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Veggies lower risk of premature babies: Best foods to include in your pregnancy diet

. If you start a healthier diet after the baby has been conceived, it may be too late because babies are fully formed by the end of the first trimester. So, you need to start a healthy diet early. @Shutterstock

According to a new study, consuming more vegetables before pregnancy brings down the risk of pre-term births. Know what foods to add to your pregnancy diet.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : May 1, 2020 2:40 PM IST

There have been many debates about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Now a new study says that a predominantly vegetarian pregnancy diet may reduce the risk of pre-term babies. According to researchers, consuming the traditional 'three-veggies' before pregnancy brings down this risk. This study, from the University of Queensland, looked at the diets of nearly 3,500 women. Researchers found that high consumption of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, cabbage, green beans and potatoes before conception helped women reach full-term pregnancy.

They say that this may be due to the fact that most traditional vegetables are rich in antioxidants or anti-inflammatory nutrients. This may play a significant role in reducing the risk of adverse birth outcomes. Moreover, nutrients like calcium and iron are essential before conception for the placenta and foetus tissue development. If you start a healthier diet after the baby has been conceived, it may be too late because babies are fully formed by the end of the first trimester. So, you need to start a healthy diet early. Researchers of this study suggested dietary intervention and strategies to change behaviour that may be helpful when women start thinking about having a baby.

Let us look at a few veggies that are beneficial for pregnant women.

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Broccoli

This is packed with fiber and antioxidants that help you fight against many diseases. It is also a rich source of vitamin C. Have this daily because it helps in the absorption of iron if you combine it with any iron-rich food. Be sure to have a lot of broccoli when you are pregnant.

Spinach

This leafy green is better cooked than raw. When you cook spinach, you get more folate and iron. You can also have kale and turnip greens for calcium. Even iceberg lettuce comes with a lot of nutrients that are essential during pregnancy.

Red bell pepper

If you compare a red bell pepper to an orange, you will be surprised to know that the former give will you three times more vitamin C. This nutrient is essential for a strong immunity. During pregnancy, your immunity goes down, so you need to boost it up with diet. Vitamin C also stimulates the brain development of the foetus. It also facilitates the better absorption of iron.

OTHER HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS FOR WOULD-BE MOMS

Veggies are very important for pregnant women but so are a few other vegetarian foods. You must add these foods to your pregnancy diet as well.

Lentils

If you are pregnant, you need at least 60 gms of folate every day. Lentils are loaded with this nutrient and just one cup of cooked lentils will give you 15 gms of this folate. This is a must in any pregnancy diet. Lentils are also loaded with fiber, which prevents constipation. Lentils must be a part of your pregnancy diet.

Bananas

You need extra energy when you are pregnant and bananas can give you just that. These are rich in potassium, which gives you an instant energy lift. You can also have it if you feel pregnancy-related nausea. Be sure to have one every day.

Yoghurt

This is one food that you must definitely include in your pregnancy diet. One cup of yogurt will provide around 30 per cent of your daily requirement of calcium. It will also reduce your baby's risk of allergies later in life.

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