Pregnancy Superfoods - What to Eat During Pregnancy?

Healthy food to eat during pregnancy
Your diet during your pregnancy is critical for the baby's growth and for your health as the nourisher of the baby. Intelligent food choices can help you stay fit and healthy during those magical nine months. This article will discuss healthy options to fill your cravings and the best pregnancy superfoods. You may struggle with digestive issues and morning sickness in the first few months, making food choices even more difficult. But read on till the end to know how you can improve your health and enable healthy growth for the baby by making wise food choices. Get all the answers to your pregnancy diet questions and find out what can work best for you and your baby.

What is the Importance of Superfoods During Pregnancy?

Nutrition is vital for the baby's and mother's health and well-being during pregnancy. And while you may take supplements for vitamins and minerals, they cannot replace the role of a balanced diet. Superfoods help ensure you receive all the requisite nutrition for –
  • Normal Fetal Growth – A balanced diet helps the baby grow and develop normally, reducing the risk of weak organs or low strength.
  • Low Risk of Premature Labor – Getting adequate nutrition can help avoid instances of premature labor, which is painful and risky for the mother.
  • Increased Birth Weight – Your baby's birth weight is critical to setting them on a path of good health, strength, and well-being. Eating superfoods helps ensure that your baby is born with a healthy weight.
  • Better Health in the Long Term – Pregnancy can take a toll on your body. Superfoods help you maintain your health and energy during your pregnancy and regain strength after childbirth.

Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

Here is a list of some pregnancy superfoods that can help improve the nutritional content of your daily diet. Use this list to create your pregnancy meal plan.

  1. Whole Grains

    Whole grains for pregnancy
    Whole grains are essential to any balanced diet. They are rich in nutritious plant compounds, calcium, and minerals and aid digestion due to their rich fiber content. Dalia, ragi, brown rice, and quinoa are the best whole grains for pregnancy. Ragi, or finger millet, is gluten-free and packed with essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Substitute your wheat roti with ragi roti to easily include whole grain foods for pregnancy.

  2. Also read - Healthy Flour Choices for a Healthier You

  3. Dairy Products

    Dairy Products for pregnancy
    Pregnant women need a higher intake of calcium and proteins to meet their babies' needs. Include dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and buttermilk in your daily diet. Dairy products constitute phosphorus, vitamin B, magnesium, zinc, and high quantities of calcium. The probiotic bacteria in yogurt are essential for gut health and digestion.

  4. Lean Meat

    Lean Meat for pregnancy
    Skinless lean meat such as chicken or turkey is an excellent addition to your diet during pregnancy. Lean meat contains lean protein, which is easy to digest and essential for strong muscles and tissues. Increase the protein content by adding some lean meat to your plate. It will also help you feel full for longer

  5. Legumes

    Legumes for pregnancy
    If you are a vegetarian, legumes are the best source of plant-based protein. Legumes include dals, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts. Legumes boost folate levels in your body, which is vital in the first trimester. Besides proteins, legumes provide fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

  6. Salmon

    Salmon for pregnancy
    Salmon is an excellent source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 aids your baby's brain and eye development. It also helps increase the gestational length to ensure your pregnancy goes full term. Avoid all seafood that may contain mercury and contaminants. But salmon, sardines, and anchovies are safe to eat and nutritious for pregnant mothers.

  7. Avocados

    Avocados for pregnancy
    One of the most beneficial fruits for pregnant mothers, avocado is also a versatile ingredient that can be added to various dishes and salads. Avocados are rich in monosaturated fatty acids, also known as healthy fats. They also contain antioxidants, potassium, copper, and vitamins B, K, E, and C. They help prevent muscle cramps, fetal neural tube defects, and brain developmental abnormalities.

  8. Eggs

    Eggs for pregnancy


    Another powerful protein source that aids brain development and helps avoid vision abnormalities in children. It is a rich source of amino acids and proteins vital for a balanced diet during pregnancy.

  9. Broccoli and Dark Leafy Greens

    Broccoli and Dark Leafy Greens
    Various green and leafy vegetables merit inclusion in your diet during pregnancy, owing to their rich nutrient content. However, broccoli is beneficial in maintaining your blood pressure, helps promote bone growth, and strengthens your baby's immune system. Leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, and cilantro are the best greens for pregnancy and are rich in vitamin A and fiber.

  10. Berries

    Berries for pregnancy
    Berries are a delicious source of water, carbohydrates, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Although berries are sweet tasting, they have a low glycemic index value. If you crave sweets during pregnancy, have a handful of blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries to satiate your craving without risking a spike in your blood sugar.

  11. Dried Fruit

    Dried fruits for pregnancy
    Dried Fruit – Dried fruits are rich in nutrition, calories, and sugar. Keep a small portion of dried fruit handy as a healthy snack for untimely hunger. Dried fruits like almonds, cashews, prunes, and walnuts are rich in minerals, vitamins, folate, and iron. However, as dried fruits also contain a significant amount of sugar, be careful about the quantity of dried fruits you consume daily. The recommended amount is a small handful once a day.

