Here is most incredible foods for weight loss , pregnancy , health , and many more . Keep reeding !!!
10 BEST FOODS FOR FLAT ABS
Try these ab-flattening foods to boost your abs routine’s effectiveness, control belly bloat, and maintain a healthy metabolism.
1. Soy: Soybeans are rich in antioxidants, fiber and protein. Besides thevery high protein content (36.5 g per 100 g or 3.5 oz), soybeans contain a lot of fiber and are rich in calcium and magnesium. When used as a substitute for meat, which it does well because of its protein profile, a serving of soybeans can save you fat, especially saturated fat. Snack on dry-roasted soybeans, toss shelled edamame into soups, and slip a spoonful of silken tofu into your morning smoothie. Liquid soy also makes a good meal replacement: A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that overweight subjects who drank a soy milk-based meal replacement lost more weight than those who consumed a traditional dairy-based diet drink.
2. Salmon: Salmon is a protein source that also provides a good dose of healthy omega-3 fatty acids (this type of fat helps make your metabolism more efficient, according to “Fitness” magazine). Salmon may help boost your metabolism and keep you feeling full. An Australian study showed that overweight people who ate fish daily improved their glucose-insulin response. Translated, this means that seafood may help slow digestion and prevent cravings. If that doesn’t hook you, consider this: Seafood is an excellent source of abs-friendly protein. Eat about 4 oz. of salmon, twice a week, recommends “Fitness” magazine. If you don’t like fish, another option for getting omega-3 fatty acid is eating flaxseed and walnuts. Several recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract.
3. Quinoa: Pronounced KEEN-wah, this whole grain contains 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per half cup. Penn State researchers found that dieters who ate whole-grains lost twice as much belly fat as those who stuck to white-flour products—even though they’d consumed the same number of calories. Quinoa’s nutty flavor and crunchy-yet-chewy texture are like a cross between whole wheat couscous and short-grain brown rice. Quinoa is gluten-free, easy to prepare and extremely versatile. You can use quinoa anywhere you’d typically use rice. It’s great used in casseroles and stir fry, mixed with beans, or simply topped with tofu and vegetables. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” It has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with “high nutritive value,” and impressive biodiversity.
4. Avocado: Blood sugar spikes signal your body to store fat around your midsection, while monounsaturated fats, found heavily in avocados, stop this. Salty food, like potato chips and fast foods, may cause bloating of your tummy, because your body will retain water in your midsection and accumulate it outside of cells. Avocado contains potassium, which helps bring the water back into the cells. Dieters who consumed monounsaturated fats lost more stomach bulge than those eating the same number of calories but less of the fats, a study in the journal Diabetes Care finds. And a study in the journal Obesity reveals that when monkeys ate trans fats, their waists were 30 percent bigger than those of simians eating monounsaturated fats.
5. Blueberries: Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants and fiber, plus, they also help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthier digestive tract. They’re a low GI (glycaemic index) food, which means they keep your blood-sugar (and energy) levels nice and steady. A 2009 study at the University of Michigan fed rats a blueberry-enriched powder for 90 days. After the 90 days, the rats who received the powder, which accounted for 2 percent of their diet, had less abdominal fat and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, which measures how your body uses glucose for energy. The more fiber you eat — experts say that it’s best to get between 25 and 35 grams every day — the fewer calories you absorb from all the other stuff you put in your mouth. That’s because fiber traps food particles and shuttles them out of your system before they’re fully digested.
6. Eggs: Eggs are a perfect protein source. They contain a perfect balance of essential amino acids which are protein building blocks responsible for building everything in your body – from muscle fibers to brain chemicals. In a randomized controlled trial, 160 overweight or obese men and women were divided into 2 groups, one of which ate a breakfast including 2 eggs, while the other consumed a bagel breakfast supplying the same amount of calories and weight mass (an important control factor in satiety and weight loss studies). Participants ate their assigned breakfast at least 5 days a week for 8 weeks as part of a low-fat diet with a 1,000 calorie deficit. Compared to those on the bagel breakfast, egg eaters had an 83% greater decrease in waist circumference.
7. Yogurt: A study published by International Journal of Obesity suggests that people who get their calcium mostly from yogurts lose more weight around their midsection. The probiotic bacteria found in yogurts keep your digestive system healthy, which translates to less bloating and constipation, which in turn makes you belly flatter. Eat 18 ounces a day and you can drop a jeans size. People who ate that much — in conjunction with cutting their total calories — lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than dieters who skipped the snack, according to research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
8. Almonds: Almonds are a true super-food. They build muscle, reduce cravings, and fight obesity. Start your mornings with a handful of small almonds (at least 6). They will help your body to burn fat and help you on your way to a flat stomach. These delicious and versatile nuts contain filling protein and fiber, not to mention vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of magnesium, a mineral your body must have in order to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, and regulate blood sugar. “A stable blood-sugar level helps prevent cravings that can lead to overeating and weight gain,” says David Katz, MD, a professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.
9. Spinach: Spinach is a great source of vitamins and minerals (calcium, beta-carotene, vitamin C and magnesium) and with only 7 calories per cup it is a very low-calorie food. Calcium is known to help muscles to contact so it’s a great pre-workout food. You could eat a whole bag and mot even put a dent in your daily calories. So put it in whatever. Omelets, salads, smoothies, wraps, if you can put spinach in it (and not have it be disgusting) do it.
10. Water: Water is actually not a food; however, it is very important to drink lots of water. It will help your body to increase its metabolism and it will reduce your daily caloric intake. By drinking eight cups of chilled water per day your body will spend 70 calories more than it would otherwise. Also, by drinking water instead of high-sugar drinks, you will cut hundreds of extra calories per day!
10 BEST FOODS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
Turns out it’s most likely what’s on your plate that dictates how healthy your skin is, how young you look, and whether or not you have acne.Sure genetics and other lifestyle and environmental factors play a part, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any esthetician, nutritionist or dermatologist that wouldn’t consider food a major factor in deciding whether you have a clear, youthful-looking complexion.
So, let’s look at the best foods to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
1. Blueberries: Blueberries are, like green tea and red wine, extremely rich in anti-oxidants, which target the free radical that are destroying the skin cells. The skin will look younger for longer if DNA-damaging free radicals are neutralized by the anti-oxidants and phytochemicals found in blueberries. They are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins C/E, manganese, and riboflavin.
2. Oysters: Oysters are your skins best friend. They are loaded with zinc which is known for preventing many skin ailments such as acne, scalp conditions, boils, ulcers and diaper rashes. Zinc is a mineral with big “beauty” benefits because it renews and repairs the skin. It also helps to create collagen, which provides the structural support in skin. It helps in enhancing immunity as well.
3. Tomatoes: Tomato has an antioxidant called lycopene which helps to protect your skin from UV damage from sunburn. In western diet, about 85% of lycopene is obtained only from tomatoes, and the best place to find them in the tomato paste. A study was made on 23 women, who were asked to eat 55g of tomato every day, for 12 weeks (giving them 16mg of lycopene). After getting them back to lab, it was revealed, that a 30% increase in natural skin protection was detected.
4. Kiwis: Kiwis contain large amounts of water-soluble vitamin C, which is needed to produce collagen. This is a “connective” type of protein which helps to firm your skin. With aging, production of collagen decreases and the skin loses its elasticity. Kiwis are also full of vitamins C and E, which not only fight free radicals, but also help to repair and heal the skin. That’s why you can see many skin care products with kiwi extracts in them.
5. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids which protect the skin from UV rays. German researchers gave 24 women a half-cup of special extra-flavonoid-enriched cocoa every day, and after 3 months, the women’s skin was moister, smoother and less scaly, when exposed to UV light.
6. Sweet Potatoes: Snacking on sweet potatoes can keep your skin clear, smooth and young-looking. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that coverts to vitamin A in your body, which is in charge at producing new skin cells and shedding old ones. A regular influx of new cells keeps the surface of your skin smooth, fresh-looking and resistant to irritants and damage. It’s no coincidence that some of the best topical healthy-skin ingredients in beauty products, retinoic acid and retinol, are derivatives of vitamin A.
7. Strawberries: Strawberries are one of the World’s healthiest foods. Just one cup has over 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C, 20 percent RDA for manganese and nearly 15 percent RDA for fiber. In other words, strawberries are rich in nutrients that our skin loves to dine on. With a high content of alpha-hydroxy acids, strawberries help slough off dead skin cells, increasing natural skin renewal by revealing the new youthful skin underneath. Strawberries also contain ellagic acid, which helps protect the skin from UV rays.
8. Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds will make your skin glow. Eating raw sunflower seeds can give you a powerful punch of many vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals found in these amazing little seeds are; magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, copper, vitamins B1, B2, B6, A, E, K, C and fiber. Vitamin E, in particular, is a very powerful vitamin, needed to help fight the aging process. They are also rich in omega-6 essential fatty acids.
9. Spinach: Spinach contains various nutrients that are good for your skin. The most useful vitamins of spinach are vitamin A, C, E, and K. The high amount of vitamin A in spinach also promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, thus fighting psoriasis, keratinization, acne and even wrinkles. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that folks who ate the most spinach developed half as many skin tumors over 11 years as those who ate the smallest amount. That’s likely because the folate in spinach helps maintain and repair DNA, reducing the likelihood of cancer-cell growth.
10. Olive oil: Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, one of the fatty acids that keep cell membranes fluid and therefore make skin supple. Olive oil also has small amounts of other essential fatty acids that fight inflammation. Yet another benefit comes in the form of vitamin E and polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that protect skin from free radical damage. When you prepare dishes, that require oil, aim for olive oil.
10 BEST FOODS FOR LOWERING CHOLESTEROL
If you have unhealthy cholesterol levels (or want to prevent them), one of the first things you should examine is your diet. Are you eating foods that help reduce cholesterol? Or avoiding the ones that cause unhealthy cholesterol levels to creep higher? If not, we’ve got 10 cholesterol-lowering foods you should grab next time you’re at the grocery store.
1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods: Over the years, there have been many research studies that have proven the benefits of oatmeal in lowering cholesterol levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is convinced, too: Oatmeal was one of the first foods to carry the heart healthy distinction on its label because of promising research findings. Oatmeal seems to be most effective in lowering LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) levels. According to the studies in adults, LDL cholesterol may be lowered by 10 percent in some cases. In these studies, anywhere between 40 and 60 grams — or roughly one bowl — of oatmeal was consumed by each subject per day. The cholesterol lowering benefits of oatmeal is also dose-dependent. That is, the more oatmeal you eat, the lower your cholesterol will go.
2. Olive Oil: Olive oil has long been popular for both cooking and seasoning in Mediterranean countries. These days, however, it’s being rediscovered in America. The low frequency of heart disease among those living in Mediterranean countries, despite lifestyles similar to more industrialized nations, has made us look more closely at their diets.The heavy use of olive oil by people living in that part of the world is the source of the high level of monounsaturated fat in their diets. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, the most common monounsaturated fatty acid found in the diet. Numerous studies indicate that monounsaturated fat is about as effective as polyunsaturated fat in lowering total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, when substituted for saturated fat in the diet. Plus, monounsaturated fat does not lower beneficial HDL cholesterol or raise triglycerides, unlike polyunsaturated fat, which, at high intakes, may lower HDL cholesterol.The Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers of olive oil to claim that “limited but not conclusive evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.”
3. Soy: Reducing saturated fat is the single most important dietary change you can make to cut blood cholesterol. Used as a replacement for meat and cheese, soy foods help your heart by slashing the amount of saturated fat that you eat.Why is saturated fat so bad for your heart? The liver uses saturated fat to make cholesterol, so eating foods with too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoproteins (LDL)—the bad cholesterol. Saturated fats are usually found in animal products such as whole milk, cream, butter, and cheese, and meats, such as beef, lamb and pork. There are some plant-based saturated fats you should avoid too, notably palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening.Not familiar with soy foods? The basics include tofu, soy nuts, soy flour, and enriched soymilk. Great-tasting, protein-rich meat alternatives include soy sausage, and breaded cutlets and nuggets that taste like chicken.The FDA recommends getting at least 25 grams of soy protein each day. Consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily lowers high cholesterol.
4. Foods Containing Sterols And Stanols: Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food,” according to HEALTHbeat. You can find sterols and stanols in an increasing amount of foods like margarine, granola and chocolate. Check food labels to see if they contain these helpful plant substances.
5. Garlic: Garlic is an excellent substance to add in your diet to contain the cholesterol level. When you have increased levels of cholesterol, take as much garlic as possible in your diet. It will certainly reduce cholesterol level without causing any side effects. Although it is best to take it in raw form, it is equally efficacious in other forms like pickles.A study that used dried garlic powder over 8 to 12 weeks showed significant reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, but the effect didn’t last beyond six months of treatment, suggesting that garlic has only a short-term effect on cholesterol. If you choose to include more garlic in your diet, the worst outcome may be strong breath or an upset stomach.
6. Dark chocolate: Chocolate has over 300 naturally occurring chemicals within it. The most infamous chemicals include caffeine, sugar, and cocoa. However, one of the lesser-known chemicals found in chocolate are referred to as flavonoids. Flavonoids are the same chemicals found in red wine, which has also been found to lower LDL cholesterol (low density lipoproteins, “bad” cholesterol) levels as well as exert a protective effect against coronary heart disease. In addition to this, one-third of the fat content found in chocolate is in the form of stearic acid.Despite the benefits that chocolate may have, it shouldn’t be an excuse to consume it at every meal! Chocolate should be consumed only in moderation, preferably in accompaniment with a healthy diet. It should also not be used to replace the other healthy sources of flavonoids in your diet, such as grapes and blueberries.
7. Avocados: Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat?a type of fat that may actually help to raise levels of HDL (“good”cholesterol) while lowering levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol). And these delectable green orbs pack more of the cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit. Beta-sitosterol reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. So the combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.The American Heart Association recommends that you get up to 15%t of your daily calories from monounsaturated fats like those contained in avocados, but some heart experts recommend an even greater percentage. (In an 1,800-calorie diet, 15% translates into 30 grams per day.) FYI: A whole avocado has about 300 calories and 30g fat.
8. Margarine: Two margarines are proven to help lower your cholesterol numbers: Take Control and Benecol. They do so by blocking the absorption of the cholesterol contained in your food and bile.Take Control margarine is made with plant sterols that are proven to lower both total and LDL cholesterol by up to 14%. The plant stanols in Benecol margarine work the same way. Both the National Cholesterol Education Program and the American Heart Association recommend these margarines.In studies, three servings a day of Benecol helped drop total blood cholesterol by an average of 10% and LDL cholesterol by 14%. Take Control helped drop total cholesterol an average of 6 to 8 percent and LDL by 7 to 10% with one to two servings a day. Check labels for serving size.
9. Tea: Tea, whether it’s iced or hot, delivers a blast of antioxidant compounds. Studies prove that tea helps to keep blood vessels relaxed and prevent blood clots. Flavonoids, the major antioxidants in tea, have been shown to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that leads to plaque formation on artery walls. These powerful antioxidants may even reduce cholesterol and even lower blood pressure.A cup of hot tea actually contains more antioxidants than a serving of any fruit or vegetable. Both green and black teas have high antioxidant levels. Enjoy at least one cup of tea every day.
10. Fish: Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil — or omega-3 fatty acids — reduces the risk of sudden death.The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. You should bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats.
10 BEST FOODS FOR MANAGING DIABETES
While there’s no substitute for a balanced diabetic diet, adding certain foods may help those with diabetes keep sugar levels in check.
1. Cinnamon: One of cinnamon’s most impressive health benefits is its ability to improve blood glucose control. For example, just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has previously been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The more you can make use of natural therapies such as nutrition and exercise, the better your health will be. However, as helpful as supplements like cinnamon can be, they should not be misconstrued as cures. They are not substitutes for proper diet and lifestyle choices. You cannot properly address your diabetes if you still maintain a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices — cinnamon supplementation or not!
2. Blueberries: The American Diabetes Association names blueberries as a “diabetes superfood” because blueberries are packed with nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidant vitamins, which provide several key benefits for dealing with diabetes. Blueberries may help your body process glucose for energy efficiently, both increasing its sensitivity to insulin and managing blood sugar, which can help you fight diabetes. A University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study presented April 19, 2009 at the Experimental Biology convention in New Orleans notes that laboratory rats that were fed blueberries crushed into a powder showed improved insulin sensitivity, even when eating a high-fat diet along with the blueberries. Since most people with type 2 diabetes struggle with insulin resistance, greater sensitivity to insulin can help manage the disease.
3. Beans: Beans are a healthy choice for anyone—they’re low in fat, and offer protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals. But they may have extra benefits for people with diabetes because they’re high in soluble fiber. Beans can reduce your need for insulin medications. Dr. James Anderson, one of the early research pioneers on the health benefits of fiber, found that people with Type 1 diabetes were able to reduce their need for insulin by 38% just by eating beans. And for those with type 2 diabetes, eating beans not only reduced their need for insulin and other diabetic medications but, in some cases, almost eliminated the need for supplemental insulin.
