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Pregnancy is wonderful news, and while it brings joy and cheer to a family, it is imperative to keep certain factors in mind for the expectant mother to have a smooth sailing. The two crucial elements include nutrition-focused eating practices, and emotional and/or mental well-being.
Food plays a critical role not only for physical nourishment, but also emotional and mental nourishment. Both these factors have a long-term impact on a person’s quality of life and well-being. There are certain wonder foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also play an essential role in boosting your hormones, which in turn, uplifts positive feelings, be it your sense of happiness, contentment and excitement.
Mental health problems also have biological manifestations, and that is where these superfoods come in handy. These foods help handle mental health issues like anxiety, depression, panic attacks and stress, which some women face during pregnancy. Inclusion of these healthy foods in the quantities recommended on a regular basis definitely has a positive impact on mental well-being, and also improves their mood.
1. Saffron (Kesar)
The first ingredient on the list of foods for a pregnant woman is saffron. It helps to tackle mood fluctuations and improves the ‘feel good’ factor. Add just about 2-3 strands to a glass of warm milk to reap its health benefits.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids
It is one of the key mood-boosting nutrients that is not produced by one’s body. Inclusion of fish (salmon/sardines/anchovies/oysters) in steamed/pressure cooked forms, twice a week, will prove to be helpful. You could also get it from vegetarian sources like walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.
They are best known for their role in digestive health, while also helping to deal with mood swings during pregnancy. Consuming a varied range of probiotics like fermented food, fresh curd and related foods like buttermilk/lassi, fermented rice, tempeh and kefir, is likely to help expectant mothers.
4. Whole grains
Unrefined whole grains are vital sources of B-vitamins –B1, B5, B6 and B12 that are crucial to keep your mood in check during pregnancy. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, millets, and whole wheat should be preferred over refined cereals.
Yes, you heard it right but it has to be dark chocolate. Consuming a dark version once or twice a week reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and other stress-related hormones, making the mother feel good and happy.
6. Chamomile tea
Try to swap a cup of sugar-laden beverage with a warm and soothing cup of chamomile tea or any herbal tea. A specific naturally-occurring component in this refreshing beverage is believed to improve mood swings in pregnant women. Having one cup of this tea in a day eases mood disturbances.
Popularly known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is responsible for increasing the serotonin levels that greatly influence the mood in expectant mothers. Sun exposure is the primary source, but apart from that even fortified food like egg yolks, mushrooms, soy milk, and orange juice can help to handle the issue.
So, always reach out to these foods rather than binging on deep/shallow fried food, sweets, sugar-based beverages and fast foods.