What to Eat During Pregnancy for an Intelligent Baby?

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Diet during Pregnancy for a Smart Baby: Indian Moms Guide

Eating almonds during pregnancy is most popular diet tip for having a brainy smart baby. So other than the brain-booster almonds, what to eat during pregnancy for a smart baby? For answering this question of yours, we have a list of pregnancy foods that every mother-to-be should eat for a sharp-minded, intelligent baby.
Later in this post we will see the important Nutrients for Brain Development

Top Foods to eat for a super smart baby

Salmon (Raavas in India)

SalmonRawas

Fatty Fish

Reason to include-
Contains- Omega 3+ Omega 6+ Omega 9 + Iron
Are there any other Omega 3 rich fish in India?
Yes.
Besides Raavas some other fishes in Indian market which contains Omega 3 are:
>Mackerel (Bangda) But you cannot eat them as they are high in mercury hence not safe for pregnant women (Read Safe to Eat Fish in India during Pregnancy)
>Herring
>Sardine (Pedvey) : Very good for you
>Tuna

Almonds

almonds for baby
Reason to include-
Contains- Omega 3+ Omega 6+ Omega 9 + Iron
Which is better- Dried Almond (OR) Soaked Almond?
You should crunch down soaked almond. Because –
>Its peel contains insoluble fibers and for digesting insoluble fiber our body needs a lot of time.
>This way the nutrition of almonds cannot be derived soon.
>When the peels are removed, all the fatty acids, iron, and other nutrients easily get released into the body.

Eggs

eggs for baby
Reason to include-
Contains Omega 3+ Omega 6+ Iron. Undercooked Yolk is harmful for a pregnant woman; hence make sure you cook the eggs perfectly.
White Eggs (OR) Brown Eggs (OR) Omega Eggs?
Omega Eggs are that kind of eggs that are hatched out by a hen who is on flax seed diet. Flax seed is also one of the edibles through which our body can derive fatty acids.
If you don’t find Omega Eggs no worries. You can still eat White or Brown Eggs. Though Egg’s Yolk contains high amount of Omega 3 but you should be eating whole cooked eggs.

Can I have half boiled egg?
No. Pregnant women should not have undercooked eggs. Know here why : Click to know risk of eating half boiled eggs during pregnancy

What’s the healthy way to cook eggs?
>First boil the water and then drop the eggs into the saucepan.
>Boil them in low heat for 10 minutes.
>When you are done take off its peel under cool running water.

Spinach

spinach
Reason to include-
Contains- Omega 3+ Omega 6+ Iron

What to do- Pressure Cook (OR) Boil Spinach?
Spinach should not be boiled or pressure cooked. It should be cooked on medium heat for just 5 minutes.
Here is a recipe for you: The best way of cooking spinach
Too much cooking and heat destroys the nutrients of spinach.

Walnuts

nuts
Reason to include-
An unshelled walnut is a look alike of the human brain. (Poor joke)
Anyways walnuts are on our list because, it-
Contains- Omega 3+ Omega 6+ Omega 9 + Iron

How many walnuts should you eat?
3-4 walnuts a day would do. Being extra cautiously hygienic, you might want to buy shelled walnuts, if so then-

Don’t buy such walnut packs whose shells have dark spots on it.
Don’t you like Walnuts?

Here’s how you will start liking walnuts:
>Crush or finely chop walnuts and add it to your daily glass of milk or bowl of yogurt
>Season your salad with crushed walnuts
>You can ever sprinkle it on your ice cream!

Moringa Leaves and Drumsticks

moringa leaves
Why? IT contains *Choline an important nutrient which helps preventing complicated issues inside the spinal cord & brain. Moringa leaves are one of the top super foods on earth and still not eaten by most of Indians. Please read this article to know more about Moringa Leaves for Healthy Pregnancy

Cranberries

dried cranberries
In India You can buy the dried cranberries in shops like NatureBasket or on BigBasket
Reason to include-
Power packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, they are known to improve memory and they fight with free-radical damage in brain cells.

Coconuts

coconut
Reason to include-
Coconut contains rare dietary fats called as medium-chain triglycerides. Coconut water is very beneficial to keep body hydrated in pregnancy. This tasty food is brain booster and energy booster too.
Wait, did you notice something?
Some of the foods listed above don’t contain Omega 9?
Well, then there’s no need to worry, because when Omega 3 and Omega 6 are sufficiently present in your body. Omega 9 gets naturally produced inside our body.

Do you eat these too?

You might want to add these foods below in your diet. All of which are readily available in Indian markets:

Dairy|

Cheese for baby
Mozzarella Cheese, Alpine Cheese and Fontina Cheese. If allergic to dairy, Ferment Soy Tofu is the better option.

