Essential nutrition tips to keep in mind during pregnancy

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It is natural to gain some weight during pregnancy. Since pregnancy is a time of anabolism, women should eat more than they typically do. But care must also be taken. “To ensure right weight gain and a perfect nutrition for pregnant women, the diet must consist of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and high-quality fats,” said nutritionist and lifestyle educator Karishma Chawla.

“Hence it is important to eat a balanced diet rather than giving in to cravings to justify overeating or eating poor quality foods,” she added.

Essential nutrients to include:

*Calcium: dark green leafy vegetables, bok choy, tofu, legumes, figs, low-fat milk and milk products

*Vitamin B12: animal foods

*Iron: legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, animal foods, whole grains

*Folate: dark green leafy vegetables, legumes

*Zinc: nuts, whole grains, animal foods

*Omega 3: flax, walnuts, fish

Avoid:

*Using cravings to justify poor nutrition calories

*Refined flour

*Processed or packaged foods

*Alcohol

*Tobacco

* More than 300 mg caffeine/day

*Artificial sweeteners

*Raw eggs

Raw eggs provide ample nutrition. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

*Raw seafood

*Serving too much food at one time (meal)

*Consumption of foods with strong flavours

*Any food that you are allergic, intolerant or aversed to

*Drugs unless prescribed by a doctor

Good foods for pregnant women are

*Complex carbs like jowar, bajra (winter), nachni or ragi, rajgira, oats, quinoa and brown rice

*Protein sources like eggs, lean meat (chicken + fish), skim milk, skim paneer, dals, pulses, nuts, seeds and protein shakes (without artificial sweeteners)

*Good fats like coconut oil, ghee, fatty fish, flax, raw nuts and seeds

*High fibre fruits such as apple, pear, orange, sweet lime, guava, berries, peach and plum

*Vegetables like dark greens such as spinach, fenugreek, cruciferous veggies (drop this if you feel gassy) such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli

*Gut-boosting foods such as fermented veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, carrot and cucumber. Others such as turmeric, ginger, rosemary, garlic and basil.

*Gut soothing drinks such as lime water, apple cider vinegar and fennel water

*Gut-friendly food such as high fibre foods are considered the best food for pregnant women since they prevent blood sugar spikes, ensure steady energy levels and moreover feed the good bacteria that live within us and ensure a healthy population of the gut bacteria crucial for passing on to the newborn baby.

Have a healthy pregnancy with these tips. (Source: Getty Images)

Guidelines for pregnant women

*Exercise regularly

*Be as active as possible

*Avoid empty calories

*Constipation guidelines: Good water intake, good fibre: fruits + vegetables + salads + whole grains + legumes and dried fruits – prunes + apricots

*To prevent heartburn: avoid fatty foods or fried foods and have small frequent meals

*To overcome morning sickness: consume complex carbohydrate-rich foods

*Nutritious snacks in between meals rather than indulging in junk foods

*Good hydration: Can include fluids like low-fat milk, buttermilk, coconut water, lime juice

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