  12. Sweet Potatoes

    Sweet Potatoes for pregnancy
    Sweet potatoes contain a nutrient known as beta-carotene. The human body uses beta-carotene to produce vitamin A, essential to the baby's growth and development. Additionally, sweet potatoes contain fiber and proteins that help you feel full longer while improving digestion capacity. Sweet potatoes also help relieve constipation in pregnancy.

  13. Chia Seeds

    Chia seeds for pregnancy
    Chia seeds are a widely acclaimed superfood for pregnancy. Chia seeds have great nutritional content and can reduce sugar absorption in the human body. They contain fiber and omega-3 fats, which can minimize pregnancy depression. Add a sprinkle of chia seeds to yogurt, smoothie, or milkshake for added goodness.

  14. Hummus

    Hummus for pregnancy
    Hummus – Made from nutritious chickpeas, hummus is a delicious source of protein with low fat. It can help you lower your glycemic levels and offer an additional dose of protein to your meal.

  15. Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin seeds for pregnancy
    Dried pumpkin seeds are a crunchy and tasty source of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and magnesium. Pregnant women can add pumpkin seeds to salads, cereal bowls, and bread to eat them regularly. Daily pumpkin seeds can aid your baby's brain development and fulfill your calcium, magnesium, and folic acid needs.

  16. Orange Juice

    Orange juice for preganncy
    Freshly squeezed orange juice is a refreshing way to get calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid. In pregnancy, morning sickness may prevent you from eating fruit, but you can drink a glass of juice to get the required nutrients. Add orange juice to a smoothie or freeze it to make a delicious popsicle.

  17. Fish Liver Oil

    Fish liver oil for pregnancy
    Cod liver oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA. Taking cod liver capsules can reduce the risk of a preterm delivery while supplying your body with essential nutrients like Vitamin D, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids.

What Nutritional Content is Essential for Pregnant Women?

We all need nutritious food and a balanced diet to lead a healthy life. However, nutrition becomes critical during pregnancy –food is the fuel that helps your baby grow stronger. Here is a look at the essential nutrients that pregnant women should include in their daily diet –

  1. Folic Acid

    All pregnant women need at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily. It helps the baby's brain development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects.

  2. Calcium

    Pregnant women need 1000 milligrams of calcium every day. It promotes bone growth and improves muscle and nerve development in the baby.

  3. Iron

    An iron deficiency can cause serious complications in a pregnancy. Ensure you get at least 27 milligrams of iron daily to reduce the risk of premature birth and post-natal anemia.

  4. Vitamin D

    Doctors recommend 600 IU of Vitamin D daily for pregnant women. It helps in calcium absorption and bone formation.

  5. Iodine

    Iodine-enriched salt should be a part of your daily diet. 290 milligrams of iodine daily is essential to develop your baby's brain and nervous system.

  6. DHA

    DHA supplements or Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the baby's brain and eye development. Pregnant women should have at least 200 milligrams of DHA supplements daily.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Foods Should You Eat During Pregnancy?

    During pregnancy, it is recommended that you eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and cauliflower daily. Add lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and salmon to fulfill the requisite protein intake in pregnancy. If you are a vegetarian, you can choose plant-based protein sources like tofu, lentils, and nuts. Do not forget to include dairy products like milk, yogurt, and buttermilk.

  2. What Foods Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?

    Some foods may contain harmful bacteria like E. Coli, listeria, or salmonella. Pregnant women should not eat these foods, as the risk of infection is high. Here is a look at some examples of such food –
    • Raw alfalfa, mung bean, and raw sprouts
    • Seafood that may contain mercury, other metals, or harmful bacteria. For example, king mackerel fish or swordfish
    • Reheated hot dogs and luncheon meat
    • Soft cheese and pate
    • Raw dough
    • Untreated water
    • Meat, fish, or eggs that are completely or partially uncooked
    • Raw or unpasteurized milk, juice, or cider
  3. What Can Vegetarians or Vegans Eat During Pregnancy?

    Vegetarians and vegans should consciously regulate their daily diet to ensure they get the same nutrition that is commonly found in animal products. It is easy to find plant-based substitutes for nutrients in animal products, such as –
    • Proteins
    • Vitamins B12 and D
    • Iron
    • Calcium
    • Iodine
    Foods such as legumes, tofu, dark green vegetables, fortified foods, seeds, whole grains, dry fruits, soy-based milk/yogurt, and nutritional yeast can fulfill the nutrition needs of vegetarian and vegan women.

  4. Which Fruits Should Pregnant Women Avoid?

    Here is a look at some fruits that pregnant women should not consume –
    • Papaya – Raw or semi-ripe papaya contains latex, which can cause premature contractions and complications. Eating ripe papaya in small quantities is harmless, but steer clear of unripe or semi-ripe papaya.
    • Pineapple – Pineapples are also proscribed to pregnant women as they contain certain enzymes that can alter the cervix's texture to induce premature contractions. Pineapples may also cause diarrhea, which is harmful in pregnancy.
    • Grapes – In the final trimester, pregnant women are advised against consuming grapes. Eating grapes can generate heat in the body, which is unhealthy for both the mother and the baby.