In The Rough
During pregnancy, you need fiber more than ever to keep things running smoothly. Our five delicious recipes make getting your daily fix simple.
Some pregnancy annoyances are discussed in polite company. Morning sickness, check. Swollen ankles, check. But irregularity? It’s pretty much in the closet. Heartburn, constipation and indigestion are not uncommon, though, thanks to the hormone progesterone, which relaxes your stomach muscles, slowing digestion. Fortunately, fiber helps get things flowing again, and it’s easy to increase your intake.
Although not technically a nutrient, fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, fiber (roughage) is the part of the plant that we don’t digest. It acts as a broom and “sweeps” as it passes through your digestive system.
There are other pregnancy benefits as well. “A higher intake of cereal fiber (from grains) can help prevent the glucose intolerance that can lead to gestational diabetes,” says Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and author of Feed Your Family Right (Wiley). Studies have also shown that getting more than 21 grams of fiber per day during the first trimester can reduce your preeclampsia risk by up to two-thirds. Plus, research shows a link between a high-fiber diet and lowered risk of ovarian and cervical cancers.
Aim for 25–35 grams of fiber per day, Zied recommends. The following five delicious recipes, which also provide plenty of essential pregnancy nutrients, make it easy: