List of Healthy Foods for Pregnant Indian Women
Eating nutritious and balanced food every day is one of the best things a mother can do for her yet to born baby’s good health. In pregnancy a woman needs more proteins, vitamins, iron and calcium than before. Eating a variety of healthy foods can better provide with the requisite nutrition. You need to get your required number of calories from all food groups and not just from fat.
Let’s see which particular foods you should be eating regularly:
What to Eat During Pregnancy: Indian Diet
Top 5 Superfoods For Pregnancy
Based on most important nutrients needed, here are best 5 superfoods for Indian pregnant women
contains high amount of iron, calcium, folic acid. It contains carbohydrates, vitamin A and B, soluble fiber and also protein. Beetroot helps in removing the toxins from the body, so the fatty acids do not get deposited in the body. Beetroot is called doctor of blood because it is blood purifier and blood builder so helps in the creation of red blood cells. It helps lowering blood pressure. It prevents the possible birth defects in baby. Beetroot increases the physical stamina of pregnant women to a good extent and helps in delivery. Do not miss reading Beetroot recipes. Please note that it is highly recommended that you peel the beetroot before making use in any recipe. Also eat it after lightly cooked as its easier to digest which is important for expectant women.
2. Fenugreek (Methi):
Fenugreek leaves and seeds contain a very good amount of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamins A, B6, K, and C, and are a loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. It’s a very nutritious vegetable, well known and used widely throughout India. If you don’t like Methi leaves discover few delicious recipes containing Methi.
3. Yoghurt / Curd / Dahi:
Yoghurt, a good source of protein, has more calcium than milk. Live and active cultures in yoghurt reduce the risk of yeast infections, which are more common in pregnant moms. It is very good for digestion. A cup full of yoghurt will cover 25 percent of your daily calcium requirements. Yoghurt is rich in essential vitamins and minerals too. You can make kadhi, chhas, lassi, fruit yogurt, and many more delicacies from curd/yoghurt. Buttermilk is a good choice to replace tea and coffee.
4. Almonds:Soaked in Water Overnight
Its one of the best foods to help healthy pregnancy. Almonds are a good source of unsaturated fats, protein, iron, vitamin E. Two almonds soaked in water for a night should be eaten early morning everyday it serves as brain tonic for you and your baby.
5. Moringa / Drumsticks Leaves
Moringa Leaves are most underestimated super foods in India. These leaves are super nutritious and highly recommended as pregnancy foods. Please read this article to know more about Moringa Leaves for Pregnant Women
Healthy Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
Milk and milk products contain up to 16 nutrients that are essential for health. (incluing calcium, vitamin D and protein etc.) Milk helps to maintain baby’s weight. Hence, pregnant women are advised to drink adequate milk during pregnancy.
Cereals and grains
Whole grains are rich in many nutrients : Folic acid, calcium, vitamin B1,B2,B3,B6, vitamin E, zinc, protein, dietary fiber. They are also the main source of energy i.e. carbohydrate. Whole grain reduces bad cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure of your body. Antioxidants in whole grains help to keep a heart healthy. Indian food includes sufficient cereals and grains in foods like roti, dal, rice etc. So you don’t have to look for additional sources. Use sprouted grains flour in place of regular flour as sprouted flour is easily digestible and more nutritious than non-sprouted grains and flours. By sprouting, whole grains are transformed into a living food. More on sprouted grains benefits here..
Beans, lentils are great source of vitamin B, folic acid, iron and protein. Loaded with fiber they help you fight with constipation and subsequent problems like piles. Eat cooked sprouted moong beans daily at breakfast (It is recommended by many gynecologists).
This is one of the super nutritious foods. Ragi is packed with calcium and iron. Ragi is highly recommended to diabetic patients. Because of high biological value of protein content of ragi, it is easily absorbed into your body. Few vital amino acids found in ragi are not found in other cereals. It is also high in phosphorus. A bowl of ragi porridge everyday is recommended for pregnant mothers.
This grain is high in iron and low in fats. If you have not tried it, check the delicious recipes of Bajara flour.
Oat meal: Super source of fiber, oatmeal is the best at breakfast for an energetic start to your day. They also contain vitamin B and iron. If you are working, keep some oatmeal cookies with you at your workplace to replenish energy as and when required.
Eat leafy green vegetables for iron. Iron makes increases the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells, thus, better nutrition of various parts of the body takes place, which leads to better health. Certain vegetables viz. spinach, fenugreek, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, beetroot are beneficial to you and your baby during pregnancy. Take one bowl of soup of different vegetables everyday. It is one of the best ways to fulfill daily vegetable need. Some healthy soup suggestions: Spinach with tomatoes, Beetroot, Bottle guard (dudhi/lauki), Mushroom, Broccoli-pumpkin-carrot. Discover delicious and super-nutritious veg soup recipes here
Spinach:Spinach is a storehouse of many important nutrients: calcium, Vitamin K, A, E , iron, and folate. Its one of the must haves during pregnancy.
Broccoli is a nutritious source of folic acid, which helps to support the placenta and may prevent certain birth defects. Known for being a good source of calcium, this vegetable is also packed with vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6.
Bell peppers (specially raw) are very high in vitamin C. An antioxidant found in bell paper helps your body absorb iron and boosts your immune system. (To get maximum benefit of bell pepper, eat it in salad, see Bell pepper salads.). Bell peppers are rich source of carotenoids.
