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Best 16 Foods to Eat in Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Now you are in the fetal stage, which is the most rapid period of growth until birth, and you really begin to see your baby growing. The placenta now works to supply the fetus with nutrients and oxygen, leaving you less tired and nauseous, but your heartbeat and blood volume are both raised, making it important that you keep up your supplies of iron, magnesium, and vitamin B12. You need to provide quality nutrition to support your body and your baby’s rapid growth and development.

As the hormone progesterone keeps rising to maintain your pregnancy, it may cause symptoms, such as constipation and heartburn. Increased blood flow can lead to nosebleeds, easy bruising, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. Nutrition can help to prevent these or lessen their severity by encouraging good digestive and circulatory function.

1. Camomile

The mild sedatory effect of camomile tea can be a welcome relief at this stage, when thoughts about the developing pregnancy may interfere with sleep. A growing belly can start to cause pelvic and back pain, and this together with breast tenderness makes some sleep positions uncomfortable. The chemicals apigenin and glycine in camomile soothe the body, making it easier to cope with discomfort and achieve a better quality of sleep.

Chamomile also has a refreshing effect, which has been known to help alleviate any nausea that may continue into the second trimester. Heartburn and constipation may be relieved by camomile because it helps to calm the nervous system, thus decreasing the stress that can contribute to these symptoms. The hippuric acid in camomile may also help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can result from the increasing pressure on the bladder and kidneys.

  • Contains soothing apigenin and glycine, which help alleviate sleep problems.
  • Camomile is a natural laxative and may ease digestive upsets.
  • Hippuric acid helps keep UTIs, such as cystitis, at bay, which becomes more of a risk as blood flow increases.

Practical tips

Don’t drink herbal teas in large quantities during pregnancy because the effects of higher doses on the uterine muscle are still unclear. Place cold used camomile tea bags on the eyes to relieve puffiness caused by insomnia or fluid retention. Avoid camomile if you are allergic to ragweed.

2. Beef

Eating beef occasionally will ensure the body is well equipped to regulate increasing hormone levels because it is high in the B vitamins and minerals. During pregnancy, the body needs to make extra red blood cells, and the iron and vitamin B12 in beef enable this process. Meanwhile, the coenzyme Q-10 in beef helps create the necessary energy and supports the baby’s heartbeat.

Its B-vitamin profile facilitates protein metabolism, so that the mother can access the quality protein provided by the meat and use all these essential amino acids to build the baby’s body. The zinc and selenium in beef also help the baby’s tissues to grow, and keep the mother’s own skin clear at a time when acne may be a problem due to increasing estrogen levels.

  • The B vitamins and minerals regulate hormones, provide energy, and support both mother and baby physically and mentally.
  • Contains iron and vitamin B12 to support the increasing need for new red blood cells.
  • Coenzyme Q-10 generates energy in the cells, especially the growing fetal heart.
  • A source of quality protein, made accessible by the B vitamins that are also in the meat, promoting baby’s growth and development.
  • Zinc and selenium help keep the complexion clear.

Practical tips

You don’t need to eat beef often to enjoy the benefits, so buy good, lean cuts, preferably from grass-fed, organic sources. Nonorganic meats contain potentially harmful hormones and antibiotics.

3. Dried Figs

Dried figs provide a healthy energy source and have a better mineral profile than most other fruit and vegetables, closely resembling that of human breast milk. As the pregnant body expands, it is important to keep up potassium levels in orderto maintain the right mineral balance across the body’s increasing fluids. This is especially
true if sickness in the first trimesterled to vomiting, because this depletes potassium and the other electrolyte minerals calcium, magnesium, and sodium, which work
togetherfor good nerve and muscle function.

A diet high in vegetables and other whole foods should regulate the body’s supplies naturally, but a deficiency in potassium is occasionally a problem. Electrolyte minerals, which are also contained in figs, should be kept up in pregnancy to prevent blood pressure from rising and becoming a complication.

  • Contain high levels of potassium and other electrolyte minerals, which control nerve and muscle function.
  • Help prevent common second trimester symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle cramps, and constipation.
  • Help prevent high blood pressure, which may result in preeclampsia laterin pregnancy.

