Rainbow Diet for Pregnancy: Rainbow diet is a must in pregnancy! No, I am not introducing you to the latest fad diet. By rainbow diet, I mean a diet where you consume as many different colors of fruits and vegetables as possible. According to American Pregnancy Association, you should have at least 2-4 servings of fruits and 4 or more servings of vegetables daily. While all fruits and vegetables are nature’s gift to us in terms of nutrition and taste, each of them has unique health benefits.
Appearances can be deceptive when it comes to humans but with fruits and vegetables, their colors give us a fair idea about their nutritional benefits. For example, all apples aren’t the same. A green apple has more vitamins and fiber whereas a red apple has higher sugar and an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Let’s look at the different nutritional hints that nature gives us by giving each of its produce a different color shade:
Avocado, broccoli, peas, asparagus, kiwifruit, green apples, spinach, beans etc are all examples of green colored fruits and vegetables. Their color makes them rich in iron, vitamin K, C, E, folate. Folate helps develop baby’s brain and spinal cord. Iron builds placenta and supports oxygenated blood to growing babies. The vitamins promote healthy growth of baby’s skin, eyes, bones etc.
Eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, black olives etc have this unique blue/purple color. What makes them special? They are a treasure trove of antioxidants which in turn increases the pregnant woman’s immunity levels and prevent infections.
Beets, strawberry, red apples, pomegranates, cherries, watermelons, tomatoes etc all have bright and beautiful red color. While they all individually are powerhouses of many vitamins, in general, red fruits and vegetables contain some phytochemicals which help control high blood pressure and diabetes which can cause complications in pregnancy. Their properties also promote good health by fighting against many diseases.
Mangoes, pumpkins, carrots, oranges, sweet corn, peaches, lemons etc are all orange or yellow colored. Their color is an indication that they are rich in Folate which is a super nutrient in pregnancy. It prevents neural tube defects in unborn infants while promoting brain and spinal cord growth. They are also a great source of vitamin A which is great for both mother’s and developing baby’s heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, bones etc.
White/Light brown color:
Bananas, dates, cauliflowers, garlic, mushrooms, onions, ginger, potatoes etc all have white or light brown tinge to them. They are a superb source of fiber which helps solve constipation, a common pregnancy complaint. While being very rich in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, they also help protect the mother’s heart from high cholesterol.
Ironically, fruits and vegetables can easily be called nature’s fast food as most of them taste delicious when eaten raw. So every mom-to-be should make sure that her diet includes a little of each color to maximize the nutritional benefits. When pregnant, go, eat the rainbow!
The author is a CAPPA certified childbirth educator.