Your baby needs plenty of nutrients from your body to grow healthy. Nowhere is this more important than during their brain development. Your baby’s brain develops three weeks after conception and so it’s essential you supply it with plenty of healthy compounds. Some foods contain high levels of beneficial nutrients which contribute to your baby’s brain development. Eat more of these eight foods during your pregnancy to give your baby’s brain that extra boost.
1. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt contains iodine which is essential for a healthy brain. In fact, studies point out that lack of iodine is the main culprit behind preventable mental issues in babies. To ensure your baby’s growing brain has plenty of iodine, eat a lot of Greek yogurt. While regular yogurt also contains iodine, the concentration of it is higher in the Greek kind. Yogurt also contains protein which is essential for healthy fetal development.
DHA is almost entirely responsible for the structural development and maintenance of the brain, and the billions of neurons within it. Sardines are an oily fish high in the DHA compound. While other oily fish like salmon also contain DHA, they’re more likely to contain mercury. Mercury is extremely dangerous for a fetus, so stick to low mercury fish like sardines throughout your pregnancy.
If you haven’t already been eating an egg a day, then you should at least do it while you’re pregnant. Eggs contain choline, a compound responsible for memory development. The brain’s power to learn and retain information is largely dependent on the amount of choline present. Eggs also contain iron and protein which is important for brain development. Choline is present in egg yolks, so remember to eat the entire egg every day, not just the whites.
The one essential compound every pregnant woman needs to get plenty of is folate. Folate is essential for development of DNA and cell structures. It also helps develop neural cells and protect them from damage. Spinach contains large quantities of folate, so make sure you get plenty of it. Be sure to cook it right because overcooking can damage the folate present in it. Cook it lightly just until it wilts to make sure the folate present in spinach can be utilized fully by your body.
Lentils contain iron which is very important for a healthy brain. The brain’s efficiency largely depends upon how well it is able to send and receive messages. Iron is an essential compound for the development of myelin, a neural chemical responsible for sending and receiving signals. Lentils contain high amounts of iron, which can lead to the production of essential brain chemicals like myelin. Pair it with vitamin C to help your body absorb it better.
Here’s another reason to keep eating avocado toast: it makes your baby smarter. Our brain requires plenty of good fat to function properly, especially since 60% of it is made up of fat. The monounsaturated fats present in avocados help it develop properly and protect it from damage. Avocados also help in the formation of myelin and provide a cushiony protection against any neural damage.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are an important source of zinc. Zinc is very important for your fetus because it makes the brain more efficient at processing information. Zinc is present in the covering of pumpkin seeds, so make sure to eat them whole. You can add a sprinkle of them to your salads as a delicious, crunchy addition.
Peanuts are almost the complete fetal brain food because they contain almost all the nutrients your baby needs. They contain protein, healthy fats, a form of vitamin B known as niacin and the all-important folate. Peanuts also contain high amounts of vitamin E which support the formation of DHA. You can eat them whole and roasted or spread a tablespoon of unsweetened peanut butter over toast for a brain-boosting snack.