Practical tips

As snacks, dried figs can help provide a steady source of slow-release sugarto regulate energy levels and curb sugar cravings. A few figs a day will keep you regular but  don’teat in excess, because they are very sweet and may even cause potassium-depleting diarrhea if you overindulge.

4. Strawberries

Strawberries contain many elements that aid circulation, supporting the needs of a growing baby in the second trimester, as it demands an increased supply of blood.
A baby’s need for oxygen and nutrients, delivered via the blood, increases during this rapid stage of growth. This process must be supported by iron, necessary to make hemoglobin in blood, but often forgotten is vitamin C, which the body needs in order foriron to be absorbed.

The vitamin C in strawberries also supports immunity, meaning a mother can ward off infection and be less likely to need medication and, together with the folate (folic acid) in this fruit, it is needed to make new cells for both mother and baby, and help prevent stretch marks. Along with the protective antioxidant proanthocyanidin in strawberries, vitamin C keeps the circulation flowing and blood vessels intact to help reduce common second trimester symptoms, such as nosebleeds, easy bruising, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins, all of which may result from higher blood volume.

  • Vitamin C enables absorption of the iron needed to produce new red blood cells to nourish the baby.
  • Contain vitamin C and folate to aid new growth forthe fetus, and also help prevent orlessen stretch marks.
  • Proanthocyanidin works with vitamin C to help prevent symptoms of poor circulation, such as nosebleeds and hemorrhoids.

Practical tips

To boost antioxidant levels, add strawberries as a sweet treat to oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal. Remove the stem cap just before eating to preserve the high vitamin C content.

5. Scallions

Scallions are rich sources of cleansing sulfur. Like all alliums (the onion family), including leeks and garlic, they help to keep toxins away from the baby as it grows.
The mineral sulfur has multiple detoxifying effects. It helps carry waste products out of both the mother’s cells and the baby’s, enabling nutrients to move in. It also promotes liver detoxification, thereby sweeping out toxic metals from the body.

Sulfur, alongside the vitamin C and vitamin A present, is also needed to produce the collagen needed for skin and organs to be able to grow. Scallions contain much more vitamin K than normal white onions, and this is needed along with the phosphorus content to allow for calcium to form new bone. Eating onions may also prevent colds, a particular advantage at this stage, when the mucous membranes may be prone to swelling, causing nasal congestion and hampering the body’s attempts to recoverfrom

  • Cleansing sulfurremoves toxins from cells via the liver, and facilitates an improved uptake of nutrients.
  • Sulfur and vitamins C and A help generate collagen for new growth.
  • Vitamin K and phosphorus aid mineralization of calcium into bone.
  • Onions help prevent coughs and colds, which can be harderto overcome during pregnancy.

Practical tips

All of the scallion can be eaten. Chopped finely and added to stir-fries, salads, or as a garnish for soups and stews, they provide refreshing crunch and bite. Choose bunches with clean white bulbs and leaves that look alive and healthy.

6. Sasame Seeds

Sesame seeds are bundles of nutritional goodness. They make it easy to add essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals to any meal. The rich essential fatty acids sesame seeds contain support collagen production, promoting healthy allround growth, and the fat-soluble nutrients vitamins A and E protect these fatty acids and the baby’s eyes, brain, heart, and skin from damage.

Sesamin and sesamolin, substances only found in sesame seeds, actually revitalize the vitamin E so that it can be used over again, while zinc transports vitamin A around the body and ensures the baby’s lungs develop properly. Boasting the highest phytosterol content of any food, sesame seeds help keep the immune system regulated and reduce the risk of allergic reactions and sensitivities.

  • Essential fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin E protect and support the growth of fatty areas in the baby’s body.
  • Sesamin and sesamolin revitalize vitamin E.
  • Zinc takes vitamin A to where it is needed and supports lung development.
  • Contain phytosterols that help prevent harmful inflammation.

