Healthy fiber diet and pregnancy
Dieting during pregnancy can seem a bit confusing. In fact, a high fiber diet may sound contrary to a normal diet during pregnancy, but you should know that fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. So if you’ve been worried about eating a high-fiber diet during pregnancy, you may be relieved to learn that it’s actually better for you and your child.
Fiber is a carbohydrate that includes the indigestible parts of the plant. This allows the fiber to pass through your digestive tract unaltered. There are two basic types of fiber, water-soluble, which includes the edible parts of vegetables, seeds, and fruits, and insoluble, which is fiber you might better recognize as roughage. The cellulose found in wheat bran and other grains is a good example of insoluble fiber.
Advantages of a High-Fiber Diet Commonly called bulk, fiber will slow the progress of food through the intestinal tract, giving the body more time to absorb all the nutrients while regulating stool at the same time. A healthy fiber diet during pregnancy is a great idea for many reasons. Fiber will keep your digestive system working properly by breaking down waste material, aiding in the absorption of nutrients, and slowing down the rate at which you process sugars. The latter will prevent your insulin levels from going up and down.
Vegetables are a great source of fiber and are very rich in nutrients. They are an excellent food choice during pregnancy and, in fact, many doctors recommend that pregnant women eat a diet rich in vegetables. This makes it easy to maintain a high-fiber diet during pregnancy. It’s also convenient as you can add an extra serving of vegetables to your dinner. Start with a dinner of whole-grain pasta, vegetables, and bread, topped off with fresh fruit, which is another excellent source of fiber and vitamins.
Many intestinal tract problems can be avoided with a high-fiber diet. Things like colon cancer, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and even hemorrhoids can be reduced or avoided altogether on this type of diet. This is an added benefit during pregnancy as these ailments are common problems. You might even find that your cholesterol is lowered on a high-fiber diet.
Cons of a high-fiber diet: When you are pregnant and on a high-fiber diet, you need to make sure you drink enough fluids. If not, you will find yourself in the awkward position of dealing with constipation. Try to consume the recommended eight glasses of water per day to avoid this problem.
Many times what you avoid eating is just as important as what you eat. You will have to resist the temptation to eat in restaurants or fast food chains; the food at these places is full of saturated fats and bleached flour products. When the alternative is cabbage or cauliflower, this can be a difficult choice to make.
A high fiber diet during pregnancy will mean that you have to change the way you shop for food. Gone are the junk foods and in their place are high-fiber vegetables, whole-grain bread, and starches. The good thing about this is that the high-fiber diet will take care of many of the cravings you’ll experience, which is the number one reason women gain weight during pregnancy. The bottom line is that a high-fiber diet during pregnancy can help keep you fit, so to speak.
High fiber diets and pregnancy go very well together and can relieve some of the symptoms such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Foods that contain fiber also contain healthy nutrients and vitamins, which are good for your baby too!