Eating right should take center stage when you’re pregnant. That means the foods you eat must provide as many nutritional benefits as possible. Enter functional foods, which supply all of the nutrients crucial to your well-being and your baby’s growth. Following are the most important foods to eat during pregnancy.
Although there is no official limit on egg consumption for pregnant women, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one egg per day for a healthy person, as long as total daily cholesterol does not exceed 300 mg. (One egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol.)
What you get: Protein, more than a dozen vitamins (including A and B12), minerals and choline.
Most berries, including blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries, contain beneficial phytochemicals, which
act as antioxidants that rid the body of cell-damaging free radicals.
What you get:Carbohydrates, vitamin C, fiber, folate and fluid.
Plain yogurt contains more calcium than milk does and is the richest of all yogurts in zinc. Some new brands are now fortified with vitamin D; check the label to be sure.
What you get:Calcium, carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins and zinc.
Whole grains, including oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice, contain more fiber and trace nutrients than processed grains, such as white bread, white rice and white flour.
What you get:Carbohydrates and fiber. Enriched whole grains are fortified with folic acid and other B vitamins, iron and zinc; some grain products may contain added calcium and vitamin D.
Eye of round, top round, round tip, bottom round, top loin and tenderloin are among the leanest cuts available.
What you get: Protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and the minerals zinc and iron in their most absorbable form. Beef is one of the most concentrated food sources of choline.
Eating cheese after a meal may thwart cavity formation by neutralizing the
mouth acids that promote dental decay and gingivitis. Why is this important? Because gingivitis during pregnancy can result in premature delivery.
What you get:Protein, carbohydrates, fat, calcium and vitamin B12.
Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soybeans and peanuts are part of the legume family. Peanuts excepted, legumes are a great alternative to fatty sources of protein and are a good source of nutrients for vegetarians during pregnancy.
What you get: Carbohydrates, protein, fiber, iron, folate, calcium and zinc.
There are two main types of sweet potatoes: dry-fleshed and moist-fleshed. Throughout the United States, the moist-fleshed, orange variety is often improperly referred to as a yam.
What you get:Carbohydrates, vitamin C, folate and fiber.
The florets contain a higher concentration of nutrients and phytochemicals than the rest of the plant, though the stems and leaves are also nutritious.
What you get:Carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and folate.
While seafood is generally low in fat, the type of fat it does contain is largely the heart-healthy omega-3 variety. Fattier species, such as salmon, cod and haddock, are excellent sources of omega-3.
What you get:Protein, B vitamins and small but significant levels of iron and zinc.
Soy milk is an acceptable alternative to cow’s milk as long as it’s fortified with at least 30 percent of the daily value for calcium and at least 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin D.
What you get: Calcium, carbohydrates, protein, fat (if not fat-free) and vitamins B and D.