5 Excellent Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
Pregnancy is such an incredible process. You are literally growing another human being. Like all things, having quality raw materials can result in a quality outcome. The human body is very resourceful. Here are 5 foods that anyone who plans to become pregnant one day or is currently pregnant can eat to help optimize the growth of a little one.
Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Protein is a necessary building block for human cells. And when it comes from animals, it contains the full amino acid profile allowing the body to utilize it efficiently. In addition, eggs contain choline which is essential in building baby's nervous system, similar to folate. Quality eggs contain DHA which is essential for baby's brain development. Just be sure to eat the whole egg! And getting the egg from pasture raised chickens will ensure that they have adequate amounts of these nutrients. And often, eggs are quite affordable. Want more awesome information on the importance of eggs in pregnancy? Check out Lily Nichol's article here.
Dark, leafy greens: You've probably heard how important it is to get folic acid in your diet when you are pregnant. However, folic acid is the synthetic (fake) version of folate. The good quality folate can be found in dark, leafy green vegetables. You can also find vitamins K, C and fiber. Vitamins A, D, E and K require fat for absorption. Some nutrients will be better absorbed raw, whereas some will be better absorbed cooked. Eat them in all forms, just make sure you add butter or quality oils to it. This will help with both nutrient absorption and satiation.
Red meat (plus, organ meat and bone broth): Animal protein provides a full amino acid profile and bio available nutrients better than any plant protein. As humans, we're designed to eat animal protein. It's also satiating. So, those cravings you have during pregnancy might be mitigated with a bit more animal protein. Red meat also provides iron, zinc and B vitamins. Organ meats provide tons of additional vitamins and minerals that you won't find anywhere else (hello, liver meatballs). Bone broth is great to keep your gut (and immune system) healthy. It can also help proved extra nutrients (like glycine) as your skin stretches and changes during pregnancy. You can buy it (my favorite local brands are Gold Bone Broth and Bones and Marrow) or you can make it yourself.
Sweet potatoes: This vegetable is naturally sweet and loaded with nutrients. Increasing your intake of starchy vegetables can also be helpful when you are decreasing your refined grain and sugar intake (to decrease overall inflammation for a healthier mama and baby). Just like the rest of your veggies, be sure to eat them with quality fat to ensure absorption of vitamin A. It also makes it much tastier!
Wild fish: Omega 3 fats are required for brain and nervous system development and function, especially in the form of DHA. Wild fish have some of the highest levels of absorbable DHA. They convert the omega 3 from the algae that they eat into a more bio available option for humans to consume. This is why it's super important to ensure you are eating wild fish. Farmed fish are often fed soy and feed and have much lower nutrient value. Should you be afraid of mercury content? To an extent. However, the selenium in wild fish helps to mitigate and detox the mercury content that the fish may contain. I also recommend a high quality fish oil supplement during pregnancy.
If you're looking for more in depth information on what to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy, my favorite resource is Lily Nichol's Real Food for Pregnancy.