- Things to Know About 15 Pregnancy Superfoods
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Hemp Protein Powder
- Almond Butter
- Greek Yogurt
Things to know about pregnancy power food (superfood)
- Power foods or superfoods are foods that have extra benefits beyond their nutritional content.
- Power foods can also be foods that are rich sources of many significant micronutrients.
- Examples of power foods are figs, hemp protein powder, Greek yogurt, peas, edamame, and avocados.
- A healthy diet during pregnancy should focus on optimizing micronutrient density within healthy calorie intake.
- These 15 pregnancy-power foods in the daily diet will help women meet these goals.
Often called pepitas, pumpkin seeds are typically hulled and roasted. These little green seeds are packed with iron and magnesium and many other healthful trace minerals.
- Like all nuts and seeds, they also are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are often deficient in the diet.
- Omega 3s are necessary for the brain and eye development of the fetus.
- Unsalted pumpkin seeds are excellent as a snack on their own.
- They also make a great crunchy topping for a roasted squash soup.
- It also is high in magnesium and other trace minerals.
- Molasses has a rich, sweet taste, and can be used as an alternative to honey or sugar in herbal tea or baked goods.
- It has a lower glycemic index than honey or sugar, making it a good choice to keep blood sugar stable and as part of a healthy diet to manage gestational diabetes.
Hummus is a tasty spread made from garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, and olive oil. Try it as a dip for raw veggie sticks or use it instead of mayonnaise to add a new healthy flavor to sandwiches.
- Hummus is high in protein and low in fat.
- Hummus has a very low glycemic load; and adding it to higher glycemic load foods, like bread or crackers, will add lower the impact of the total meal on your blood sugar.
- This makes it a useful food for managing and minimizing the effects of gestational diabetes.
We have many egg options in the grocery store now; how do pregnant women know which ones to choose? It is a myth that brown eggs are more nutritious, however, studies show that pasture-fed chickens produce eggs with more omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E because chicken eggs are affected by what the chickens are fed. Eggs marketed as "Omega-3 eggs" or "DHA eggs" do indeed have more omega-3s because these chickens have been fed flaxseed or krill oil or other sources of omega-3s. The same thing happens when pregnant women add these foods to their diet! Eggs are often vilified for the cholesterol they contain, however, developing fetuses need cholesterol (and so do mothers).
What may be more important than the cholesterol content of eggs is how we cook them.
- Frying or scrambling eggs glycosylates the proteins and oxidizes the cholesterol, creating the metabolites that contribute to heart disease.
- The best bet is to poach or hard boil eggs; these cooking methods protect the maximal nutritional value of these power foods.
For more information about advanced glycation end products (AGE), and the content of certain foods, please refer to this table from The Journal of American Dietetic Association (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/table/T1/).
- Lentils are filled with iron, folate, and all of the healthy trace minerals and B vitamins.
- There are several types of lentils.
- The red ones become very soft when cooked, making them perfect for creamy soups or Indian dhal.
- The green ones, sometimes called French lentils, stay firm when cooked. These make excellent salads when tossed with chopped veggies and a vinaigrette dressing.
- One avocado provides nearly a third of the required daily intake of folate, and because it is in its natural form, it is highly bioavailable (its ability to be absorbed and used by the body).
- Avocados are also high in carnitine and potassium. Try using avocado instead of butter on toast or sandwiches. Add it to a smoothie for a rich creamy flavor without the dairy.
Here's a tip: when using only part of an avocado, leave the remaining part attached to the pit. This will prevent it from turning brown so quickly.
Hemp protein powder
One easy way to ensure that pregnant women are getting enough protein is to use a protein powder. I recommend hemp protein for several reasons.
- Hemp protein is an excellent source of omega 3 fats, provides complete amino acids, and is high in zinc, iron, and magnesium.
- I also recommend it because few people are allergic to hemp (as compared to soy or whey protein; both of which commonly cause allergic reactions or symptoms of intolerance).
