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Fitness Nutrition Forums

Key Foods to Include Throughout Pregnancy

Don't miss out on eating these four healthy foods during your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an exciting time for soon to be parents. Although mothers can enjoy a less than healthy craving from time to time, it is important to ensure proper nutrition throughout pregnancy.

Whole Grains

During pregnancy, you want to be even more cautious of limiting refined grains in your diet and should aim to make most of your grains whole. Whole grains contain many important minerals for pregnancy and provide a great source of fiber, which can help to prevent constipation and the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Good sources of whole grains include oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread, quinoa and brown rice.

Legumes

Lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, and split peas are all wonderful legumes to incorporate throughout pregnancy because they provide a great source of folate. During pregnancy, folate helps to develop the neural tube, which becomes your baby’s spine. Folate also supports the rapid growth of the placenta and fetus. Consuming enough folate, particularly before you are pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy, may reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy green such as kale, spinach, mustard, and collard greens are chock full of nutrients that are beneficial for mother and baby because they include two key minerals — calcium and magnesium. Getting enough calcium helps to build the bones of the baby’s skeleton. Calcium not only keeps bones strong, it also keeps the nervous, muscular, and circulatory systems running normally. Magnesium works together with calcium to allow muscles to contract. It also is important for your baby’s bone development.

Beef

Where's the beef? If you find yourself asking that during pregnancy — you may want to look at adding beef into your diet since it is an abundant source of iron and zinc, two vital nutrients during pregnancy. Iron is needed for the increased blood volume during pregnancy, increased needs of the fetus and blood losses during delivery. Zinc is essential for every phase of growth and for the development of your baby's immune system.

The best way to ensure you are eating enough iron and zinc is to eat well-balanced meals that focus on iron and zinc rich food sources including lean meat. If you are a vegetarian, don't fret. Cooked spinach and beans also provide good sources of iron and zinc.

As always, remember to consult with your doctor to ensure you are getting proper nutrition during your pregnancy.

[Image via Getty]

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