Should pregnant women follow a vegan diet?

  • 7 months ago
4 minute read.
Should pregnant women follow a vegan diet?

A vegan diet has proved to be very nutritious for women. It is as useful as the non vegan diet, which is full of proteins. But can pregnant women follow a vegan diet? Yes, they can.

Some food supplements are animal-based and need to be consumed during pregnancy. However, a proper vegan diet for pregnant women can provide all such nutrients at the right time.

Do you know about the benefits of a vegan diet for a pregnant woman? Well, there are several  benefits to look at.

Let us look at some of the benefits and foods that a pregnant woman needs to eat and avoid as  well.

BENEFITS OF A VEGAN DIET FOR A PREGNANT WOMAN

1. Healthy body weight

A vegan diet contains less saturated fat than animal products that have high-protein content.  Vegan food has fewer calories compared to non-vegan ones. They help to gain the necessary  weight, which is healthy for the body without even working out and burning calories. Healthy  body weight is more essential during pregnancy.

2. Prevents type 2 diabetes

People who have a vegan diet tend to have lower blood sugar levels than compared to people  who have a non-vegan diet. As a result of which they are also less likely to have type 2 diabetes.  Consuming more leafy vegetables can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other diseases.

3. Reduces the risk of cancer

Plant-based foods have phytochemicals that can reduce the risk of cancer. They also have  antioxidants that help to fight other major diseases. On the other hand, animal-based foods have  a high amount of saturated fat that can take a toll on the health.

4. Rich in nutrients

Vegetables, pulses, grains, and legumes contain many nutrients, starting from fiber, magnesium,  vitamins A, B, C, potassium, minerals. A healthy body requires all of these to stay fit and  function properly, especially for a pregnant woman.

5. Reduces risk of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a severe pregnancy complication where the blood pressure level rises and causes  damage to organs. This complication can be prevented if a healthy vegan diet is followed and proteins are avoided for some time since they contain high saturated fat. A pregnant woman should maintain a balance in her diet for a healthy pregnancy along with taking care of the do's and don'ts.

FOODS TO EAT

1. Sweet potatoes – They contain beta carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A once  consumed. Vitamin A is very essential for the growth of the body. Sweet potatoes also have fiber which improves metabolism and reduces high blood sugar levels.

2. Whole grains – They have fibers, vitamins, and plant compounds. Some pregnant women lack  magnesium, but whole grains fulfill that criterion. Whole grains should be consumed every day  by a pregnant woman.

3. Dry fruits – They contain a high amount of natural sugar and other nutrients like calories,  various vitamins, and iron. Dried fruits should be consumed every morning but not more than  two per day.

4. Fruits and Leafy vegetables – Purple, yellow orange fruits and green leafy vegetables like broccoli and lettuce contain nutrients like vitamins A and K, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Fiber helps to ward off constipation, and the other nutrients will contribute to the suitable birth weight required.

5. Calcium- fortified plant milks, curd and yogurt- These foods make it easier to meet the calcium requirements of a pregnant women. They can opt for unsweetened versions whenever possible.

6. Legumes, Soya, Tofu- Beans, peas, lentils, soya and tofu are good sources of plant based protein and fiber. Sprouting, fermenting and cooking them thoroughly can make it easier to absorb maximum nutrients.

FOODS TO AVOID

1. Unpasteurized milk products – Raw or unpasteurized milk and other milk products like cheese  and curd can contain bacteria that can be harmful to pregnant women. It can cause infections in  the body of the unborn baby.

2. Caffeine – Most of us love having coffee every day, and we can almost call it a habit, but  caffeine intake during pregnancy should be restricted. The caffeine quickly passes through the  placenta and can affect the growth of the baby.

3. Raw and refrigerated fish – Fishes like salmon, sardine, and tuna, if eaten uncooked or  refrigerated, can harm the pregnant mother as well as the unborn baby because they have harmful  bacteria and viruses.

4. Raw sprouts – Sprouted seeds and beans are good to consume but only when cooked. Raw  sprouts can have bacteria that need to be washed before eating. These bacteria can be dangerous  for the baby and can lead to consequences.

A vegan diet for pregnant women should contain all the necessary foods that have the required nutrients. This is necessary both for the mother and the baby.

SAMPLE VEGAN DIET PLAN FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

Meal

Menu

Quantity

Early Morning 

Mixed nuts and dried fruits 

1 Fistful 

Breakfast 

Tofu paratha / Moong dal Cheela / Vegetable Daliya / Broccoli upma + 2 multigrain bread slices

+ Soy milk

+ Fruit

2 No. / 1 Bowl / 1 Serving

1 Medium Glass

1 Whole

Mid-Morning Snack 

Sprouts 

+ Pumpkin seeds

1 Bowl

1 Teaspoon

Lunch 

Tofu salad with sesame seeds

+ Vegetable

+ Beans curry/Whole Dals/ Potato Spinach Curry

+ Roti/ Vegetable Pulao

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

2 No. / 1 Bowl

Mid-Evening Snack

 Green tea / Coconut water

 + Roasted grains / Beans on toast / Veggie sticks with hummus

1 Glass

1 Handful / 1 Piece / 1 Whole

Dinner

Salad / Soup

+ Vegetable

+ Dal

+ Roti

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

2 No. 

Post Dinner

Almond milk / Fruit cream

1 Glass / 1 Bowl

Please note: If you are sensitive to any of the above mentioned food in the meal chart, please avoid it.



Avoid consuming alcohol  and smoking since that can affect the baby as well. A little effort will give you fruitful results.

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