Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant
Why The amino acids found in protein are the building blocks of your baby's body.
Where Get the daily recommended amount of 60 grams from any three of the following servings: 1 egg, 2 to 3 ounces cooked meat, 8 ounces skim milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1 ounce hard cheese, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans.
Why Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and certain vegetables, provide long-lasting energy and fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Avoid simple carbohydrates -- found in white sugar, white flour, and the foods that contain them (cakes, white bread) -- because they are nutritionally empty and fattening.
Where You'll need a whopping nine servings a day, which might come from: 1 slice whole wheat bread, 1 tortilla, 1/2 bagel, 1 ounce cold cereal, 1/2 cup cooked pasta or rice, 1 medium potato, 1/2 cup corn.
Why Fats are an important source of energy, and they help you metabolize vitamins A, D, E, and K. Still, fats supply a lot of calories, so limit them to no more than one-third of your daily count.
Where Have four of the following servings daily: 2 ounces cheese, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 3/4 cup tuna salad, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 3 or 4 ounces lean meat, 1 egg or egg yolk, 1/2 small avocado, 1 tablespoon butter. When cooking, stick to the more healthful unsaturated fats, including olive, canola, and peanut oils. Avoid less desirable saturated fats, found in meat and dairy products, as well as palm and coconut oils.
Why Calcium is critical in building your baby's bones and teeth. If you don't consume enough during pregnancy, the fetus will rob your calcium stores, putting you at risk for bone loss.
Where To get the necessary 1,200 milligrams, consume at least four of the following servings: 8 ounces skim milk, 1 cup raw dark green leafy vegetables (salad greens, broccoli, spinach, kale), 3 to 4 ounces canned salmon or sardines, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup yogurt, or 1 ounce hard cheese.
Why Iron is required to make hemoglobin, the red-blood-cell component that carries oxygen through the bloodstream. During pregnancy, more hemoglobin is required to supply your baby with oxygen. And the fetus also uses iron to build its own blood supply.
Where Pregnant women need twice as much iron -- about 30 milligrams a day -- so your doctor may prescribe a prenatal vitamin that contains iron. You should also try to eat some of the following foods daily: dried fruits, lean red meat, dried beans and pasta, whole-grain breads, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Why This nutrient is essential because it helps in the manufacture of collagen, a protein that provides structure to your baby's bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means that it helps prevent disease.
Where Your body can't store vitamin C, so it's crucial that you consume the necessary 65 milligrams daily. Get it by eating two to three of the following servings: 1/2 cup citrus-fruit juice, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 medium orange, 1/2 cup cantaloupe, 1/2 cup shredded cabbage or coleslaw, 2/3 cup cooked broccoli, 3/4 cup cooked cauliflower, 1 1/2 large tomatoes.
Why This B vitamin is used to produce the extra blood you and your baby need and helps some enzymes function. Taken before conception and early in pregnancy, folic acid also helps prevent neural-tube defects (which occur when the brain, spinal cord, or their coverings do not form normally) and cleft lip or palate (a gap in the lip or roof of the mouth).
Where Good sources of folic acid include leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, lean beef, oranges, lentils, and peanuts. The FDA now requires that pastas, breads, and grains be enriched with folic acid, so be sure to eat plenty of these complex carbs. Your doctor may also prescribe a supplement -- 0.4 milligram a day for most women, 4.0 milligrams if you are at risk of having a baby with a neural-tube defect.
Why This nutrient is vital to healthy skin, bones, and eyes and helps to create the cells that will make up your baby's internal organs.
Where You'll get all you need each day (800 micrograms) with just four servings of the following: 3/4 cup vegetable juice, 3/4 cup dark yellow vegetables, 8 ounces milk, 1/2 cup cantaloupe, 1 large peach or nectarine, 1 cup dark leafy vegetables. Caution: Excessive levels of vitamin A (over 10,000 IU) can be harmful to you and your baby, so don't overdo it with supplements.
Why Vitamin D helps build bone, tissue, and teeth. It also enables your body to use calcium and phosphorus.
Where Your four 8-ounce servings of skim milk are about the best source of the 10 micrograms you need daily. Egg yolks, sardines, and canned salmon also provide vitamin D. Or get a little sunshine, which helps your skin manufacture it.
Why This new addition to the must-have pregnancy diet has recently proved to aid fetal growth.
Where You can get the necessary 20 milligrams a day in your recommended amount of whole grains, meat, and milk, as well as oysters, shellfish, and other seafood.
Why Water is essential for developing new cells, maintaining blood volume, and processing other nutrients. It also minimizes swelling, constipation, and your risk of urinary tract infections.
Where Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day, including milk, fruit juices, and decaffeinated tea or coffee.
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