Vegetarianism and veganism is becoming more and more popular in American culture. Because of this, there are many women who are wondering if pregnancies can be sustained on a plant based diet. Fortunately, the answer is yes.
Vegetarian and vegan diets can be extremely healthy if you understand how to obtain all of the essential nutrients in your diet. Getting the right ratio of proteins to fats to carbohydrates is the easy part, but making sure that you get enough iron, B12, folate, and other essential nutrients is the tough part.
Eating a vegetarian or plant based diet during pregnancy might make your pregnancy just a little bit harder than the normal population. However, if you are dedicated to a plant based lifestyle then it can be done, and be done well.
If you are following a plant based diet during your pregnancy, then let your OB/GYN know about your eating plans. She may want to run extra labs on you in order to check iron levels throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy.
You may also want to visit a nutritionist to ensure that you understand the best choices you can make to keep you and your baby healthy.
Getting Enough Protein
One of the most important parts of any pregnancy diet is protein. Protein is an essential building block of cells and allows cells to divide and multiply.
By eating protein, you are giving your baby essential amino acids that allow your baby to grow strong and healthy in utero.
Protein sources are abundant in plants, beans, and legumes. One of the best protein sources for vegetarians is tofu. But, is tofu safe during pregnancy?
Tofu is a soy based protein that is a wonderful way to incorporate more protein into a plant based diet. It is a very easy protein source to cook, and it takes on the tastes and flavors of anything that you are cooking. It is great in stir fry, with pasta, and as an egg substitute.
Fortunately for vegetarians and vegans alike, tofu is completely safe during pregnancy. Tofu is a soy based protein that can be eaten throughout your entire pregnancy. It is recommended though that you do not have more than two servings of tofu per day during your pregnancy.
Soy based protein such as tofu should only be consume twice per day during pregnancy. This is because soybeans contain phytic acid. This acid can bind to essential minerals and block their absorption. Calcium and magnesium are two essential minerals that phytic acid can bind to and reduce their absorption.
With lowered absorption of calcium and magnesium, your baby may suffer from soft bones and poor neural tissue development. For this reason, it is essential that you don’t get all of your protein from soy based products.
Soy based protein such as tofu also is wonderful at lowering your overall cholesterol. This is a great benefit of soy based proteins whenever you are not pregnant, but during pregnancy, you need cholesterol to help build endogenous hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which are necessary to maintain your pregnancy.
As with any type of food during pregnancy or not, moderation is key. It isn’t healthy to eat a large amount of any type of food, and you should always make sue that you eat a variety of food sources throughout your pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and are following a plant based diet, then always make sure that you are eating a variety of foods to obtain the right nutrients. Seasoned pros in the vegetarian world should have no problem keeping up with their nutrition during their pregnancy.
There are a few essential nutrients that you should increase though throughout your pregnancy. Iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamin D are all essential nutrients to help keep you and your baby healthy and strong.
Foods rich in iron include spinach, kale, beans, and fortified cereals. These foods are especially important in high quantities because the majority of pregnant women do develop anemia.
Red meat is a wonderful source of iron, so vegetarians must ensure that they eat high quality iron rich food to keep their iron levels high.
It is recommended that vegetarian women should consume at least four servings of calcium rich foods per day. These foods include yogurt, milk products, leafy green vegetables and tofu.
Eating healthy during your pregnancy is essential to a healthy baby and a healthy mom. It is absolutely essential that vegetarians and vegans follow a strict diet that is high in nutrients to stay healthy.
Tofu can be a wonderful protein source during pregnancy. But, always be careful and never eat one type of food in large quantities.
Whether it is tofu or another type of food, excessive eating is never healthy. Two servings of tofu per day is a healthy protein option during plant based pregnancies.