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Why You Should Eat the Rainbow During Pregnancy

Why You Should Eat the Rainbow During Pregnancy

If you’re expecting, chances are good that you’ve heard our midwifery team encourage you to “eat the rainbow.” That phase refers to consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors. But why should you, and how can you accomplish this goal?

Those are the two questions that our team here at Westover Hills Women’s Health tackles below. 

Why you should eat the rainbow during pregnancy

Different colored fruits and vegetables contain unique combinations of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. By consuming a diverse range of colors, you receive a wide array of nutrients necessary for fetal development and maternal health. 

For example, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots and mangoes are rich in vitamin A, while leafy greens like spinach and kale provide folate, a nutrient that’s essential for preventing neural tube defects.

How to eat the rainbow 

Each day, eat at least one or two items from each category. You need at least 2-4 servings of fruit and 5-7 servings of vegetables each day. Combining multiple options into a big salad or smoothie can help you get as many fruits and veggies as possible. 

Here’s why you need each color and where to find them.

Red

Choose from foods like tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, red bell peppers, and beets. Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that supports eye and heart health.

Red foods also contain vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K δΈ€ all of which are essential during pregnancy. Low vitamin K, for example, can increase the risk of bleeding. 

Orange and yellow 

Orange and yellow foods contain a phytonutrient called carotenoids. They also contain fiber, folate, and vitamin C, and they reduce inflammation, support your eye health, and boost your immune system. 

Fiber reduces your risk of constipation, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia, and orange and yellow foods are high in fiber.

Examples include pears, peas, citrus fruit, pineapple, carrots, orange bell peppers, squash, and pumpkin.

Green

Eat your greens. Green foods contain many anti-inflammatory nutrients, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Spinach also has iron, which is especially helpful for expectant mothers due to the increased blood volume during pregnancy. 

Besides spinach, green foods include kale, broccoli, green apples, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. 

Blue and purple

Blue and purple foods are rich in anthocyanins. These are pigments that help lower your blood pressure and support your neurological health.

A 2021 study found that diets higher in anthocyanin-containing fruit lower your risk for gestational diabetes.

You can find anthocyanin in purple cabbage, red onions, blueberries, blackberries, plums, Concord grapes, and eggplant. All of these fruits and vegetables also contain fiber.

White and brown

While the traditional ROYGBIV (colors of the rainbow) doesn’t include white or brown, you can (and should) include white and brown produce in your diet. This includes cauliflower, potatoes, white onions, leeks, white beans, and mushrooms.

These foods include anthoxanthins (flavonols, flavones), which helps pregnant women maintain a healthy weight. Onions and garlic provide allicin.

Eating for two 

It’s no secret that eating the rainbow is good for you, whether you’re pregnant or not. Eating the rainbow gives you the vitamins and phytonutrients that your body craves, boosts your immune system, supports your growing baby, and helps you avoid pregnancy complications like constipation. 

But if you’re eating for two, you may not know where to start. How many calories do you need? What foods are off-limits? That’s where our team comes into the picture. 

During each prenatal appointment, we answer your questions, including your dietary questions. We provide specific guidance on your food needs, depending on which trimester you’re in, how many babies you’re carrying, and if you have any underlying conditions such as diabetes.

If you have concerns about your pregnancy diet, call the San Antonio, Texas, location closest to you. You can also click here to book your next prenatal appointment.

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