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A Healthy Heart For Your Baby: 5 Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

For a woman, nothing can be more precious and exciting than embracing motherhood. Pregnancy fills a woman with renewed vigor, happiness, and enthusiasm. Throughout the pregnancy, her prime concern is the well-being of the life she is carrying within. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, a pregnant woman also needs to take care of her diet during this period. What she eats can have a direct impact on the overall fetal growth and development. Thus, the pregnancy diet should be as healthy and nutritious as possible. Mentioned below are 5 of the extremely nutritious foodstuffs that play a catalytic role in ensuring the healthy development of your baby's heart.

1. The daily dose of healthy proteins: A pregnancy diet is incomplete without proteins. In addition to the many health benefits, proteins are also known to do the fetal heart a world of good. If you are a non-vegetarian, then make sure to include chicken, turkey breast into your platter. However, for maximum benefits avoid/limit the intake of meat with high cholesterol and fat content. Don't lose heart if you are a vegetarian. You can easily incorporate foods which are laden with proteins into your diet such as lentils, beans, paneer and eggs.

2. The goodness of whole grains: During pregnancy, the cravings for pasta, pizzas, cookies and pastries are inevitable. However, if you can resist the temptation, your baby will thank you for ages. From dietary fibers to essential minerals (such as iron, magnesium or selenium) and vitamins (such as niacin, folic acid, vitamin B1 or B2), whole grains come laden with a plethora of health benefits. They should, without a shred of doubt, be a part of the pregnancy diet. So, without wasting any time - load your kitchen with multigrain bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and barley to name a few.

3. Dairy products: Daily intake of pasteurized dairy products (preferably low-fat) such as unflavored greek yogurt, skimmed/ low-fat milk or curd are a rich source of calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D, and a host of other nutrients. These tend to work towards the healthy development of the fetal bones, heart, nerves and muscles. Yogurt is also known to work wonders to alleviate the discomfort triggered by morning sickness to a significant extent. This is all the more reasons to include it in your diet. Those with lactose intolerance should, however, consult their attending physician to look for any healthy alternatives.

4. Nutty wonder: Nuts never fail to amaze us with their numerous health benefits, especially during pregnancy. From vitamin E, dietary fiber and folate to healthy fats - almonds have them all and a lot more. Similarly, cashew nuts and pistachios are also known to contain many vital nutrients such as iron, magnesium, copper, vitamin K, fiber and carotenoids. These tend to work for the benefit of both the mother and the child. While it is always advised to consume nuts in moderation, women who are allergic to nuts should refrain from their consumption to avoid unwanted complications and side-effects.

5. Say yes to green vegetables: We have often discussed how nutritious vegetables are during pregnancy. In this regard, the importance of green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, mustard green, collards and brussels sprouts deserves a special mention. In addition to being an excellent source of folate (i.e. a vitamin that plays a significant role to lower the risk of neural tube defects in the baby), most of the green vegetables are laden with dietary fibers. This keeps constipation at bay. Antioxidants, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K are - thus - highly recommended by doctors. However, as often suggested by most health experts, it is better to play it safe - avoiding any intake of raw vegetables during pregnancy. 

In spite of being laden with nutrients, not all foods work the same way for all individuals. Some may be allergic to certain foods items while others may have health conditions that may worsen by the intake of certain foods. Thus, it is best to consult your doctor before you try out any new foodstuffs. When it comes to the health of your baby, you cannot afford to take a chance! 

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