Vegetables|

broccoli
Broccoli, Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Green Beans, and Fenugreek leaves

Cooking Oil|

olive oil
Ghee, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Soy Oil

Spices/Herbs |

basil
Basil [Fresh], Oregano [Dried], Cloves [Grounded], Saffron, Bay Leaf, Thyme [Dried], and Turmeric Powder

Fruits |

figs
Figs, Melons, Pomegranates, Guavas, Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, and Black Berries

Seeds |

flaxseeds
Mustard Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia seeds, and Flax Seed

Nuts & Dry Fruits|

Pistachio, Cashew, Almonds, Peanuts, and Raisins

Seafood |

Shellfish
Crab, Catfish [Farmed], Shrimp, and Lobster (limited consumption)
Not only these foods will contribute in neurodevelopment of your baby’s brain but they will also protect him from-
o Vision Problem (@_@)
o Poor Memory (o_O)?
o Depression (-__-)
o Mood Swings (>_< ) o Low morale (X_X) o Weak attention (? _?) Diseases like: Bipolarity, Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and Anemia.

Nutrients required for Brain Development of a Baby in the Womb

Fatty Acids

1) Omega 3
2) Omega 6
3) Omega 9

DHA

Iron

Lets see the details about them

Fatty Acids

What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids are nothing, but fats only. Fats are transformed into fatty acids, by our body. Fatty Acids come under the category of ‘polyunsaturated fats’. Huh? In layman’s language, they are the ‘good fat’.
Why fatty acids necessary for the brain?
Because they help in functioning and development of brain’s structure.

How to feed fatty acids to your brain?

The three types of fatty acids, which make our brain smart for work, are Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9

The role of Omega- 3, 6 and 9 on baby’s brain:

Omega- 3, 6, and 9, all of these contain fatty acids. In just two steps fatty acids can make your baby a genius:

Step 1:

• Each of our body part is made up of living cells. The more the brain cells, the sharper our mind is. In case you don’t know, Albert Einstein’s brain had numerous brain cells.

• When we use our brains, the cells of our brain lose its energy. Hence, our brain cells need charging frequently, just like you charge your mobile phone daily.

• The fatty acids act a fuel for our brain cells. This is way fatty acids help in the functioning of the brain. Hence, even after birth, he needs to be supplied with foods containing fatty acids.

Step 2:

• Fatty Acids not just energize our brain cells, but it also increases their number inside our brain.

• Along with increasing brain cells, they also make room for it. By making room we mean, they increase the size of our brain. This way baby’s brain structure will get built by the major types of fatty acids- Omega 3, 6 and 9.

This is how your baby’s healthy brain will have:

+ Better Fetal Neurodevelopment
+ Protection from Vision Impairment
+ Protection from various mental illnesses
+ Ability to learn and grasp things
+ Sound Emotional intelligence

DHA

DHA’s full name is Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
[Doco-sahex-aenoic Acid] Now we understood why dieticians had to abbreviate it. DHA is mostly derived from Omega 3 fatty acid. This is why Omega 3 is said to be the best fatty acid.

Why DHA an important nutrient for a clever baby’s brain?

Because it helps in polishing the largest part of our brain that is- Wait, can you answer?
Yes, it’s the…
Cerebral Cortex (a.k.a. Cerebrum)
DHA develops all the four lobes of the cerebrum. It is an Omega 3 type fatty acid that accelerates the growth of brain cells in humans mind.
Skip reading next line if you know the names of Cerebrum’s four lobes:
They are- Frontal, Parietal, Occipital, and Temporal.
Assuming that you’ve forgotten your science lessons…Here’s a reminder for you, the four lobes of cerebrum helps in: T.I.M.E.
+ Thinking
+ Interpreting
+ Memorizing and;
+ Executing things

IRON

Iron helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin inside the brain.
Wait, what was that!
Neurotransmitters are the essential brain chemicals. All these brain chemicals have an influence over our physical and mental health.

– Do you also find the Roller Coaster ride, adrenaline rushing? You have an adrenaline rush when you get a feeling of fear or excitement. This adrenaline is nothing, but one of the neurotransmitters.
– Neurotransmitters make us ‘feel things’. For example- when brain releases dopamine you get to experience a positive feeling. This is why they say that, ‘Mind is everything.’
– Iron is like a hostel warden who keeps a check on the students, the neurotransmitters. It sees that they do not get ‘out of control’.
– For wishing ‘Happy Birthday’ we shake hands, right? To do so, your brain sends a signal, a message to your right hand. And who’s the carrier of this message? It’s the brain chemicals, the neurotransmitters.
– Since the brain has a pivotal position in our body’s Central Nervous System (CNS). This is why we are able to control the movements of our hands, legs, and other body parts from our brain.
Myelin is the ‘fatty’ white substance inside our brain, which accelerates our brain’s processing capacity.
– For unlocking your phone, you first press the power button, and then you will enter the password. You do all these things following a certain process.
– Your brain also follows a process. So for reaching a decision when you use your brain, chemical-electro waves (in scientific term nerve impulse) get ignites in your brain’s neurons (brain cells). The myelin strengthens these nerve impulses and hence your baby brain will be able to think fast.
– With less iron, myelin production could suffer inside your child’s mind. And he could suffer from multiple sclerosis.