- Hemp protein can be used as a quick and easy meal replacement when mixed with almond milk or orange juice or combined with berries and other ingredients to make a smoothie.
Almond butter is delicious high-protein-power food.
- Almond butter, like all nuts, is rich in vitamin E, all the B vitamins, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
- While nut butter is high in fat, the fats are almost entirely in the form of healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Mix up the monotony of peanut butter by using almond butter in its place. Try it with celery sticks for a tasty nutritious snack that older children will enjoy too.
Oatmeal is a pregnancy power food for its high fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
- Good amounts of zinc and magnesium are also found in oatmeal.
- While slow cooking steel cut oats will provide the highest amount of fiber, instant oatmeal is an option too.
- Instant oatmeal can provide a fast, simple breakfast or snack as long it isn't too high in sugar.
- Artificially sweetened sugar-free oatmeal isn't a better option. If you can't find low-sugar instant oatmeal, make your own with raw quick rolled oats.
- Put oats in a bowl and add water to just barely saturate and cover the oats.
- Microwave for 1-2 minutes, add berries and nuts, and you've got a perfect pregnancy power breakfast!
Edamame is the Japanese term for fresh, boiled soybeans. These delicious green pods are typically available lightly salted and frozen. Simply thaw them out and pop the beans out of the pods to enjoy.
- Edamame is a pregnancy power food because it is an excellent source of protein and fiber.
- Edamame, like all soy foods, is also a great source of B vitamins, including folate.
- A cup of edamame provides a full day's worth of folate, and these tasty little beans are also packed with zinc, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Whether you enjoy frozen peas, snow peas, or baby pea-in-the-pod English shelling peas; peas are a great choice for pregnant women.
- Peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and folate.
- Plant-based proteins are important; they can substitute for pro-inflammatory animal proteins and are easily used by the body.
- Peas also have lots of vitamin C.
- Peas are an over-looked snack: simply microwave a small bowl of frozen peas and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Snap peas and snow peas travel well, making them great snacks to carry in a baggie in your purse.
Spinach is a pregnancy-power food and provides maximum micronutrient density per calorie.
- A single one-cup serving of spinach provides more than the daily requirement of vitamin A and K and nearly a full day's worth of folate.
- Spinach is also rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium. Enjoy spinach raw in a salad or steamed. Try steamed spinach with roasted garlic and a bit of coconut oil -- yum!
Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, making it a pregnancy-power food. Pregnant women need about 50% more protein in their diet than nonpregnant women.
Figs are a good source of fiber, calcium, and magnesium. They also contain lots of manganese, a trace mineral that is important for our natural antioxidant systems.
- Enjoy figs fresh or dried; on their own or added to a salad for a touch of sweetness.
- The combination of fiber and magnesium also makes figs a good choice to relieve constipation, a common problem for pregnant women.
This superfood sardine is one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D. Sardines are also rich in B-12, calcium, and selenium.
- Try eating canned sardines spread on crackers. Fresh anchovies, if you are lucky enough to be able to find them in your local fish market, are delicious simmered in a tomato herb sauce.
- Sardines are high in protein and omega-3 fats.
- Two sardines provide over 300 mg of these anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids.
- Because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they have less mercury and other toxins compared to larger fish. This makes them a good choice for pregnant women.
Top Pregnancy Superfoods Related Articles
Cramps But No PeriodHaving cramps but no period can occur because of conditions other than your monthly menstrual cycle. They may feel like period cramps of the lower abdomen when you are not due for your period and produce no blood. These 12 diseases and conditions are examples of what can cause abdominal cramping when not on period.
Does Throwing Up Help Morning Sickness?
16 Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy: Could You Be Pregnant?What are the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy? Can you know before your missed period? Read about nausea and vomiting (morning sickness), bloating, tender breasts, and more. Explore first trimester symptoms of pregnancy and learn what week pregnancy symptoms start.
Am I Pregnant QuizWhat are early pregnancy symptoms? In some women, symptoms range from a missed period to feeling lightheaded. Others may experience typical "morning sickness" and food cravings. Could you be pregnant? Take the quiz!
