The period of pregnancy is a very special time for every woman. Everything is different about them. A lot of changes take place in their bodies, because they are accommodating a new life. This results in drastic changes in their lifestyle. From the kinds of activities they can engage in to what they can wear, and even what they consume. Pregnant women are usually told to avoid certain habits, like drinking alcohol and smoking. They are also told to give up certain foods just as they are told to eat more of certain kinds of foods. This is because, at this point, their bodies require special nutrients, not just for them but for the baby they are carrying. Research suggest that there is a strong link between diet and pregnancy. Thus, it is wise to eat healthy food during pregnancy.
In today’s post, we would be looking at some of the healthy Nigerian foods that are recommended for pregnant women.
1. Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are recommended because they would help the baby develop strong bones and teeth, especially during the first few months, which is very vital. They also contain high-quality protein, which is also needed by the baby. Besides this, they contain a range of other nutrients including magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, and so on.
The best type of yoghurt to take is Greek yoghurt. It is richer in calcium and other nutrients, and also contains probiotic bacteria, which makes it healthy for your guts. There are so many other Nigerian dairy products such as fura da nono.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Vegetables are nutritious and they benefit the body in so many ways, especially when you are pregnant. The good thing about vegetables is that they are so many healthy Nigerian leafy vegetables to choose from, including spinach, lettuce, cabbage, fluted pumpkin leaves, waterleaf, bitter leaf and so on. In a typical Nigerian market, you would surely come across lots of green vegetables to choose from. These vegetables are stacked with a lot of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, protein, vitamin B and C, and so much more.
You can use these vegetables to cook your soups and sauces. They can also be used to prepare porridges and other kinds of dishes.
Legumes include foods like beans, pea, African yam bean, and so on. They are very rich in protein, which is a nutrient that helps build the body. Legumes are also a rich source of dietary fibre.
In Nigeria, the most common legume is beans. Beans can be cooked plainly or made into other things like akara, moi-moi, okpa, and so on. No matter how you choose to make your beans, your body would get all the nutrient it needs.
4. Nigerian Foods Rich In Fibre
Fibre is one nutrient your body needs a lot of during pregnancy. This is because fibre helps the process of digestion by easing bowel movement. This helps to prevent constipation and other gastrointestinal diseases. In addition to that, fibre keeps you satisfied, so you do not have to eat as often as you should, which would help to keep your weight in check. Examples of some foods rich in fibre includes garden eggs, Nigerian pear, maize, oats, millet, rice, banana, sweet potatoes, and more.
5. Beef and Chicken
Chicken is a great source of animal protein for pregnant women. Beef and chicken are healthy meats, which are rich in iron, choline, and B vitamins. These nutrients are required in higher amounts during pregnancy.
Other Healthy Nigerian Foods for Pregnant Women:
- Pepper soup
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fish liver oil
- African oil bean seed (Ukpaka or ugba)
- Breadfruit (Ukwa)
- Uziza leaves.