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8 Seasonal Pregnancy Superfoods

Pomegranates, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, molasses, roasted Brussels spouts, arugula with pine nuts?

It all sounds good to me but I’m not pregnant. If I were pregnant, I can assure you that simple list of seasonal foods would set of bombs of revulsion or trigger intense cravings.

But a quick survey of autumnal foods has revealed just how great this season is for the pregnant woman simply in terms of nutrition. There’s a whole ton of iron, folate and calcium on the menu this time of year. And I suspect that some dishes that will appeal, even to the most finicky first trimester mothers among us.

If you’re bemoaning all the things you can’t eat this holiday season, here are some you most definitely can and a few recipes to boot:

1. Pomegranates

Drink pomegranate juice or eat the fruit raw, by itself or sprinkled over salads or yogurt.  It’s full of iron, potassium and vitamin C. There’s one study linking pomegranate juice with perks for the baby’s health in the rare case of trauma during birth. Pomegranate juice is also sometimes recommended to women trying to get pregnant. Try this Apple and Pomegranate Cranberry Salsa.

2. Beets

Roast them, mash them into borscht, boil them, steam them, juice them and serve hot or cold. Beets are full of potassium which can help regulate blood pressure (women with risk factors for preeclampsia are sometimes instructed to drink beet juice). They are packed with folate, which is necessary for the proper development of the baby’s nervous system. Beets are also a mild diuretic, so they can also help with sluggish digestion, a common complaint in pregnancy. Try these Slow Roasted Beets.

3. Yams or Sweet Potatoes

So easy to bake, so (ful)filling. Sweet potatoes are full of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and carotenoids which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with bone and teeth growth. It’s not recommended to overdo vitamin A in pregnancy, but it’s important to get it on a regular basis. Try this Sweet Potato Soup.

4.  Arugula

These leafy greens–which are much more exciting and nutritious than a simple lettuce like romaine– are in season in many parts of the world in the autumn. Arugula is packed with vitamin K and omega 3s which are so good for brain functioning. Try this Pear, Arugula and Walnut Salad.

5. Apples

If you eat them with the skin, the fiber can help with digestion. They’re also a good source of Vitamin C and potassium.

6. Brussels Sprouts

These once put-upon little cruciferous veggies are now side-dish du jour in many trendy restaurants. They can be great in a crisp slaw with bacon dressing but I love to eat them roasted. They have lots of iron and Vitamin C. (Parsnips are also full of calcium, iron and Vitamin C, but they’re not as trendy.) Try these Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Pomegranate.

7. Pumpkin.

Pumpkin has lots of iron it. If you add some molasses into your pies, you’ll get even more. Try this Pumpkin Pie With Molasses.

8.  Figs.

Figs are a great source of fiber and calcium. Put them with your salad or eat with some pasteurized cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. There are some amazing fig recipes and serving ideas here, just check that your cheese is pasteurized. Bon Appetite.

And here are some tips for surviving Thanksgiving while pregnant, in case you need them…

photo: Joe Marinaro/Flickr

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