re completely cooked through. Be sure to avoid foods which include raw eggs such as mayonnaise and certain sauces.
6. Sweet Potato
One of the main benefits of eating sweet potatoes, and it’s not because they’re super yummy, is they aid towards preventing digestion problems. A common problem during pregnancy that can cause severe and prolonged discomfort is constipation, which can often lead to further problems if not treated sooner rather than later. Sweet potatoes are high in fibre and therefore help the body to digest food efficiently.
Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin A, which is vital for skin and eye development, although it should be taken in moderation as a high intake can cause issues early on in pregnancy. These delicious energy packed vegetables also contain B6, potassium, vitamin C and iron, which are all important when making sure your little bump is developing happily.
Taking care of your baby’s brain development is something you will be worried about, but with a healthy dose of almonds every day, you can ensure their little mind will work just as it should. Almonds contain vitamin E which is the good stuff that helps little one with cognitive functions. they are also a great source of energy and protein, so if you’re feeling hungry throughout the day and want something to snack on, these are a healthy option.
Almonds also contain a good amount of iron and folic acid, two vital nutrients for keeping your body feeling on top of the world, and helping your body to sustain your little one as they grow. As with all foods, be sure to only eat your recommended amount of almonds, and always ensure you buy packaged almonds from the store as raw unprocessed almonds can harbour salmonella germs as they won’t have been washed.
*Before eating any foods when pregnant, you should always consult your doctor first to ensure you’re eating the right amount tailored to your dietary needs.
What foods did you find helped you through your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below! (And no, it doesn't have to be a superfood!)