4. Broccoli: Eating broccoli could reverse the damage caused by diabetes to heart blood vessels, research suggests. A University of Warwick team believe the key is a compound found in the vegetable, called sulforaphane. It encourages production of enzymes which protect the blood vessels, and a reduction in high levels of molecules which cause significant cell damage. The Warwick team, whose work is reported in the journal Diabetes, tested the effects of sulforaphane on blood vessel cells damaged by high glucose levels (hyperglycaemia), which are associated with diabetes. They recorded a 73% reduction of molecules in the body called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
5. Cucumbers: Beta cells within the pancreas produce the hormone insulin.Cucumber is found to get a hormone required by the beta cells in the insulin production. Moreover, the Glycemic Index of cucumbers is found to be zero. Why Cucumbers have not a glycemic index listed? Does this imply that they don’t raise blood sugar? No. It only denotes that under the “rules” for the meaning of the glycemic index, it is too hard to get an accurate number. It is because you’ll need to eat a very big amount of the food to get 50 grams of carbohydrate at a time to be tested. Usually, the lower the amount of carbohydrate in a vegetable and the more fiber it has, the less the rise in blood glucose will be.
6. Cabbage: Cabbages are very low in kilojoules and high in fiber, which translates to weight loss, a crucial factor in the fight against diabetes. Cabbages are a rich source of vitamin C, which reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Red cabbage is rich in anthocyanins, a natural pigment that boost insulin production. Fermented cabbage, also known as sauerkraut, have higher levels of anticancer compounds, due to fermentation. A word of caution: sauerkrauts are high in sodium.
7. Red Grapefruit: Sweet, juicy, and delicious, the ruby red grapefruit packs more antioxidant power and possibly more heart benefits than the white grapefruit. In a preliminary 30-day test of 57 people with heart disease, those eating one red grapefruit daily decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20 percent and decreased triglycerides by 17 percent. In contrast, those eating a white grapefruit reduced LDL by 10 percent with no significant change in triglycerides, compared with a group of people who didn’t eat the fruit. Include the vitamin C-rich grapefruit as a juice, in salads, or by itself. The only way the body can get vitamin C is through food, such as citrus fruits, or supplements.
8. Fish: Seafood lovers rejoice! Fish is a great addition to your meal plan, especially omega-3-rich fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Omega-3s, a type of polyunsaturated fat, which is healthful, can help lower triglycerides. According to Healing Gourmet: Eat to Beat Diabetes (McGraw-Hill, 2006), omega-3s can also help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of blood clots. Although fish is good for you and is considered a lean-meat substitute for its high protein, concerns have been raised about harmful mercury levels and other toxins found in some fish.
9. Flaxseed: Flaxseed is the new “it” superfood, noted for its alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid that can be converted into omega-3 fatty acids, which offer similar benefits as the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish. ALA omega-3s are known for helping to lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and decrease the risk of heart disease. Flaxseed has emerged as a must-eat power food for overall health. High in both soluble and insoluble fiber, flaxseed is also a good source of lignans, a phytoestrogen that is considered another type of antioxidant.
10. Spinach: Spinach, kale, chard, and other leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, such as folate; minerals, such as magnesium; a range of phytonutrients; and insoluble fiber — all of which have virtually no impact on your blood sugar level. Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company), calls leafy greens “free foods,” which means you should eat as many of them as you can. Bonus: The fiber in leafy greens will slow absorption of any carbohydrates (e.g., potatoes or bread) they’re paired with, resulting in a healthier overall glycemic load.
10 BEST FOODS FOR PREGNANCY
Now that you’re expecting, it’s more important than ever to eat right. So what tops our list of eat-smart tips for expectant mamas? Read on to find out what to eat while pregnant.
1. Eggs: In addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs contain lots of quality protein, which is essential for pregnancy. Baby’s cells are growing at an exponential rate, and every cell is made of protein, plus, a pregnant woman has her own protein needs.Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s overall growth and brain health, while helping prevent neural tube defects. Some even contain omega-3 fats, important for both brain and vision development. (Brands that have omega-3 fats will probably state so on the label.)As for eggs’ bad rap for cholesterol? Not warranted. It turns out that eating saturated fat does much more damage to your cholesterol level than eating the cholesterol naturally found in food. And while eggs are high in cholesterol, they’re also relatively low in saturated fat, with about one and a half grams per egg.Healthy women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one to two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat.
