Pregnancy healthy diet tips
Iron requirements are higher during pregnancy so try to eat plenty of iron rich foods. Dark green vegetables, pulses, dried apricots and figs are good plant based sources of iron. To help your body absorb the iron from these foods, try eating vitamin c (e.g. peppers, currants, berries and citrus fruit) at the same time. Meat, poultry and fish (organic ones are best) are also excellent sources of iron. Try not to drink tea or coffee at meal times as this can decrease the amount of iron from plant sources that is absorbed by the body.
Calcium is essential for the development of your baby's skeleton but also to maintain the calcium in your bones as well. Rich sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. If you don't eat dairy, try to make sure you get enough calcium from other foods such as calcium fortified dairy free drinks, calcium set tofu, calcium-fortified cereals, the following dark green vegetables; kale, watercress, rocket, pak choi, broccoli, parsley, spinach, and the following nuts and seeds; brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Essential fatty acids are important for the development of the babies nervous system and brain. Oily fish are a rich source but make sure you don't eat more than two portions a week (see advice below on fish). Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, soya and green leafy vegetables are also excellent sources. With the richest of the vegetarian sources being flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and walnut oil, pecans, sunflower seeds and oil, rapeseed oil, sesame seeds and oil, pinenuts, brazil nuts, basil, oregano and cloves.
- Try to increase your antioxidants especially vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium.
- Foods rich in vitamin c are vegetables such as peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and peas, and fruits such as papaya, blackcurrants, kiwi, berries and citrus.
- Excellent sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, wheatgerm oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and coconut oil.
- Pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, cocoa and dark chocolate (we like raw cacao), cashew nuts are all packed with Zinc. Meat and seafood, particularly oysters, are high in zinc but remember that all meat and seafood should be well cooked if you're pregnant.
Alkaline Diet Ideas
If you tried our alkaline diet ideas and felt great pre-conception feel free to carry on now that you're pregnant. To re-cap:
- Alkaline forming foods are vegetables, ripe fruits, grains (amaranth, quinoa, rye, buckwheat), fresh herbs, almonds, cold pressed vegetable, nut and seed oils, water and herbal teas.
- Strongly acid-forming foods are animal protein (pork, fish, chicken, lamb, beef), aged dairy products (mature cheese), refined oil and fat (margarine), canned foods, foods contain refined sugar and flour (jam, fizzy drinks, cakes, sweets, white bread), coffee and alcohol.
- Mildly acid-forming foods are vegetable protein (chickpeas, beans and lentils), fresh dairy products (fresh cheese), nuts (cashews, peanuts, pistachios).
- Try to eat a ratio of 2 alkaline foods to 1 acid food. Raw fruit and vegetables contain the most nutrients but try to eat these before 4pm to give your stomach time to digest them. In the evenings try steaming or lightly fruit and vegetables to aid digestion.
What about supplements?
Take a folic acid supplement as this reduces the risk of the baby developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. It's also a good idea to eat foods rich in folates (natures own folic acid) such as green vegetables, citrus fruits and fortified cereals.
You may not get all the vitamin D that you need from sunlight (especially during the winter months), so it's a good idea to try taking a vitamin D supplement (10µg a day) to ensure you have all the vitamin D you'll need to help build your growing baby's bones.
- Avoid taking any multivitamin or fish liver oil supplements containing vitamin A or retinol. Vitamin A is needed in small amounts but don't take any supplements containing it, as large doses can be harmful for your baby.