Oats are considered by some to be the world’s healthiest breakfast. They are power packed with essential nutrients, minerals and fiber and rank high on the best foods to consume during pregnancy list.
Just one cup of oatmeal provides about 20% of an expecting mother’s total iron and zinc requirement, over 10% of folate and upto 40% of vitamin B1. It’s high antioxidant ratio helps lower blood pressure, a key function during pregnancy when there is 50% more blood flowing in the body of a pregnant woman. Oats are high in soluble as well as insoluble fiber that help ease constipation and keep cholesterol levels in check. Fiber also slows down sugar absorption in the body, preventing diabetes and unhealthy weight gain in an expecting mother. According to the American Pregnancy Association oats are a rich source of folic acid and iron. Folic acid is essential for the development of brain and nervous system of the foetus and to reduce birth defects in the baby. Iron minimises the risk of anaemia in a pregnant woman. Vitamins B1 and E help in the metabolism of fat and protein in the body and reduce free radical damage, providing healthy, glowing skin. The significant amounts of essential minerals in oats such as calcium, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus strengthen teeth and bones, boost immunity and help in the baby’s growth and development.
So if you haven’t already included oats in your pregnancy diet, it is time you incorporate this superfood into your routine now. Sprinkle some nuts on top or your favourite fruits, add honey or sweeten it with a banana, just make sure you are not allergic to gluten. And go for the nutrient-rich rolled oats instead of the too-processed instant variety. But don’t go overboard. Excess consumption can cause diarrhoea and indigestion in some. It is always best to consult your doctor about foods safe to consume during pregnancy.