15 Foods to Improve Your Baby's Brain Health during pregnancy
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential irrespective of the fact if a person is pregnant or not.
But there is no doubt that the key nutrients that come from the whole foods are important for the development of the baby's brain.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some foods have proven to be filled with nutrients that are important for the development of a baby.
They also have the nutritious power to improve the mental health of the babies and strengthen their memory too, when these foods are included in diet during pregnancy.
According to the George Matelijan Foundation's analysis, spinach tops the list of nutrient rich food. It contains vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, fibers, calcium and folic acid.
High content of iron is the main reason one should include spinach in their diet.
Anemia is a common problem during pregnancy that can persist even after the birth of the child. Extra iron helps in the development of baby's red blood cells and ensured the transfer of oxygen to the baby's brain cells.
Bananas have been considered as the super foods for the pregnant women. Women can carry them in their purse and have it even on the go to their workplace.
Bananas are rich in potassium, lipids, iron, calcium, phosphorus and iron which fight off the terrible pregnancy fatigue that drains the body by the middle of the day.
They are also known to prevent premature labour, high blood pressure, helps in indigestion and increases immunity.
One can eat them plain or add it to their yogurts, smoothies or salads!
Salmon is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA), which plays a vital role in the development and proper functioning of the brain.
DHA is also a structural fatty acid present in the nervous system which makes it essential for brain development.
Deep frying of the fish may result in loss of Omega-3 fatty acids. That is why it is important to bake, broil or steam them before eating.
Egg yolk is a rich source of choline which is the main component of cell mass and cell membrane.
Eggs are also responsible for acetylcholine which carries messages through nerves.
That is why eggs have proven to be beneficial for the development and memory related functions of the brain.
Though raw eggs have higher choline content which gets destroyed while cooking, it is advised that eggs be cooked before consuming to prevent food poisonings.
lean meat filled with zinc and iron is said to be very beneficial for pregnant women.
Low levels of zinc hinders the memory related functions of the brain. Iron helps in the transfer of oxygen to the brain and keep anemia at bay.
Iron deficiency can be dangerous for both mother and the baby. It is better to stir fry, bake or roast the meats rather than deep frying or cooking them in spices and gravy.
Dairy products: Milk, cheese and yogurt are filled with calcium and high quality protein like whey and casein.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, calcium is not only important for the development of teeth and bones, but also play a major role in the electrical signaling that takes place within the brain.
It is important for the overall development of the baby and should be included in the diet.
Nuts and Seeds
They are filled with protein, essential fatty acids, iron, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B and other groups of vitamin that have proved to be important for the development and functioning of the brain as well the neurological system.
The fiber present in them aids in digestion. Walnuts filled with DHA, a type of Omega-3 acids improves brain's performance and prevents from any cognitive diseases.
Salt is rich in iodine and iodine is required by the thyroid for the production of triiodothyronine and thyroxine hormones for both baby and the women.
Iodine plays a major role in the development of the baby's cerebral cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, visual and auditory cortex.
Since the thyroid of the baby doesn't develop up to 20 weeks so the iodine consumed through mother's food helps in the development of brain.
Legumes including beans, lentils and split peas are packed with high-quality proteins .
According to Sarah Kreiger, a registered nutritionist, protein can be defined as a "builder nutrient" as it helps in the development of organs.
Protein are made up of amino acids which are essential for the repair and production of cells. Researchers have found that proteins are vital for the functioning as well as the development of the baby's brain.
Dark chocolate can be enjoyed by pregnant woman (Although in moderation) as it is said to help improve blood flow in the mother as well as to the baby.
It is also filled with antioxidants that protects the tissues and membrane of the developing baby from any damage.
These include apricots and prunes that must be consumed in moderation since they can cause digestive problems and have less water as compared to fresh fruits.
Prunes aids nausea and fatigue in pregnant women.
Both are rich in vitamin B complex which are important for DNA or RNA repair and syntheses and production of neurochemicals as well as signaling molecules. They also protect the cellular membrane of the brain from any damage.
These are filled with antioxidants that aid cognitive development of the baby and they can be replaced with blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes or beans.
They are full of healthy fats, antioxidants, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6. They help to fight against the morning sickness that causes fatigue for the rest of the day and helps in the absorption of nutrients from other fruits and vegetables.
Half a cup of avocado contain 22 milligrams of choline that plays a vital role in the development of red blood cells, fetal brain and fights anemia as well.
Whole grain bread and cereals have higher amount of folic acid and iron than white bread and rice.
It is a good idea to eat whole wheat pasta for dinner, brown rice for lunch and a sandwich on whole grain bread for breakfast for an overall diet requirements during the pregnancy
Pregnant women have dilemma regarding the consumption of papaya during the pregnancy, but nutritionists suggest that although raw papayas should be avoided, ripe papaya may be consumed with caution.
Ripe papayas are rich in antioxidants and folic acid that has proven to be essential for the neurological development of the baby and aids morning sickness, increases milk production and prevents heart diseases or colon cancer as well.
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