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Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

Most pregnant women are fairly conscious of their diet and health, trying their best to eat fresh and healthy foods and avoid all the evils associated with listeria contamination, weight gain and general poor health.

But more often than not our focus is on what not to eat, rather than what we should be incorporating into our diets.

According to dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan, what you eat during pregnancy is extremely important, affecting your own health as well as your baby’s health now and into the future.

“By eating a whole food, minimally processed diet with low GI foods you help control your blood glucose and insulin levels, reducing your risk of developing gestational diabetes,” says Dr McMillan.

“You’ll also gain a healthy amount of weight, making it easier for you to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight afterwards, but this also helps your baby to be a healthy weight.

“The way you eat can also affect your baby’s risk of allergies (be sure not to avoid potentially allergenic foods) and even their taste for new foods later.”

What should a healthy pregnancy diet include?

Eating as many natural foods is important during pregnancy to ensure you obtain all of the nutrients found in whole foods while avoiding the potentially harmful ingredients found in highly processed foods.

According to Dr McMillan, one of the best food products to incorporate into your diet, is psyllium.

Psyllium, which comes from the outer husk of the seed of a particular plant, is considered a super food at the best of times, but particularly during pregnancy.

“It’s an incredible source of fibre and soluble fibre in particular,” says Dr McMillan.

“It has the potential to assist with blood glucose control, reduce constipation, reduce blood levels of ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol, lower blood pressure and may help in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.”

Best of all, it’s really easy to take when other fibre-rich foods can be too bulky to eat particularly in later pregnancy when women may not be able to eat much in one meal.

“You can simply dissolve in water and drink, or add to smoothies, yoghurt, pancake or muffin mixes, or even through mashed potato,” says Dr McMillan.

Head to your health food isle or chemist and look for a product containing 100% natural psyllium fibre, such as Metamucil.Dr McMillan_breakoutbox

Other ways to increase fibre are:

  • eat plenty of veggies (aiming for at least 5 different veggies in your day),
  • a couple of pieces of fruit a day
  • Snack on a handful of nuts
  • sprinkle seeds into your salads and over veggies,
  • choose wholegrain versions of rice, pasta, bread and breakfast cereal

Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy:

Salmon is also a great choice during pregnancy due to its high content of long chain omega-3 fats, which baby needs for brain development.

Another one is natural yoghurt.

“Because the baby needs calcium for bone growth and if you don’t eat enough it will come from your own bones,” says Dr McMillan.

“Plus there may be additional benefits from the probiotic bacteria found in yoghurt.”

Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy as demands are increased so Dr McMillan recommends making sure you include red meat in your diet while you’re expecting.

Avocado –  delicious and easy to include in your diet, it’s a terrific source of folate required for healthy development of your baby as well as delivering healthy fats, fibre and several other nutrients.

“The emerging field of epigenetics is showing us that your diet during pregnancy (and before) has an impact on your baby’s risk of all sorts of chronic diseases later in life,” says Dr McMillan.

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