So, moms-to-be, stock up on these superfoods as soon as possible!
Yep, those green onions you normally see paired with cream cheese are in fact a great addition to your pregnancy diet. They contain 6.4 micrograms of folate for every 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives, and they’re also a great source of Iron and Vitamin C. As you’ll probably know, folate is one of the most important vitamins for pregnant women, but most don’t consume nearly enough. The answer? Load up on those chives! They’re quite mild in terms of taste, so add them to soups, salads, baked potatoes and anything else you can think of.
As though anyone needed an excuse to eat more of this delicious fish! But we’re giving them to you anyway. For pregnant women, salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fats which can help your baby’s development and might even improve your mood! It also has a low mercury content, which is good news as mercury can be harmful to your baby. Despite this though, it’s recommended to eat salmon (and other fish containing low mercury levels like canned tuna) only once per week during pregnancy. Just remember, not in sushi form!
Beans or Lentils
Pregnant women need extra protein and iron during their pregnancies in order to stay healthy and fight off anaemia. You can get a lot of this from lean meat, but as this can be expensive and isn’t vegetarian friendly, beans and lentils are the perfect addition to your diet during pregnancy. They’re also high in fibre, and lentils contain a significant amount of folate (just like chives!). Use them in soups or stews, as a meat replacer in chilli or curry, or add them to salads and rice dishes.
Whether you’re more a walnut girl or an almond lover, nuts are packed with minerals like selenium, zinc and potassium. They’re also high in Vitamin E, and some research suggests they might help prevent your baby from developing allergies. You might have heard that nuts are high in fat, and this is true – but they’re good fats which promote heart health, much like avocados or olive oil.
Many dairy products are beneficial during pregnancy, due to their protein and calcium content. Greek yoghurt contains the highest amount of calcium of all dairy products, but all dairy products and yoghurt contain high quality protein like casein and whey plus good amounts of magnesium and zinc. Just in case you needed any more convincing, Greek yoghurt can also be good for gut health due to the live probiotic bacteria (in some varieties). Trade your bacon for fruits and yoghurt, or have your favourite cereal with a dollop of delicious Greek yoghurt instead of milk.
Sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of beta-carotene. The body is very efficient at converting beta-carotene to Vitamin A, of which women are advised to increase their intake by up to 40% when pregnant. However, animal-based sources of Vitamin A (such as livers) are to be avoided as they can be toxic. So, sweet potatoes make the perfect substitute and are beneficial in aiding the development of your baby’s eyes, organs, skin and bones. Roast them instead of regular potatoes, fry them to eat alongside salad and lean meat, whizz them up into a delicious warming soup or try them as a topping on your cottage pie.
For added peace of mind during your pregnancy, why not look at our Birth Benefit, which covers your newborn against birth abnormalities and diseases.