Health Boosters: Superfoods
You may have heard of some, but we’re giving you the definitive list!
There are buzz words and then there are words you should take as seriously as "SALE". As a mother-to-be, the word ‘superfood’ is your saviour. You're eating for two and that means now, more than ever, is the time to step away from that double chocolate muffin and into the light…
This means any meat that is low in fat, including skinless chicken, turkey, and red meats such as pork chops with the fat trimmed off. Lean meat is a great source of protein. It’s best to avoid deli meats and hot dogs when pregnant.
Did you know that this has twice protein of regular yoghurt? Full of calcium, this is a favourite during pregnancy. When you don’t have enough calcium, whatever you do have goes straight to the baby, leaving you with very little for your bones. So the more you consume, the more you’ll have for yourself AND your baby.
These guys are known as one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3s and are a great choice for a snack on the go. Walnuts are also a great source of protein and fibre.
Whichever variety, beans contain the most fibre and protein of all vegetables. Plus, if it’s full of fibre, it’s bound to be packed with nutrients. Its fibre content is to blame for the bean’s infamous reputation as the flatulence inducer, but this is actually a good thing, as it promotes the emptying of bowels – something which will become increasingly important as your pregnancy progresses and constipation ensues. Other qualities include calcium, folate, iron and zinc.
Are you ready for a list of benefits that live in these tiny things? 12 vitamins and minerals, protein, choline (promotes baby’s growth and brain health) and omega-3s (check the label). A healthy woman can get away with eating one or two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat. Plus, they’re super cheap and ridiculously easy to make. So whether you’re a scrambled, fried or boiling kind of gal, get cracking! Just make sure it’s fully cooked – so no egg and soldiers till the little one arrives.
Want skin to make your own newborn envious? Need eyesight as sharp as an eagle’s? Keen to keep the kilos off? Strawberries are the answer. While these juicy things promote pre-natal health (that fabulous folic acid), their vitamin C content makes them great for keeping wrinkles at bay and boosting the immune system.
Bananas are another great source for potassium. They’re great at reducing fluid retention (did someone say ‘cankles’?) and contain tryptophan, an amino acid which helps you sleep, something which will become a distant memory once baby’s born…
When it comes to pregnancy, consider the dried apricot your new BFF. These little gems contain folic acid (AKA vitamin B5, AKA massively important for the healthy development of the foetus), potassium (invaluable for functioning organs), calcium (great for ‘them dry bones’ as well as the heart, muscles and nerves) and magnesium (maintains normal blood pressure). Just a handful provides 10% of your recommended daily iron intake.
More than just another fad, omega-3 fatty acid is an absolute wonder in nutrition and should be worshipped. Fighting the good blood-cholesterol fight, a tasty source for this heroic entity is salmon, which also contains protein and B vitamins. These all help with brain development and vision in babies. We thank you, oh, wonderful omega-3.
This won’t be the underdog of the supermarket for long. For all the vegetarians out there (and those who want to cut back on their meat intake), tofu is an excellent source of protein, iron, calcium and magnesium as well as vitamin A (the Wonder Woman to infections) and vitamin K (good for bones).
Fortified with beloved folic acid as well as iron (an essential mineral that helps produce red blood cells) and zinc (protects the immune system), whole grains are a great way to eat vital nutrients and fibre. Enjoy them in the form of an oatmeal breakfast, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and quinoa.
Brimming with calcium, magnesium and folic acid, broccoli is invaluable when it comes to bone development. Try steaming them rather than boiling to preserve the nutrients. Goes down well in a stir fry or pasta dish.
Carbohydrates (Especially Sweet Potatoes)
Forget everything you’ve heard about carbohydrates. They are not the devil, but your energiser – when used responsibly. Prevalent in bread (wholemeal is best), pasta and potatoes to name a few, carbs are a great source of energy, which is vital during the later stages of pregnancy. For a lovely snack, try slicing sweet potatoes into wedges, coat lightly with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 200ºC for around 20 minutes.
Which superfoods can't you do without? Let us know below.
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