2. Avocados: Loaded with folic acid (vital to forming your baby’s brain and nervous system), potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 (which not only helps baby’s tissue and brain growth, but may also help with your morning sickness), avocados are a delicious way to get your vitamins. Spread some ripe avocado on your whole grain roll as a healthy substitute for mayo. Keep in mind that avocados are high in fat (though the very good kind) and calories, so heap them on your plate only if you’re having trouble gaining weight.
3. Carrots: Carrots are tops when it comes to vitamin A, so important for the development of your baby’s bones, teeth, and eyes. They’re perfect for munching on the go, but they also shred neatly into almost anything (from salads to meatloaf to cakes to muffins). Carrots are also a good source of vitamins B6 and C, and fiber to keep things moving.
4. Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your baby’s brain and eyes, and salmon is a great source. Plus it provides protein and B vitamins. Salmon is also relatively low in mercury compared to other fish. Try it grilled, broiled, or on a salad. You can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish, such as salmon, per week.
5. Legumes: Legumes are high in folic acid (folate), which is vital to the development of the baby’s neural tube. The neural tube forms during the first month of pregnancy and later develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a daily consumption of at least .4 milligrams of folic acid (a B vitamin) to decreases the risk of neural tube defects, such a spina bifida.Legumes are also filled with a high content of iron. Iron is necessary to the development of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough oxygen, the body’s organs and tissues cannot operate well. Iron also helps fight pregnancy symptoms of tiredness, irritability, and depression. During pregnancy, iron is absorbed at a quicker rate so a higher intake is required to ensure both mother and baby get the adequate amount. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron during pregnancy is 27mg per day.Another added benefit of legumes is they are loaded with fiber. This helps combat the discomfort of constipation, a common problem among pregnant women.
6. Sweet Potatoes: Although sweet potatoes would be a nutritious addition to anyone’s diet, pregnant women might find them particularly beneficial. Sweet potatoes naturally contain several of the nutrients women need during pregnancy, including protein, fiber, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes also are low in calories and fat and do not contain any cholesterol.When you are pregnant, you require about 75 to 100 g of protein, which helps your unborn baby grow properly and plays a role in increasing your blood supply. You also need to get more vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc than women who are not pregnant. Iron intake should increase from 18 g to 27 g a day during pregnancy. Although higher iron consumption could lead to constipation, getting at least 25 g to 30 g of fiber each day should help prevent this. Sweet potatoes are a good source of almost all of these nutrients.
7. Walnuts: Naturopathic physician Heather Manley points out that walnuts resemble little brains, so it just makes sense that they’re good for your mind. And the science backs it up; walnuts boost memory because they’re rich in antioxidants as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. An added benefit is that walnuts boost the body’s melatonin levels, which can help cure the restless nights that pregnant women often endure.
8. Lean Meats: Women need extra iron when they’re pregnant, and the best natural source is red meat. Iron carries oxygen to your brain and to your baby’s brain; furthermore, there’s a link between low iron and poor brain function in babies, so it’s essential to consume a healthy amount of the vitamin during pregnancy. If you’re a red meat lover, the leanest cuts of beef include round and sirloin. Bison meat is an even leaner option and has considerably more iron than beef.
9. Figs: There’s a whopping 5 grams of fiber in just 1 cup of dried figs. Plus, figs are a great nondairy source of calcium; one serving contains about a quarter of your daily needs (1,000 milligrams). And while your teeth may not appreciate the high sugar content, they will benefit from the potassium, phosphorus and magnesium in figs. These tooth-supporting nutrients aren’t just great for your own mouth; they are essential to the 32 teeth forming below the gums in your growing baby’s mouth.Figs are also a good source of iron. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, especially during pregnancy, thanks to the increase in your blood volume and growing demands by the baby for iron to produce millions of red blood cells. Stewed figs contain about 3 milligrams of iron (about 10 percent of your daily recommended intake) in 1 cup. The same number of figs will also provide your body with 23 micrograms of vitamin K, which is needed for proper blood clotting and bone formation.
10. Basil: Basil is a pregnancy superfood. This fresh herb is a good source of protein, vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin; plus, it’s a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.