Are there any pregnancy super foods that I should start eating now?
Super foods are clean healthy foods rich in nutritive values and prevent unnecessary stress on the digestive system and cause adverse responses such as indigestion weight gain water retention, feeling of bloating etc.
Taking a holistic meal throughout lifetime is an ideal situation but especially during pregnancy and lactation it can truly work wonders.
Foods which are antioxidants are important to be consumed such as fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, water and sprouts. Body during pregnancy undergoes amazing adaptations and wear and tear for which good quality proteins are essential and in appropriate quantities. Consuming good protein sources are actually super foods.
Food has to be soothing and should not affect your digestive system too much. Probiotics, easily digestible foods this is important. Yogurts, curds, buttermilk are examples of probiotics which help one to improve digestion, gut health and deliver super foods that can be easily absorbed and processes. Fermented foods are also easy digestible and are super rich in nutrition.
Vegetarians have a challenge of ensuring the optimum protein needs which are to be consumed at the rate of 1 g for each kg of body weight. For example if a woman weights 78 kgs she has to consume 78 grams of proteins ideally. Now proteins can pose digestion issues as the typical sources are pulses in vegetarian or vegan foods. Vegetarians do consume milk and milk products but vegans completely avoid animal food sources so milk is out.
Thus when one depends on pulses solely for protein sourcing they should be made easily digestible. For this soaking, sprouting, fermenting and thorough cooking is important. This way these proteins will be easily digested and its valued components the amino acids will be available for your own body wear and tear as well as for the baby as proteins are the building blocks of the body.
Good fibre is actually another super food. Fibres are soluble as well as non-soluble. These are important as they form bulk and therefore help in easy passage of the food after digestion to be excreted in the form of stools. Fibres consumed in the right quantity helps in overcoming constipation. Fibres also help in normalizing blood sugars and therefore are an important constituent in the food of women who have abnormal sugars during pregnancy. They are known to reduce the glycemic index of the food and therefore sudden sugar spikes are prevented. Maintaining constant sugar levels is a mantra of health during pregnancy. This is important as Indian women are at a very high risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy and this can continue to prevail through your lifetime. Fibres also help in maintaining gut health and gut motility.
Non vegetarian food consumption practices in India leave lots to be desired. One challenge is the consumption is infrequent and two the dishes are many a time extremely spicy and food of excess oil. This needs to be modified. Moreover meats have to be sourced from hygienic sources, should be fresh and cooked well. Ensuring adequate, healthy and well cooked meats is essential to avoid indigestion and bloating.
Green leafy vegetable and fruits vegetables, salads have been identified to be super foods. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of quality and sumptuous greens (200 grams daily) have reduced the built up of oxidative stress and have phenomenally reduced bloating, water logging, constipation and diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Greens are wonderful sources of iron, calcium, micronutrients, fibres and help in better digestion.
I am sure this overview must have helped you in making the personal food choices and ensuring a wonderful and rocking pregnancy experience