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Discover the 19 foods you need to have a healthy pregnancy, and how to add them to your diet.
During pregnancy, you must take care of your diet and make sure that your diet is balanced and varied, as nutritional requirements change and health problems could occur, both in the mother and in the baby.
Today we tell you what foods should not be missing from your menu if you are pregnant, and we give you ideas on how you can prepare them in the kitchen so that their consumption is healthy, rich, and nutritious.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, green asparagus, broccoli, chard, watercress, or lettuce, for example, are the foods that have the highest concentration of folate or folic acid, a fundamental vitamin during pregnancy.
Because they are important? Folic acid is very important during pregnancy because it helps prevent defects in the baby’s neural tube. Although you must take folic acid supplements in pill form, you should also take care of your diet with foods that guarantee a natural supply of this important vitamin.
How to add them to the diet? Vegetables are very easy to incorporate into the diet as an accompaniment to other dishes in the form of salads, but you can also eat them cooked. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that folic acid is thermosensitive, so it is lost with heat and certain forms of cooking. In this regard, it is best to opt for cooking techniques such as steam or microwave.
Although vegetables of all colors should not be missing from the diet of pregnant women, carrots deserve a special mention for the many properties they contain and their important health benefits.
Because they are important? They are a source of vitamin A and carotenoids that are required for skin, hair, and visual health as well as for the healthy growth and development of the unborn baby.
How do add them to the diet? It can be consumed raw, with or without skin (in the latter case its correct prior washing is essential ) or incorporated into any type of salad. But in addition, the carrot can be included in any stew or as the main ingredient in hot or cold creams, and desserts such as cakes and biscuits. In Directo al Paladar they offer us endless recipes with carrots, each one more exquisite.
Red pepper is food with valuable nutrients, many of them with an antioxidant effect. But above all, it stands out for its high content of vitamin C.
Because they are important? Vitamin C will not only help strengthen your immune system but also help absorb calcium and iron, which are so important at this stage of life.
How to add them to the diet? You can consume them raw (always well washed), but also cooked. Take advantage of all its virtues by taking it together with iron sources of plant origin, such as legumes or green leaves. Another option is to eat them roasted, which is a perfect companion for any dish.
Legumes such as lentils or chickpeas are a source of fiber and vegetable protein for the body, but also important sources of folic acid, iron, iodine, and zinc.
Because they are important? Folic acid is very important during pregnancy as it helps prevent birth defects in the baby’s neural tube. For its part, zinc is essential to strengthening defenses. Regarding the fiber they contain, it is an ally food for intestinal transit.
How do add them to the diet? You can include them in a lot of dishes, such as traditional stews, hummus, purees or creams, or cold salads.
Avocado is a fruit with many beneficial properties for health that deserves a separate mention. It contains fatty acids, vitamin K, fiber, and also a great contribution of folic acid. It is the perfect ally during pregnancy!
Because they are important? The fatty acids it contains are essential in the diet of pregnant women as they contribute to the neurological development of the baby. Another exceptional quality of this magnificent fruit is that it helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and improves the immune system thanks to its high content of carotenoids.
How to add it to the diet? This fruit is very versatile, and its flavor and texture allow it to be enjoyed both in savory dishes (for example, in salads or on toast ), as well as in desserts or smoothies.
The banana is a source of complex carbohydrates, with natural sugars that are accompanied by fiber and therefore can calm the craving for something sweet in a healthy way.
Because they are important? The banana also offers substances with a prebiotic effect that can benefit the intestinal flora and thus help prevent or reverse constipation. It is also an excellent source of potassium that will help you fight the dreaded muscle cramps.
On the other hand, bananas help reduce cholesterol levels, combat depression, minimize heartburn (so common during the last stage of pregnancy, especially), and prevent anemia, thanks to their high iron content.
How to add it to the diet? Consume the piece as it is, or include the banana in cake, muffin, or sponge cake recipes.
Surely many of you have heard the association that is popularly made between eating apples and having good health, and that is that this fruit, which we can find throughout the year, has endless properties for our body.
