“Fruits and vegetables contain many important nutrients for pregnancy, especially Vitamin C and folic acid. Pregnant women need at least 70 mg of Vitamin C daily, which is contained in fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and honeydew, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes and brussels sprouts.”–American Pregnancy Association.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables have wonderful colours and textures; they are appealing to the eyes and keeping them around you where you can see them might make a huge difference in your diet. Low in calories and high in fiber, specific fruits and vegetables also contain specific nutrients that cannot be found anywhere else. Orange fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene which is good for our eyes and immune system. The red pigment of tomatoes contains a substance called lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with reparative power. Meanwhile, berries contain phytonutrients like flavonoids and anthocyanins–both antioxidants with the power to fight free radicals. The varieties of antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables might be one of your best ways of ensuring a safe and healthy 9 months.
Moreover, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may also reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
During pregnancy, the beta-carotene found in certain fruits and vegetables is especially crucial for the the baby’s cell and tissue development, immune system and vision.
Vitamin C is good for the formation of bones and teeth.
Folic acid meanwhile helps to prevent neural tube defects.
For the mother, the fiber found in fruits can protect the digestive system (which sometimes goes haywire during early pregnancy). Fiber also reduces the risk of gestational diabetes.
Additionally, fruits and vegetables that contain potassium such as bananas, carrots and spinach can help to regulate a pregnant woman’s blood pressure and be beneficial for muscular functions. Potassium is especially beneficial for preventing leg cramps, a common side effect of pregnancy.
You might not think that there is such a thing as consuming too much fruits and vegetables. But in fact, too much fiber can lead to gastrointestinal difficulties as well as reduced absorption of nutrients. Additionally, eating too much fiber can also lead to heartburn, diarrhea and bloating (worsening this already common side effect of pregnancy itself).
Moreover, although fruits are healthier than processed sugar, over-consumption of certain fruits can nonetheless pose a risk for people with diabetes.
A great idea to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet during pregnancy is to prepare snacks made up of fruits and vegetables. Berries, a small spinach salad, cubed mangoes, roasted sweet potato, chilled tomato soup–all these items are great to have ready in your fridge for snacking.
It is recommended that you eat about 2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables everyday. If you are not a fan of eating vegetables, make a soup out of vegetable puree.
It would be beneficial to eat some of your fruits and vegetables (e.g. cucumbers, apples, potatoes) with the skin intact. A lot of nutrients are contained in the skin of most fruits and vegetables that we regularly throw away.
Recommended Fruits and Vegetables
- Strawberries and raspberries
- Cantaloupe and honeydew
- Bok choy
- Green bean
- Red cabbage