Fibre During Pregnancy – Benefits and Food Sources
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If mama is healthy, then the baby is healthy! Pregnant women need to keep this in mind, and make sure to maintain a healthy diet. There are many hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body, and having problems with the digestive system is quite common. Many pregnant women suffer from constipation, haemorrhoids, and diarrhoea. Having foods rich in fibre keeps these at bay, or keeps them to a minimum.
What Is Fibre?
Fibre is found only in plants, and it is not something that can actually be digested by the human body. We do not gain any nutrients from it, but it does provide an important function in the body. Having enough fibre in your diet ensures a healthy and well-functioning digestive system, as it helps the body remove waste properly. Another name by which fibre is known, is roughage.
The only side effect of a diet rich in fibre is that you may pass a bit more gas than you usually would. This is because, though our bodies generally cannot digest fibre, the bacteria inside the colon and intestine can digest it to an extent.
What Are the Types of Fibre?
There are two types of fibres:
- Insoluble Fibres: This type of fibre acts as a natural laxative, and it helps in faster and easier waste movement through the digestive tract. It softens the stool, and prevents constipation. It can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and dried peas.
- Soluble Fibres: This type of fibre helps to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Soluble fibres can be found in dried peas and beans, fruits, vegetables, barley, and oats.
Benefits of Eating High-Fibre Foods During Pregnancy
A hormone called progesterone, which is produced by the ovaries during pregnancy, relaxes the stomach muscles, and slows digestion. Adding fibre to your diet can make all the difference here, as it helps to curb irregular digestion and bowel movements. Here are some other ways that fibre is good for you during your pregnancy:
- Helps keep pregnancy weight under control: As high-fibre foods keep you fuller for longer and do not contain too many calories, they are a great way to help you manage your pregnancy weight.
- Helps to prevent constipation: Having the recommended amount of fibre in your diet will prevent you from becoming constipated, which is a problem faced by most pregnant women.
- Helps regulate blood sugar: Fibre slows the digestion of food, and this prevents your blood sugar from rising too fast.
- Helps reduce risk of heart problems: Fibres help to trap cholesterol-rich bile acids in the digestive system, resulting in the body being unable to absorb cholesterol.
Fibre-Rich Food Options for Pregnant Women
In order to avoid constipation and other problems that a faulty digestive tract can cause, add more fibre-rich foods to your meals, and notice the difference it makes to your system. Here are some high fibre foods for pregnancy:
- Fibre-rich Vegetables
- Green Peas
- Bell peppers
- Green leafy vegetables
- Okra (Lady’s finger)
2. Fibre-rich Fruits
3. Fibre-rich Grains And Cereals
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grains
- Wild Rice
4. Fibre-rich Legumes and Nuts
- Lime Beans
- French Beans
- Black Beans
Instant High-Fibre Recipes
Here are some easy and tasty high-fibre recipes that you won’t take you long to make:
- Fruit Shake with Nuts
A milk or yoghurt-based shake made with fresh fruits and nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios is the perfect beverage! Choose fibre-rich fruits like mango, apple, or berries. A fruit and nut shake can be whipped up quickly in a blender, and makes for a super healthy drink at breakfast, or as a mid-day snack. Wash the fruits well before using.
2. Carrot Sticks with Hummus
This classic dish is packed with nutrition and fibre. If you can make the hummus at home from scratch, that will be perfect! The chickpeas and carrot are fibre-rich, and the accompanying spices make this recipe simple yet scrumptious, and an absolute delight to snack on. Make sure to wash the carrots well, and slice them as thick or thin as you like.
Other Things to Consider
As you increase the amount of fibre you consume during pregnancy, it becomes very important for you to drink a lot of fluids as well, as it helps in keeping your digestive system working well, and also keeps you hydrated. The recommended amount of fluids you should be drinking is ten to twelve cups. Coconut water is especially beneficial to pregnant women, as it contains many essential nutrients, dietary fibre, and lauric acid, which help in protecting the body from infections.
The high-fibre content of a plant-based diet is the healthiest option for pregnant women, as it contains less toxic waste than animal products. Plant fibre ensures correct bacterial population in the gut. It is also advised that pregnant women stay away from soybeans or any soy products, as they are most often genetically engineered.
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful times in a woman’s life. Most women anticipate it with a lot of joy. But, in order for you to truly enjoy your pregnancy while knowing that you are doing the best for your baby, you must ensure that you are maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. After all, you are eating for two now. Remember to have a more plant-based diet and drink a lot of fluids, in order to keep your body functioning at the best level it possibly can, for you and your baby.