Food Cravings during Pregnancy – What to eat & what not to

Pankaj Kumar
 


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What do pregnant women crave? A few researchers have found out that among most of the pregnant women, almost 40% crave for sweet food. Food cravings during pregnancy are a common phenomenon and some women crave for salty or spicy food. Further, it is observed that there is a small percentage of women who crave for citrus fruits, green apples or other tart food.

Weird combinations of food are often asked for by pregnant women and the cravings can feel overpowering. What exactly causes these cravings? Hormones, right?

What do food cravings mean?

They have been linked to different ideas based on various theories and researches. For instance, some experts think that craving large amounts of ice and non-food materials such as starch or clay is because of iron or zinc deficiency, though there is not much evidence to support it.

What to do about cravings?

It is important to pay attention to cravings, but there is a catch. Indulge in the healthy ones and as far as the non-healthy ones are considered, find a healthy alternative.

Now, apart from the cravings, if there is something important, it is a balanced diet during pregnancy. Below is a list of food you should definitely eat when pregnant.

Folate, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Fibre – The “BIG 5”

Folate is a very important nutrient during pregnancy. No other nutrient is as important during the first six weeks. This is known to reduce the risk of neural tube defects by 70 percent. You can get your essential folate requirements with health drinks suitable for pregnant women available in the market. Consuming two glasses of milk twice daily, with essential health drink mixed in it, can help you suffice the requirement.

Calcium – a daily dose of 1,200 milligrams from low-fat dairy products, dark green vegetables, orange juice and soy products – plays an important role in the second and third trimesters, when your baby’s bone and tooth development is at its peak. Because the growing baby extracts calcium from your body, getting enough of it can protect your own bones, too.

Iron is crucial in the third trimester as it supports your 50 percent increase in blood volume. Aim for 30 milligrams per day.

Zinc – Its requirements increase by 50% during pregnancy up to 15 mg per day and deficiencies have been linked to various birth defects, restricted foetal growth and premature delivery.

Fibre – fruits, vegetables and whole grains are a rich source of fibre. This is particularly essential for your own health. Fibre makes you feel fuller for longer periods of time. Aim for 25 – 35mg per day.

The big 5 are an essential part of a healthy diet required during pregnancy and make up for most of the body’s nutrients. A combination of different food items makes it possible for the women to have all the required nutrients. Make sure you experiment with food and choose more healthy alternatives when it comes to cravings.

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