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5 SuperFoods for a Stellar Pregnancy

Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

Here are my top five foods for a healthy and happy pregnancy. We even created a cool infographic at the bottom of this article for quick reference.

#1: Lentils
Pregnant women need about 71 grams of protein per day. Just one cup of lentils has 18 grams. Many people find it easy to eat 1.5 to 2 cups of lentils in a sitting, getting in half a day’s protein needs in one meal. Lentils are also a fiber powerhouse; one cup has 17 grams. This can be a savior for women with pregnancy related constipation. Lentils also provide a hefty dose of magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6, all important for the growing baby.

#2: Avocado
Ever noticed that a cut open avocado looks strikingly similar to a woman with a pregnant belly? An interesting coincidence, as avocado can provide essential macro and micronutrients. Avocado is really high in fiber, helping once again to get slow-motion pregnancy bowels to move; just half an avocado has 7 grams of fiber. Avocado is also high in monounsaturated fats — in other words, the good kind. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy means choosing unsaturated fats more frequently than saturated ones, according to the experts at UCSF. Avocados also contain more potassium than bananas!

#3 Walnuts
They’re high in protein and fiber, and healthy fats, making them a perfect pregnancy food. Not only that, but they’ve also got a good amount of folate and omega-3 fatty acids, both critical for healthy development of the baby’s brain. Walnuts are also rich in minerals like manganese, copper, and iron.

#4 Collard Greens
While their macronutrient content may not be that impressive, their micronutrient content makes up for it. Just one cup of collard greens, about the equivalent of one large leaf, contains most of the vitamin A and vitamin K that a pregnant woman needs in one day. One serving also boasts a good amount of folate, vitamin C, and iron. And, oh, the calcium! One cup of cooked collard greens has about 250mg of calcium — a fourth of the daily recommended requirement.

#5. Sweet Potato
Yep, you guessed it, it’s high in fiber. One cup  has 7 grams, so just think how easily it will slide right through the intestines. That same amount of sweet potato also has four grams of protein –not bad! Sweet potatoes also give pregnant mamas a large dose of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, B6, and manganese.

There you have it, my top 5 SuperFoods for pregnancy. Try throwing together a bowl with all 5; your belly and your baby will thank you.

Sources: University of California, San Francisco