Tomatoes contain large amount of vitamin C and lycopene which makes them outstanding antioxidants. They help in better absorption of iron. It’s recommended to eat spinach with tomatoes to get maximum amount of iron from spinach. Lycopene antioxidant protects against cell damage.
Mushrooms are rich in vitamin B (riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid). In plants it is only mushroom that contains vitamin D. Mushrooms contain good amount of iron, antioxidants and fiber. Discover delicious Mushroom recipes here.
This colorful root contaisn phytochemicals, especially beta-carotene. Your body converts it to vitamin A. It helps in the development of your baby’s skin, eyes, bones, and organs.
Bottle gourd boosts immune system in women. It contains digestive fibers, iron, vitamin C, carbohydrates, vitamin A and B and also protein. Bottle gourds work very well in digestion and help you to fight heartburn/acidity which is common in pregnancy. Some tasty and healthy recipes of bottle gourd.
Fruits and nuts
Fruits and nuts are abundant in essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in fiber specially the nuts with brown coats, which can ease constipation a common problem in pregnancy.
Orange is high in vitamin C and folic acid also a good source of potassium. It is very good for hydration and also helps in digestion. Orange juice lowers high blood pressure, a particular danger during pregnancy.
It is one of the best foosd in the world. Rich in fibers, antioxidants, vitamin C, B-complex, apples keep you away from many diseases.
Excellent source of fiber, calcium, potassium, iron. Dried/fresh fig (i.e. Anjir) is one of best foods in pregnancy.
Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Banana helps in morning sickness common in first trimester of pregnancy. Bananas are your energy source to fight off pregnancy fatigue. Having a banana between meals can help you keep up your energy.
India’s favorite fruit, mango, is rich in vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium. Mango lassi is a great choice if you have craving for something sweet.
Wonderful source of vitamin C, antioxidants, also have anti-cancer properties. Lemon drinks in pregnancy will help you hydrate your body and improve immunity.
Filled with Antioxidants and vitamins pomegranate prevents heart diseases and cancer. It works for stomach upsets, hemorrhoids. Pomegranate lowers blood pressure, it stimulates the immune system, reduces inflammation, and lowers cholesterol.
Pregnant mothers should have Coconut water regularly. It is a good sources of electrolytes. It has chlorides, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, calcium, riboflavin, manganese, dietary fibers, Vitamin C, moderate amount of sugar, sodium and protein.
Packed with iron, fiber and potassium Raisins are good for digestion. Soak them in water overnight and consume in morning empty stomach (take this in moderation).
Rich source of Omega-3 fats, walnuts improve brain power. Tonic not only for your heart and bones but also for your skin and hair (loaded with vitamin E). Consuming 1-2 pcs of walnuts everyday will help baby’s brain and eye development.
Dates are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. Rich in iron, calcium, they maintain hemoglobin level and also strengthens the bones. Black dates help proper digestion, and keep constipation away. (Everyday add 2 dates to milk instead of plain sugar to boost the power of milk)
Seeds and spices
These tiny delicious oily seeds are packed with calcium, iron, proteins, vitamin B, C, and E, oxalic acid, amino acid. You may consume sesame by making its chutney, laddoos, or using them in curry etc.
Non veg : Meat Fish and Eggs during Pregnancy
Eggs are rich in quality proteins, vitamins, specially the vitamin D which is rare in food items. (Some eggs have Omega-3). Remember you must not eat raw or under-cooked eggs (increased risk of salmonella). Eat one large hard boiled egg everyday at breakfast.
Chicken:Chicken is your powerful source of quality proteins, vitamins (E and A), minerals, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid. Chicken liver is highly advised as its loaded with foliate and easily absorbable iron. Pregnant mothers should eat fresh and well cooked meat only.
Fish is a super source of omega-3 which is a brain booster nutrient. You have to be careful while selecting the right fish for you. Only well cooked fish which are low in mercury levels are good for you. Rawas: Indian Salmon is safe and high in omega-3s so it is a good choice. You can eat prawns, shellfish too. Read Eating fish in Pregnancy and breastfeeding article.
Other Food Items
Make moderate use of iodised salt in food as it is sufficient for required iodine level. Over use of salt is harmful for your baby’s kidney development.
Balanced intake of sugar is very important to maintain normal sugar level in your blood. High sugar level in your blood can bring birth defects in your baby. Extra sugar in your diet can damage baby’s kidneys. Where ever possible replace sugar with healthier options like fruits, jiggery, dates, etc. Try using sulfur free sugar if you have to use sugar.
According to Ayurveda, there are certain foods that have good effects on baby’s skin, brain, weight and development. Modern medical science does not support this theory.
It is made up of equal quantity of ghee, curd, honey, milk and sugar in a silver bowl. It should be taken every morning on empty stomach as the first thing during Pregnancy.
Pregnancy doesn’t mean sitting within the walls and rest and eat. You must get enough sunlight to fulfill your need of Vit D. So do not forget to take a nice walk in morning.
Read about the Diet Plan during Pregnancy here
It is said that You are What You Mom Ate During Pregnancy. Its not just a saying. Your Healthy Eating During Pregnancy will make your baby healthy for lifetime.