A healthy diet is extremely crucial for women trying to conceive and throughout the pregnancy. This includes getting all of the calories, nutrients and vitamins necessary. Many people have a misconception that a vegan diet can be risky and unsuitable for pregnant women. However, plant-based diet is an extremely healthy diet for pregnant women if done right. The fact is that a vegan diet is healthy and safe for all the stages of life. The most important concern people have regarding a vegan diet is that it may not provide them with enough protein. Some people believe that a vegan diet can cause the expecting mom to become malnourished and deprive the baby of essential nutrients. Read on to find out some real facts proving about how you can have the healthiest pregnancy with the plant-based diet.
A Vegan Diet has Them All:
A vegan pregnancy offers amazing health benefits, so transitioning to veganism for all the benefits is a great choice. It’s completely safe to continue a vegan diet throughout the pregnancy. A plant-based diet helps you build a stronger immune system, improve your heart health, and prevents unnecessary weight gain during the pregnancy. Most of the food items recommended by American Pregnancy Association for pregnant women are vegan. These include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. A plant-based diet can actually provide you with all the essential nutrients that are required for a safe and healthy vegan pregnancy. The most important nutrients you need to consume during pregnancy are iron, protein, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin D, and a vegan diet has them all.
Vegan Sources of Key Nutrients:
As mentioned earlier, the key nutrients a pregnant woman should consume are protein, iron, folic acid, vitamin D, and calcium. There are so many plant-based sources to get these key nutrients during your vegan pregnancy. That means the animal-based diet is not necessary to fulfil your body’s requirement for these essential nutrients. Here are some items you must include in your vegan diet to make sure you consume all the key nutrients.
Protein is highly essential during your life, but you need more protein than usual during a pregnancy. That is because it is required to build cells for your growing baby. You must consume at least 75 grams of protein daily. Rich plant-based protein sources are whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and soy. Moreover, you should also add chickpeas, kidney or pinto beans, split or green peas, oatmeal, nut butter, etc.
During pregnancy, the volume of your blood can increase by almost fifty percent. Iron is mandatory to produce more red blood cells to support you and your developing baby. Yes! You can get ample amount of iron form your vegan diet as well. You should get 27 mg of iron daily through the iron-rich vegan foods like beans, barley, dried fruit, spinach, kale, or collard green, brown rice, apple, etc. Iron deficiency can cause anemia. That is why you should consume many of the veggie-based iron sources during your pregnancy.
Folic acid along with vitamin B12, is needed for proper brain development of the fetus. It is important for the formation of genetic material and red blood cells. 2.6mcg of B12 and folic acid is required per day. Plant-based sources of this vitamin are fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, vitamin B12-fortified soy milk, broccoli, avocado, asparagus, etc.
Almonds, figs, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich sources of calcium. A calcium-rich vegan diet is required to build your baby’s bones, muscle, nerves, and heart. If your growing baby is not getting this nutrient from your diet, he’ll probably take it from your bones, which can put you at risk of osteoporosis later in life.