Pregnancy
October 20, 2020
• Updated on
26 Jul

9 Superfoods You CAN'T MISS during the First Trimester

The First trimester marks the beginning of your motherhood journey. In terms of developmental changes, it is a crucial time for your baby too. What you eat now makes a lot of difference to your baby’s health in the long run.

Here are 9 Superfoods, packed with all the essential nutrients that your baby needs for optimum growth and development.

Feel good with Figs  

Why just focus on veggies for fiber, when you can get it from figs too. It helps eliminate all the bowel problems that pregnant women face. It also acts as a good laxative and helps boost digestion.

Figs also pack plenty of calcium and iron, which are extremely important for the health of the baby as well as the mother. The high content of iron makes Figs an ideal food to fight fatigue and anemia during pregnancy. Figs are particularly known to be rich in potassium, which is helpful to curb the problem of high blood pressure.

Dried figs are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which plays a vital role in the optimum development of the fetal brain. Looking for a remedy for morning sickness? Fig is here with Vitamin B6, which helps cure morning sickness.

It also improves the levels of amino acids, protein, fats, and carbohydrates, helping the nervous system of the baby develop in a proper way. What more? It can also control cravings and thus, reduce your chances of overindulging in unhealthy food.

Best time to have it: Either on waking up or at night.

How much: 1-2

Paneer for protein & more  

You know paneer is a rich source of protein, which means it boosts your stamina and provides energy to keep off the early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, and anemia. But did you know it also reduces the risk of birth defects?

The Omega-3 in paneer helps avert the risk of preterm labor in expectant mothers and also reduces the chances of birth defects in the fetus. If you are worried about excessive weight gain, then include at least one serving of paneer in your daily diet as paneer satiates hunger pangs by making you feel full.

It also takes care of the other pregnancy-associated issues like joint pain, aches and swelling with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Being rich in calcium and phosphorus, it is also essential for the formation of baby’s bones and teeth. These minerals also ensure the proper functioning of the nervous and circulatory system in the body. A big benefit of eating paneer is the prevention of demineralization of bones in pregnancy.

Best time to have it: Lunch or breakfast

How much: 50-100grams at a time

Boost your baby’s growth with BEETROOT

The big benefits of beetroot are many in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is a natural blood purifier and helps prevent the risk of diseases and infections in the fetus. Drinking beetroot juice can boost your physical stamina and also maintain blood pressure.

It is rich in folic acid, which is essential for the development of spinal cord and tissue growth in the fetus. It also helps prevent defects of the spinal cord. In the first trimester, the developing fetus needs a lot of Vitamin A & E and beetroot has these two in abundance.

A regular intake of beetroot keeps anemia away. Thanks to the high iron content in it. If your blood report shows low hemoglobin, start eating beetroot. It also regulates the blood sugar levels during pregnancy as it contains a low glycemic index.

Here’s one more reason to say yes to beetroot! Rich in fiber, it aids in healthy bowel movement, thus preventing constipation.  The potassium in beetroot balances the electrolytes and controls metabolism during pregnancy.

Did you know beetroot contains amounts of betalain, which acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent? It can help avert pain and swelling in the joints. Osteoporosis is also a common problem many women face during pregnancy.

Beetroot has a good amount of silica, which enables the body to utilize calcium, thus preventing decalcification of teeth and bones.

Best time have it: As steamed salad or soup in the evening or mid-morning but not raw.

How much: One cup

COCONUT WATER can do everything

When it comes to the first trimester and its typical problems such as morning sickness, nausea, fatigue and constipation, coconut water can do wonders. Nausea and morning sickness, in particular, have a dehydrating effect on the body. Coconut water provides all the essential electrolytes – minerals, sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, which have a soothing effect on the body and boost energy levels.

It's one natural drink that is rich in dietary fiber. Coconut water strengthens the digestive system, regulates pH levels and prevents constipation. If heartburn is giving you a hard time, have coconut water in the morning. It is a natural acid neutralizer.

It offers a healthy concoction of vitamins, essential minerals and antioxidants, which boost immune levels, providing resistance from infections. If you are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy, you should make coconut water an indispensable part of your diet plan.

It prevents fat accumulation by eliminating bad cholesterol. it is an ideal replacement for sugary drinks and thus, lower the risk of gestational diabetes.

Best time to have it: On waking up unless you have low blood pressure

How much: One tender coconut everyday

Raise your energy levels with Rajma  

Popular comfort food in North India, rajma (or kidney beans) is packed with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and potassium. Loaded with antioxidants, it can help prevent chances of gestational diabetes.