Because they are important? The apple has high water content, so it is perfect for hydrating the body (remember the importance of maintaining proper hydration during pregnancy !), reduces fluid accumulation, and prevents muscle cramps. In addition, it is an excellent source of fiber, helping to prevent constipation.
How to add it to the diet? Consume the piece as it is, or include the apple in cake recipes, compote to add to your breakfast toast, or roasted, to add a sweet and healthy dessert to your meal.
Blueberries are a typical summer fruit with great health properties and are especially beneficial during pregnancy.
Because they are important? They stand out for their antioxidant power, their fiber content, and their high contribution of vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, E, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. In addition, consumed daily they are perfect to prevent or combat urinary tract infections, so frequent during pregnancy.
How do add them to the diet? Combine this delicious red fruit with natural yogurt or whole grains, and enjoy all its benefits. You can also make tasty pancakes for breakfast, incorporate them into a salad or prepare healthy ice cream.
Raisins, like other dried or dehydrated fruits, have low water content and concentrate many of the nutrients present in fresh fruit.
Because they are important? They have anti-inflammatory properties and are very useful to prevent or reverse constipation. Among the minerals they have, calcium, potassium, iron (1.9 mg per 100g), and magnesium stand out, and they also have a minimum of vitamin C.
How do add them to the diet? You can consume them as a healthy snack or mixed with cereals for breakfast. You can also add them to salads, couscous, or pudding, or make rolls and sweet desserts.
Citrus fruits, such as orange mandarins, grapefruit, lemons, or limes, stand out, especially for their aroma, juiciness, and freshness. They are the perfect snack to quench hunger and thirst and provide multiple properties for pregnancy.
Because they are important? Including these fruits in your diet daily will provide you with a large amount of fiber and vitamin C, helping to improve intestinal transit and strengthening the immune system. In addition, they are a source of calcium, carotenoids, vitamin A and potassium.
If you are low in iron (something very common at this stage), always take the supplement indicated by the doctor accompanied by citrus fruits to achieve greater absorption of this mineral.
How to add them to the diet? In addition to consuming it as a piece of fruit, without more, citrus fruits combine with a wide variety of dishes, such as roasts, salads, or ceviches. You can also include them as the main ingredient in the preparation of savory pastries, and of course in juices or sweet desserts.
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews are the perfect and healthy snack during pregnancy, due to their multiple beneficial properties for your health and that of pregnancy.
Because they are important? They are a source of quality fats, among which monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids stand out, including omega 3, which is so important in pregnancy. They also contain vegetable calcium, fiber, proteins, potassium, vitamins, and important levels of iodine, folic acid, and zinc. For their part, almonds are an excellent source of iron.
How to add them to the diet? The nuts that you incorporate into your diet should be natural or roasted, and the easiest and fastest option is to eat them as a snack or in salads. In Vitónica they offer us more ideas to consume nuts healthily.
Chia, flaxseed, sesame, or sunflower seeds are excellent foods to incorporate into the diet, especially during pregnancy, as they contain endless properties.
Because they are important? Chia seeds, for example, provide omega 3 of plant origin (a highly recommended option for pregnant vegetarians ). They are also a source of potassium, vitamin E, zinc, vegetable proteins, fiber, calcium, and folic acid.
How do add them to the diet? Try mixing them with natural yogurt or incorporating them into salads. You can also make recipes for pudding, seed cookies, muffins, or even refreshing drinks.
Unlike refined grains, which we should reduce in our usual diet, whole grains or derivatives of whole grains have greater benefits for our health. Therefore, we recommend you include grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or whole-wheat bread.
Because they are important? Whole grains have much more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and proteins, making them a very good quality food with beneficial effects on the body. In pregnancy, they are also the perfect ally to combat constipation.