Embryo vs. Fetus: Differences Between Stages Week by WeekThe embryonic stage of pregnancy occurs from the moment of conception until the 11th week pregnancy, or first trimester. During this time the embryo develops major body structures, for example, the organs, heart, and main blood vessels. At this stage the baby's heart begins to beat. The fetal stage, or second trimester is next, and begins during the 11th week of pregnancy, and continues through to week #40. During this time the baby's organs and structures continue to develop, the fetus' gender can be identified, and fetal movement begins. The fetus is about 2 pounds by the 27th week. During the third trimester the baby is the size, and has the characteristics of a newborn. The greatest risk of miscarriage is during the very early stages of pregnancy before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
Exercise & PregnancyPregnancy exercises and workouts for moms-to-be include Kegel exercises and prenatal yoga. A prenatal workout is an important part of healthy living. Try these safe exercises for pregnancy.
First Trimester (12 Weeks) PictureThe Baby at 12 Weeks. The nerves and muscles begin to work together. See a picture of First Trimester (12 Weeks) and learn more about the health topic.
Labor and DeliveryEarly and later symptoms and signs of labor and delivery are unique to each woman. Early signs of labor are "lightning" and passing the mucus plug. Later symptoms and signs that labor that labor is are the woman's water breaking, and when contractions begin. There are three stages of labor, stage 1 is the longest and occurs when the cervix begins to thin and dilate. During stage 2 of labor the baby passes through the birth canal and remains there until delivery, and stage 3, is when the baby is delivered.
Lumbar LordosisLumbar lordosis or "swayback," lower back curvature), in children, adults, and women who are pregnant is an abnormal posture with a low back curve. Symptoms of lumbar lordosis in include lower back pain and discomfort, difficulty in moving certain directions due to back pain, and a large gap or arch between the lower back and a flat surface when you lay down.
Common causes of lumbar lordosis in children, adults, and during pregnancy include obesity, kyphosis, bad posture, genetics, and other disorders of the spine. Treatment for lumbar lordosis include exercise, weight loss, surgery, and pain medication. Lumbar lordosis can be reversed and cured; however, it depends on how severe the symptoms are. Lumbar lordosis treatments may help reduce pain and other symptoms or Mild lordosis in children may be cured without treatment, while severe lumbar lordosis needs surgery to fix. Lumbar lordosis can be reversed "cured" or go back to normal or near normal.
Pregnancy Myths and Facts QuizBeing pregnant is a delicate time for both mother and baby. Take this pregnancy myths and facts quiz to separate the myths and facts about being pregnant, and learn the truth behind healthy pregnancies!
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms: Am I Pregnant?Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms including missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
What Foods Should I Eat During My First Trimester of Pregnancy?What to know about diet during the first trimester. Learn more about how to protect and fuel your body and baby during this exciting time.
Stillbirth (Stillborn Baby)About 1% of pregnancies overall result in stillbirth, meaning that there are about 24,000 stillborn births each year in the U.S. A number of diseases and conditions as well as problems with the pregnancy or health of the mother can all be causes of stillbirth. The most common symptom of stillbirth is not feeling the baby moving or kicking.
What Is the Principle of Ultrasonography?Ultrasound devices send ultrasonic soundwaves through tissue. The device measures how long the waves take to “echo” or return to the device, much like SONAR used by submarines. The programming in the device uses that data to assemble an image nearly in real time; different densities of tissue show up as different concentrations of lighted pixels on the screen, allowing doctors to map the internal structure of the organ or tissue.
Pregnant? Don't Eat ThisDo you know which common foods may be risky during pregnancy? Learn which foods to avoid, while pregnant, such as queso dip, lunch meat, coffee and more.
Which Trimester Do You Gain the Most Weight During Pregnancy?You don't need to gain much weight during the first trimester, however, during the second and third trimesters your weight gain should be pretty steady.