Practical Tips

Choose the unhulled seeds, if possible, in orderto benefit from the fiber, oils, fatsoluble vitamins, and minerals in the hull. Never cook with sesame seeds because the
delicate essential fatty acids are easily damaged by heat. Sprinkle over stir-fries just before serving, and over salads and steamed vegetables. Tahini (sesame paste) has the
added benefits of garlic and olive oil.

7. Beet

Beet works hard to support growth during pregnancy, while helping reduce the risk of damage to the fetus by protecting DNA and removing toxins. As one of the richest food sources of folate (folic acid), beet encourages the all-round growth of the baby, while betacyanin, the antioxidant pigment that provides the rich color, helps protect DNA to minimize the risk of defects.

Betaine, also present in beet, stimulates the liver cells to remove toxins that can interfere with development, and which may cause nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Beet contains a healthy dose of the mineral potassium which helps keep blood pressure and fluid balance regulated. The trace mineral silica allows calcium to be effectively incorporated into new bone growth.

  • One of the best folate food sources to promote all growth.
  • Betacyanin and betaine help protect DNA from damage to minimize the risk of growth defects.
  • Betaine supports detoxification to help prevent headaches, tiredness, and nausea.
  • Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and may help prevent waterretention.
  • Silica works with other bone nutrients to promote skeletal health in mother and baby.

Practical Tips

Look for products without added vinegarif you tend to get yeast infections. The fresh root can be steamed or boiled, orroasted in a little olive oil, and is delicious eaten hot
or cold.

8. Chickpeas

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, the B vitamins, and minerals, supporting aspects of growth, energy, immunity, and detoxification. Chickpeas and otherlegumes and beans are an important way to boost increased pregnancy protein needs for your baby’s growth. Achieving these through plant as well as animal sources, such as meat, fish, and eggs, helps to maintain the correct, slightly alkaline balance in your body.

This can ensure your body keeps good fluid balance and detoxification processes at a time of increased need. The slow-release complex carbohydrates and the B vitamins in chickpeas help to regulate energy and appetite to reduce the urge for quick-fix sugary foods that may exacerbate the energy dips and mood swings common in pregnancy. A good spread of minerals offers iron forred blood cell production, calcium, magnesium, and manganese for your baby’s skeletal development, and selenium and zinc for antioxidant protection for you and your baby.

  • Protein for optimal growth of your baby and in an alkaline form to help maintain fluid balance and detoxification.
  • Carbohydrates, fiber, and the B vitamins ensure sustained energy levels to help reduce sugar cravings and energy and mood lows.
  • Good mineral levels support growth and immune protection.

Practical Tips

Dried chickpeas can take a lot of soaking (between 12 and 24 hours) to prepare them for cooking, so these are easiest used from cans orjars. They are the main ingredient in hummus, easily prepared by blending with garlic, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice.

9. Trout

Trout supplies the healthy levels of fat needed to support a growing belly and also contribute to the fat developing under the baby’s skin. As an oily fish, the fats in trout are
healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

There are two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids:  EPA, which supports heart and circulatory functions, and DHA, which is needed in high levels in the brain, central nervous system, and eyes. Some studies suggest that mothers with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their bodies have children who show better brain development up until the age of two, and even beyond, although the evidence is not conclusive. Our main source of vitamin D is sunlight, but food sources, such as trout, help keep up levels when light exposure is low, so that we receive vitamin D’s positive effects on mood, bone health, and hormone levels.

  • The B vitamins and omega3 fatty acids also play vitalroles in mood and energy regulation, helping to limit pregnancy blues and fatigue.
  • Contains healthy oils that build up protective fat layers.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids support heart, circulation, brain, eye, and motorfunctions in the developing baby.
  • High levels of DHA in the diet may result in children with more advanced cognitive skills.
  • Vitamin D, the B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids maintain mood and energy during pregnancy.

Practical Tips

Trout contains very low levels of mercury so is safe to eat during pregnancy, if within the 12 oz per week limit forfish and shellfish.

10. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans contain both protein and complex carbohydrates, regulating blood sugar levels, energy, and mood, and helping to prevent overeating during this trimester.
Pinto beans have a healthy all-round B-vitamin profile, enabling them to unlock their energy potential, and good levels of the lesser-known B-vitamin choline, in particular, which helps move fats through the liver and prevent nausea and bloating. Also included in the B vitamins is folate (folic acid), necessary for growth and red blood cell production throughout pregnancy.

Lowerlevels of folic acid in the second trimester have been shown to increase the risk of preeclampsia in the third, and are generally associated with lower birth weights. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in pinto beans are electrolyte minerals that support heart, brain, and muscle function in both mother and baby. Protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and the B vitamins regulate pregnancy energy and mood fluctuations.

  • Choline helps reduce sickness and fluid retention.
  • Folate supports fetal growth and lowers the risk of preeclampsia and low birth weight.
  • Calcium, magnesium, and potassium regulate heart, muscle, and brain function.

Practical Tips

As with any bean, they can be used to make soups and stews and to add to salads. They also make great dips. Blend with olive oil, garlic, and lemon or even grapefruit juice.
Serve with vegetable sticks or crackers as a convenient snack.

11. Pecans

Nuts provide the best fat, fiber, and carbohydrate package of any food. Pecans are also high in antioxidants and the B vitamins, ensuring the health of the baby. At this stage, the baby is developing insulating fat underthe skin, and fats are needed to supply this, as well as to help develop the fetal organs. The omega-9 fatty acids (monounsaturated fat) in pecans protect the baby’s heart, while the magnesium and potassium help it beatregularly.
The trace mineral manganese and the omega-3 fatty acids in these nuts are involved in developing the baby’s brain structure. Meanwhile, the protein provided, together with manganese, folate (folic acid), and zinc, allow forthe baby’s body, from its tendons and ligaments to fingers and toes, to develop and grow.

  • Provides energy and antioxidant protection against cell damage.
  • Quality fats create a healthy fatty layer beneath the baby’s skin.
  • Monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and potassium ensure heart health.
  • Manganese and omega-3 fatty acids support the baby’s brain chemistry and development.
  • Protein, manganese, folate and zinc help the baby’s body structures to mature correctly.

Practical Tips

Snack on a handful of pecans to help prevent blood sugarlows that can lead to dizziness orfainting. Blend in the blenderto make an alternative to peanut butter. Avoid roasted nuts or cooking with pecans, because the essential fatty acids can be damaged.

12. Cucumber

Cucumber makes a refreshing, cooling, and soothing food at a time when dehydration can quickly lead to tiredness, headaches, and fluid retention. One of cucumber’s main benefits is its high water content, which together with the potassium and magnesium make it instantly hydrating and an effective tool in the
prevention of high blood pressure.
The trace mineral silica in cucumber provides support to the body’s skin structures and will ease the expansion of skin around the belly as it grows. The potassium, vitamin C, and caffeic acid in cucumber help prevent any excess fluid around the ankles, wrists, fingers, and eyes. Caffeic acid, which has no relation to caffeine, is an antioxidant that displays anti-inflammatory and immune-regulating properties. It is particularly useful as an antifungal, helping prevent yeast infections in pregnancy that can be passed later to the child via the birth canal orif breast-feeding.

  • Contains water, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are hydrating and help regulate blood pressure.
  • Silica supports the structure of skin as it grows and expands.
  • Potassium, vitamin C, and caffeic acid may have a positive effect on pregnancy puffiness.
  • Caffeic acid supports immunity,reduces inflammation, and helps prevent fungal infection.

Practical Tips

Use cucumber slices as an effective remedy fortired and puffy eyes. To alleviate fluid retention, make an easy drink by blending cucumber with water and mint.

13. Grapefruit

Although grapefruit tastes very acidic, once processed in the body, it has a potent alkalizing effect that helps maintain the best possible environment for the baby. Grapefruit helps our natural pH levels stay on track so that all processes can work efficiently. For the baby, this means a healthy exchange of nutrients and oxygen via
the placenta. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, including limonene, are antioxidants found in the white pith of grapefruit that help regulate the immune system and prevent
sensitivities orintolerances being passed on to the baby.

