The Best Pregnancy Diet: 7 Nutrients You Need
by Maureen Healy
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 7: Calcium
Daily Requirement: 1,000 mg
Fact: Must be taken with vitamin D for proper absorption.
Food Sources: Plain yogurt, milk, cheese, kale, tofu, spinach and almonds.
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 6: Vitamin D
Daily Requirement: 600 IUs
Fact: Essential to help calcium absorption.
Food Sources: Beef, liver, cheese, egg yolks, fortified milk, cereal, orange juice and yogurt.
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 5: Iron
Daily Requirement: 27 mg
Fact: Helps form the parts of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to you and your baby.
Food Sources: Fortified cereal, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach and raisins.
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 4: Fiber
Daily Requirement: 28 g
Fact: Alleviates constipation, which is common in pregnancy.
Food Sources: Raspberries, apples, dried figs, whole-grain bread, spaghetti, rice, peas and beans.
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 3: Folate
Daily Requirement: 600 mcg
Fact: Critical during the earliest stages of pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects. (Note that folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in supplements.)
Food Sources: Leafy green vegetables, beef liver, lentils, asparagus, fortified cereal and orange juice.
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 2: Choline
Daily Requirement: 450 mg
Fact: Works with folate to reduce neural tube defects in early pregnancy — and you can’t get enough with a supplement. Animal studies show choline is critical to developing the memory center in the brain.
Food Sources: Egg yolk, broccoli, cauliflower, beef and pork.
Best Pregnancy Diet Nutrient No. 1: DHA
Daily Requirement: 300 mg
Fact: Supports brain, eye and central nervous system health.
Food Sources: Cold water fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. It’s OK to eat fish in moderation, but because of concerns about varying mercury levels in seafood, a purified fish oil supplement is the safest way to get this amount daily.
Maureen Healy is a freelance writer in Portland, Ore., who frequently contributes to Fit Pregnancy, New Parent, Baby & Toddler and Baby + You. She and her partner James McDonough are currently trying to get pregnant with their first child.