The amino acids in it help build a strong immune system that in turn help in fighting diseases and infections. The protein created by these amino acids helps form the building blocks of your baby’s cells and yours too. The dietary fiber in kidney beans helps maintain cholesterol levels in pregnancy.

In pregnancy, the body needs more iron to form red blood cells for the growing baby. With its rich iron content, rajma helps expand the blood volume and aids in the growth of placenta as well as the fetus. A regular intake of rajma prevents iron deficiency in pregnancy and promotes cognitive development of your baby.

It also fights inflammation with its copper content. Rajma is called comfort food for a reason. The abundant amounts of magnesium in it elevates mood and relieves fatigue by relaxing blood vessels, nerves, and muscles.

If you are struggling with morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy, try rajma. It eliminates bile acids that cause nausea in pregnant women.

Best time to have it: Lunch

How much: One cup

Banana comes with big benefits

Banana deserves a top spot in the fruit basket for all the health benefits that make it a superfood for the first trimester of pregnancy, especially first trimester. It’s a perfect remedy for morning sickness and nausea that troubles many women in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Bananas are a rich source of Vitamin B6 which cures nausea. Vitamin B6 is also essential for the development of baby’s brain and nervous system in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Eating banana during this time can keep acidity and heartburn at bay as it protects the stomach & esophageal walls from gastric acid. It also aids in digestion, improves bowel movements and provides relief from constipation as it contains a high amount of dietary fiber.

Count on bananas for the development of bones in the baby as well as mothers. It’s an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for the regulation of muscle contraction in the body.

It’s also a rich source of potassium, which helps maintain blood pressure in pregnancy. Another common problem in the first trimester that many women suffer from is the loss of appetite. Banana helps stimulate appetite. It is a great energy booster too.

Best time to have it: Mid-meal snack or on waking up

How much: One banana a day but if the nausea is very severe, then banana can be a savior and you can have more than one a day.

Almonds for all times  

Almonds offer a variety of health benefits for expectant mothers. An expectant mother needs adequate folic acid in pregnancy for the development of the brain and neurological system of the unborn.

In pregnancy, the requirement of iron goes up, so you better have your reserves ready. Almonds help you build iron stores. This apart, the riboflavin content in almonds helps in the cognitive development of the baby. Good amount of riboflavin also helps maintain the energy levels during pregnancy.

It also has magnesium that helps in proper formation and functioning of the central nervous system. The high protein content provides the ideal nutrition for the development of muscle mass in the growing baby.

One of the biggest challenges that pregnancy throws at you is the weight gain. If you are already overweight, pregnancy cravings make it an even tougher task.  Almonds score high on the satiety scale and keep you full for longer.

According to scientific research, almonds promote satiety by decreasing “ghrelin” (the hunger hormone) and increasing leptin (the appetite-reducing hormone). So, you maintain a healthy maternal weight during pregnancy.

Best time to have it: Overnight soaked almonds on waking up

How much: Upto 10 is okay

Power of Pomegranate  

According to a study in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, giving pomegranate juice to women with high-risk pregnancies (diabetes  & obesity) in their first trimester or early second trimester) help them deliver healthier babies.

In complicated pregnancies, elevated oxidative stress has been shown to contribute to problems with the placenta, which often results in complications such as preeclampsia, a condition where the mother suffers from high blood pressure.

Placenta problems in pregnant women also lead to lower birth weight and preterm birth. Pomegranate juice is high in polyphenolic antioxidants that protect the placenta and repairs cell damage.

A glass of pomegranate juice or a bowl of fresh pomegranate also meets your daily requirement of folate for the development of neural tubes and nervous system of the baby; Vitamin A & C required for the synthesis of iron, which may help lower the risk of anemia; and fiber that helps stimulate bowel movements and keep constipation & other digestive problems at bay.

Best time to have it: Evening

How much: ½-1 pomegranates

Say yes to the goodness of Yogurt  

Did you know yogurt has more calcium than milk? While your baby needs calcium for his growing bones, you need it to keep yours strong. Calcium also helps your muscles and nerves function. A good source of protein, yogurt is good for people who are lactose intolerant.

The active cultures, also known as good bacteria, in yogurt, can also help prevent stomach upset as well as yeast infections, which are more common in pregnancy.  Rich in probiotics, it improves digestion. Yogurt is also a great alternative to desserts.

Best time to have it: With meals as it will help with digestion. Breakfast can be a good time to start, as it is a probiotic.

How much: Upto four cups in a day

Looking for a pregnancy diet plan that takes care of yours' and your unborn's needs

Cheers,

Lovneet

Lovneet Batra
Founder
Lovneet Batra is a clinical nutritionist with over a decade of experience treating patients and educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet. One of Delhi’s most sought-after nutritionists...
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