This way iron will help your baby’s brain in developing:

+ Social-emotional
+ Motor Skills
+ Learning and
+ Cognitive skills.

Important Note:

During pregnancy, even you could suffer from maternal anemia if you won’t eat iron containing foods. Though iron is a micronutrient, but the iron deficiency in babies can give them macro health problems.
Since…
One of the most common and global health problems is ‘Iron deficiency’. This doesn’t mean that you should consume excess of iron-rich food
… Otherwise with an overdose of iron you could suffer from Diarrhea, Nausea and Iron poisoning too.
NO, we are still not done. We have just one humble request to make.
Now that you know that all these foods would boost your baby’s brainpower. So for your baby’s sake only, don’t try to over eat them. Because then along with making yourself ill, you might disturb your baby too. So this was the diet to follow during pregnancy for brain development in baby. Do you have any other ‘brain food’ on mind that every pregnant women of India should eat, for smart, intelligent baby? If yes, we can hear you below.

Also Read Diet Plan for Indian Pregnant Women
Calcium Rich Fruits for Healthy Pregnancy

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About Author

Sapana

Software professional - now work at home mom

16 Comments

  1. Meena Sekhar on

    I dint know about the moringa leaves being so healthy for pregnant women. Thats great info. I would like to know can I take it dry as I dont get the Moringa fresh green leaves where I reside. Also please tell me if Saffron is good for baby’s brain development and when and how to take it. Thanks.

    • Sapana

      Hi Meena,
      Yes, Moringa Leaves are used in supplements. You may have the moringa leaves supplements too but as you are pregnant I would suggest you to try to get Moringa Leaves Powder. My mother used to get the fresh leaves washed, dried and powdered, which I used to take with water. See if you can get such help.

  2. Pingback: Foods to Eat during Pregnancy for a Healthy Baby | GoMama 24/7

  3. Nowadays, only a smart kid can survive in this clever world. I always remain worried about my kid’s health as well. I like the list of food items you have mentioned to improve the overall health of a baby. However, I still have some queries. It would be better if you help me. Does the eating habit effect on the mental health? Apart from food what are the other precautions I have to take?

    • Sapana

      Hi Nitish,

      Every baby is unique and please dont worry about child’s brain development. The more you worry it starts affecting child in various ways.
      The overall balanced diet is good for physical and mental development both. The intelligence is developed with food, physical activities, surroundings to a certain amount, its mainly inherited. 😀

  4. The article is really informative. However, let me know what would be the actual balanced diet to be followed during pregnancy. I am 04 month pregnant and want a healthy and smart baby.

  5. I belong to a vegetarian family hence, have limited options to eat. I don’t like spinach and can’t eat seafood. Is there any chance that my baby will be less intelligent? Please suggest what I can do for it.

    • Sapana

      Baby’s intelligence is more dependent on the genetics than on food. 😀
      Food is to make sure the baby gets required nutrients to develope the brain
      Eat Almonds/Walnuts… And Dont worry, happy mother is what your baby needs.

  6. It’s my fourth month of pregnancy and I haven’t followed any diet so far. Now I came to know that balanced diet is necessary for kid’s brain development. What are the most important foods that I should add to my daily routine to get the sufficient nutrients?

  7. You mentioned almond is good for baby, I usually take dried almond. Does it affect in a bad manner? You said fiber is not good but it helps in digestion right? What to do now. Help.

    • Sapana

      I dint mention Fiber of almonds is bad, The peels of almonds are hard to digest and hence should be removed by soaking in water.
      Dried almonds are not bad but the soaked n peeled are better.

  8. I am allergic to milk products like paneer and curd that;s why I can’t eat them. Will it affect to my baby’s brain? I have heard that milk intake is important for intelligent babies but I don’t have any option. Can you help me in suggesting some good alternative.

    • Sapana

      Hi Ananya,
      If you eat sea foods, then shell fish (when cooked with shell) is an alternative.
      Eat Soya items like Soya Milk, Tofu (If not allergic to Soya)
      Ragi is also rich in Calcium.

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