How do add them to the diet? Substitute whole wheat flour for white flour to make healthy cupcakes, mug cakes, or homemade pieces of bread. As for brown rice, you can incorporate it into salads, stews, or stir-fries. About quinoa, you can incorporate it into your diet in so many ways that we leave you a list of healthy recipes that you will surely love.
Special mention deserves oats for being one of the cereals with more properties and nutrients; perfect to incorporate into the diet from infancy, and of course during pregnancy.
Because it is important? Oatmeal stands out for its richness in fiber, folic acid, zinc, and potassium, necessary for the pregnant body. It is also a source of minerals such as calcium and iron.
How to add it to the diet? Oats can be cooked in many ways, from traditional energy bars, cookies, or biscuits, to savory recipes such as soups or hamburgers.
Among the fish that should not be missing from the pregnant woman’s diet, salmon is one of those that contain the greatest properties. Also, since it is not a large fish, the chances of it having mercury are minimal.
Because it is important? It is a blue or fatty fish, which contains appreciable amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are so important during pregnancy for the correct development of the baby’s brain. It is also a source of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium.
How to add it to the diet? You can prepare it in snack dishes, salads, glaze, baked, or stews. It also supports other cooking techniques such as iron or steam. The only precaution you should take is not to consume it raw.
Crustaceans such as prawns, Norway lobsters or shrimp, mollusks such as clams or mussels, and cephalopods such as squid, cuttlefish, or octopus, are perfect foods to include during pregnancy, as they provide endless health properties.
But it is important to reduce their consumption to a maximum of three or four pieces per week, as well as to avoid large species (lobsters, for example) because they can contain mercury, which is harmful during pregnancy.
Because it is important? Seafood is rich in protein, which helps muscle development, and is especially rich in iodine, which also helps regulate cholesterol, process carbohydrates and strengthen hair, skin, and nails. Another of its important properties are omega 3 acids and vitamin D, which help fight depression.
How to add it to the diet? When eating shellfish, it is important not to eat it raw, or suck on the heads of the crustaceans, as they may contain cadmium. Seafood admits a [endless ways of cooking] (Seafood in the children’s diet: tips and suggestions for its preparation and consumption), such as steamed, grilled, in stews, rice dishes, sautéed, salads, and fried foods, although this last option is better to limit due to its high-fat content.
Eggs offer 100% protein in their white, while in the yolk we find, in addition to protein, quality fats for the body, among which monounsaturated fatty acids stand out.
Because it is important? In addition to all this, eggs are a source of B vitamins (including folic acid ), vitamin A, carotenes, vitamin D (very helpful in facilitating calcium absorption), minerals such as phosphorus and potassium, and an excellent source of iron, essential for a healthy pregnancy.
How to add it to the diet? There are so many ways to cook this food, that you will surely find the one you like the most. From the traditional omelets or broken eggs, to scrambled, stuffed, poached, cooked in salads, baked, or even in yogurt.
Cereals, legumes, vegetables… several foods contain calcium, but milk is, according to experts, the main and best source of calcium, both because of the high levels it contains and because of its high bioavailability.
Because it is important? Our body needs calcium to function properly, but calcium during pregnancy is essential for the baby to build its bones, teeth, heart, coagulation systems, and muscles.
In addition, milk contains vitamins A, B2, and B12, vitamin D, minerals such as sodium, magnesium, potassium or phosphorus, carbohydrates (lactose), fats, and high-quality proteins, essential for the development of tissues and organs
How to add it to the diet? It is very comfortable and easy to incorporate milk into the diet in the form of a glass, natural yogurt, or a portion of cheese, to give an example.
Among the different types of oils that we can consume, extra virgin olive oil is one of the most advisable. for its richness in beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids for the body and also for its richness in antioxidant polyphenols.
Because it is important? Extra virgin olive oil offers benefits to cardiovascular health, reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It has omega 3, polyphenols, and vitamin E, and has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
How to add it to the diet? Use the oil to make all kinds of dishes, both sweet and savory. To consume it raw, add it to salads in the form of healthy dressings, gazpachos, and salmorejos, or a splash on toast for breakfast.