Diet tips for pregnancy

Diet Tips for pregnancy

As the body and the life within are sustained by food, Indian culture places food next to God. Bhagwat Geeta says “Annam bramha” i.e. food is the highest form of energy. Pregnancy is the most important phase where one needs to be mindful and conscious about food choices, cooking style, and eating patterns. 


1. Purity of vessel (Patra shuddhi)


a. Cook food in clean and pure vessels. Owing to the current Covid situations, cleaned vessels are taken care of by every household. 


b. Do not use non-stick pans, especially in pregnancy. Iron vessels are the best as food reacts with the metal surface and iron is released which makes your food rich in iron. In pregnancy HB levels need to be maintained and using iron vessels is the best way to do so. Please note that one should not cook acidic or sour food like rasam, kadi, sambhar, or tomato-based curries in iron vessels.


c. We have seen our grandmothers cleaning the chulhas with cow dung, worshipping it by applying kumkuma or vibhuti, offering flowers, chanting mantras before starting the cooking. It may look superstitious, but that is how the cleanliness of the kitchen was maintained. 


2. Purity of process of cooking (paaka shuddhi)


a. The person that cooks should not be only physically clean but also in her/his habits, conduct, and character. 


b. One should prepare the food with good thoughts and in a clean place. 


c. Food prepared with love and affection sends the positive vibes in that food and makes it a saatvik aahara that will nourish you and your baby not only physically but also spiritually. 


d. It’s always advisable to cook food with your own hands for yourself and your baby. If you are not in the condition of cooking due to fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or irritation with the smell of cooking then you can take help or ask someone in your family to cook food for you, try to avoid maids.


e. Food should be well cooked and not undercooked. 


3. Purity of ingredients (padarth shuddhi)


a. Ingredients used for cooking should be of good quality, pure and non-contaminated.


b. Do not use stuff like vegetables or fruits from the market immediately, soak them in clean water for at least 25-30 minutes, wash them under the running water, and then use.


c. Continue this practice post-pandemic too.


4. Take natural food (saatvik aahara) 


a. Saatvik aahara means natural food which is easily digested. It carries the quality of goodness, positivity, peacefulness, serenity, and balance. 


b. Ayurveda recommends taking vegetarian food during pregnancy as it contains a lot of water and hydration is very important these days. 



c. Fruits contain 80-90% of water, green leafy vegetables contain 50-70% of water, while meat contains only 20-25% of water giving rise to constipation and digestion issues. 





5. Include all flavors (shad rasatmak aahara)


a. According to Ayurveda, each meal should contain all 6 types of taste (shad rasas).


b. Sweet (Madhur) and Sour (amla) – the majority of fruits are sweet and sour.


c. Salty (lavana) – Salt is used in every dish.


d. Pungent (katu) – Chillies, garlic, onions, ginger, black pepper, mustard, fenugreek, etc.


e. Bitter (tikta) – Turmeric, bitter gourd, coriander, cumin seeds, bishops weed


f. and Astringent (kashaya) – Add one teaspoon of honey to your diet daily or an Indian gooseberry i.e. amla. 


g. Many pregnant women crave for specific taste during these days and unknowingly may consume an excess of it which may harm the fetus and its development. Maintain all the six rasas in the diet. 


6. Eat freshly cooked food


a. Consume food within 2-3 hours of cooking. Stale food is dry and lacks hydrating elements hence eat fresh food.


b. Eat only homemade food. 


c. Do not reheat the food in microwaves. 


7. Sit on the ground.


a. Do not use dining tables and chairs in the period of pregnancy. 


b. Sit on the ground on a cotton carpet with folded legs while eating. This posture will help in digestion and maintains the flexibility of pelvic floor muscles which will eventually help in the labor.


8. Do not use any gadgets while eating


a. Avoid watching television or using your phone while you eat. 


b. Focus on the food items on the plate to enjoy all the aspects of food. Ayurveda believes that food is not only supposed to be tested by the tongue, but one should also appreciate and enjoy the aroma, color, touch of the food. 


9. Eat-in moderation.


a. Eat according to your hunger, eat in moderation, maintain timings, and take small frequent meals. 


b. Divide the whole day into 6-8 meals. This will keep the body light as well as aids in digestion. 


c. Avoid packet foods, skimmed milk, instant food as they contain artificial preservatives, coloring agents, flavoring agents which may prove harmful to a baby’s growth and development. 


10. Eat on a banana leaf


a. Try to use banana leaf as a plate. 


b. These leaves are rich in antioxidants. When hot food is served on leaves antioxidants are transferred in food which when consumed boosts the immune system. 


c. If not all, try to take at least one meal of the day on Banana leaf.


11. Fruits and fluids


a. Eat fruits in the natural form and avoid making juices. Whole fruit provides fibers and good enzymes which will help in digestion and prevent constipation. 


b. Fluids one can consume – Buttermilk, milk, lassi, sugarcane juice, jaggery water, lemonade, coconut water, etc



While the above suggestions are given to pregnant ladies, these are good food habits and can be practiced by every individual to maintain good health and a better immunity system.

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