Foods you should be eat­ing

Your Pregnancy - - Pregnancy Files -

LEAFY GREENS

Think of go­ing green in more than one way as a mom-to-be. “In­cor­po­rate spinach, kale, cab­bage and broc­coli into diet. They con­tain iron, fo­late, mag­ne­sium, vi­ta­min C and fi­bre,” says Jo­han­nes­burg-based reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Shani Co­hen. “Dur­ing preg­nancy, the amount of blood in your body in­creases by up to 50 per­cent. You need more iron to make more haemoglobi­n for all that ex­tra blood. So, whiz them up in your food pro­ces­sor, have a salad or cook some up as a side dish. And don’t for­get to wash them well!”

“These are also fi­brous foods, which can help with the con­sti­pa­tion that’s of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing preg­nancy,” adds Caylin Good­child, a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian at Con­course Med­i­cal and Den­tal Cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg.

EGGS

“Peo­ple of­ten think to avoid eggs dur­ing preg­nancy, as raw egg can con­tain sal­mo­nella if not prop­erly cooked,” says Jo­han­nes­burg-based reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Nathalie Mat. “But hard-boiled or prop­erly cooked pas­teurised eggs are a won­der­ful source of choline, a nu­tri­ent that’s re­quired in larger amounts dur­ing preg­nancy and is im­por­tant for the de­vel­op­ment of your baby’s brain and ner­vous sys­tem.”

GINGER

If you’ve been hit hard by morn­ing sick­ness, this one’s for you. “Some stud­ies have shown that ginger could re­duce nau­sea and vom­it­ing in preg­nant women, but you should stick to con­sum­ing less than 1 000 to 1 500mg per day,” Shani says. “Adding ginger to stir fries or soups, or boil­ing sliced ginger in wa­ter to drink will help to set­tle the stom­ach and bring re­lief. Ginger also helps to boost the im­mune sys­tem and keep blood sugar lev­els sta­ble, as well as be­ing an ex­cel­lent rem­edy for heart­burn.”

NUTS AND SEEDS

“Filled with protein, omega 3’s, fo­late, and vi­ta­min E, nuts and seeds are nu­tri­ent dense and a great ad­di­tion to the diet. The fi­bre that nuts and seeds give is also help­ful in aid­ing di­ges­tion and pre­vent­ing con­sti­pa­tion,” Shani says. “Great ways to in­cor­po­rate nuts and seeds in the diet in­clude: top­ping your yo­ghurt or por­ridge with pump­kin seeds or wal­nuts, sprin­kling cashews on your salad or adding al­monds and chia seeds to a smoothie.”

Emily Innes, a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian in Cape Town, adds that in­cor­po­rat­ing foods that are rich in healthy mono-un­sat­u­rated fats, such as nuts and seeds, into each meal can also help you feel fuller for longer, while help­ing to re­duce crav­ings.

FRUIT

“It’s im­por­tant to aim for two por­tions of fruit per day, es­pe­cially dur­ing the se­cond and third trimester. Di­ges­tion slows down dur­ing preg­nancy, which can lead to con­sti­pa­tion. Eat­ing fruits daily can help in­crease your fi­bre in­take and make you more reg­u­lar. Fruits also con­tain good amounts of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als that are es­sen­tial for the de­vel­op­ment of both baby and mom’s im­mune sys­tems,” Shani says.

OILY FISH

“Try and eat fish twice a week to en­sure ad­e­quate omega-3 in­take,” Nathalie says. “Omega 3 is used to build baby’s brain, and good in­take dur­ing preg­nancy may play a role in re­duc­ing the risk of post­na­tal de­pres­sion. To get ad­e­quate omega 3’s, fo­cus on eat­ing fatty-fleshed fish such as pilchards, mack­erel, sar­dines, snoek, her­ring and trout. Some coun­tries rec­om­mend lim­it­ing salmon in­take, as it can be high in mer­cury de­pend­ing on where it was caught. In the ab­sence of lo­cal guide­lines, I would rec­om­mend eat­ing salmon spar­ingly.” Take an omega-3 sup­ple­ment. Many pre­na­tal vi­ta­min packs in­clude an omega-3 cap­sule, so check yours to be sure.

LEGUMES

Foods like chick­peas, lentils, sugar beans, peas and even peanuts all be­long to a group of foods that are called legumes.

Nathalie says, “They are a nat­u­rally lean source of protein and starch, as well as plenty of fi­bre. Adding beans to your diet will boost your fi­bre in­take while in­creas­ing the in­take of min­er­als such as mag­ne­sium and iron, de­pend­ing on the legume eaten.” Caylin adds, “One cup of lentils can meet 90 per­cent of your fo­late needs for the day. This is a B-vi­ta­min that’s nec­es­sary for the growth of your baby’s spinal cord and brain through­out preg­nancy. Think of adding var­i­ous legumes to sal­ads, soups and stews.”

DAIRY PROD­UCTS

“Dur­ing preg­nancy you have high cal­cium needs, as your body uses the cal­cium from your diet to build strong bones and teeth for your baby,” Emily says. “Your body will al­ways pri­ori­tise the needs of your grow­ing baby over your own needs. So, if you don’t get enough cal­cium from your diet, then your body will di­vert its own cal­cium to your baby. This will end up com­pro­mis­ing your own bones and teeth. Aim to eat two cups of dairy prod­ucts per day.”

These foods in­clude yo­ghurt, milk, and pas­teurised hard cheese (like Ched­dar, Gouda, Edam, Parme­san).

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