Along with selenium and the B vitamins in the fruit, these antioxidants help the liver process and expel toxins that may be harmful to a fetus. If you are on any medications, however, you should discuss grapefruit consumption with your doctor before including it in your diet because the substance naringin, found in the fruit, can affect the way medicines are metabolized.

  • Alkalizing action counters the stressful effects of life’s demands, pollution, and the occasional less-than-healthy foodstuff.
  • Vitamin C and bioflavonoids regulate immunity, enabling the motherto pass on the benefits to her child.
  • Vitamin C, limonene, selenium, and the B vitamins help liver detoxification to keep harmful substances away from the baby.

Practical Tips

Grapefruit is a natural and refreshing convenience food. Halve or peel and eat like an orange. If you don’t like too sour a taste, try the pink variety because it is sweeter.

14. Globe Artichokes

Globe artichokes provide an excellent boost of the essential minerals necessary to keep circulation, fluid levels, and bone development on track. The minerals needed forthe baby’s growth and the mother’s continuing health are called essential because they have to be obtained through the diet. If the diet doesn’t provide
enough, the body will make the baby its priority and the mother will have deficiency symptoms.

Artichokes provide a good balance of calcium and magnesium, a lack of which can affect a mother’s bone and tooth health and show up in symptoms, such as muscle cramps, headaches, and insomnia. An inadequate intake of potassium, also present in artichoke, will similarly lead to fatigue and muscle weakness. Artichokes also contain a substance called cynarin, which acts both as a mild laxative and increases bile flow from the liverto aid digestion and detoxification. The bioflavonoid apigenin in artichoke helps relax blood vessels and keep blood pressure within safe levels.

  • Calcium and magnesium protect mother and baby’s bone health, while relieving muscle aches and anxiety symptoms.
  • Potassium wards off pregnancy fatigue and weakened muscles.
  • Cynarin is a natural digestive aid and detoxification agent.
  • Apigenin is a naturalrelaxant that eases blood vessels, preventing blood pressure from rising.

Practical Tips

Cook the fresh globes or, for convenience, add roasted artichoke hearts from deli counters to salads. Rub fresh artichoke with lemon juice as soon as it is prepared to
avoid discoloration.

15. Carrots

The carotenoids that give carrots their vibrant color provide protection to the baby’s fatty areas, including the brain, liver, skin, and eyes. Although beta-carotene is the best known of the carotenoids, the alphacarotene in carrots also stimulates protective antioxidant action within all fatty areas of the body. All cell walls, organs, and tissues incorporate fats, and these are continually open to damage. These carotenoids can also be stored in the liver and converted into vitamin A as we need it.

Obtaining vitamin A from carrots during pregnancy is risk-free, because carotenes are not toxic if taken in excess, whereas high levels of preformed vitamin A are known to cause genetic mutations. Vitamin A is necessary in the right amount for cellular development, fighting infection, and to keep the placenta attached. Vitamin A deficiency in
underdeveloped countries has been shown to result in maternal eye problems, lowered immune response, and anemia.

  • Beta- and alpha-carotene prevent damage to the fats incorporated in all mother and baby’s cells.
  • Carotenes can be converted to vitamin A, vital for cell growth, placenta health, and immunity.
  • A safe way of ingesting and storing vitamin A.

Practical Tips

Carrots are delicious raw, especially grated in salads, and will then release their starchy sugars more slowly. The fat-soluble carotenoids in carrots need oil present at
the time of eating to carry the carotenoids from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.

16. Brown Rice

Choosing to eat rice with its brown outer hull intact makes a fundamental difference to the health benefits that this food provides to both mother and baby. The husk of brown rice is the part that contains the fiber, fats, minerals, and vitamins. The fiberis prebiotic, which means that it feeds your beneficial, probiotic digestive bacteria. This is a crucial consideration in pregnancy, because it ensures that the motheris producing anti-inflammatory antibodies on the walls of herintestines to prevent infection.

The selenium and manganese in brown rice help to make antioxidant enzymes in the liverthat both eliminate harmful elements in the body and also increase the action of antioxidants eaten in otherfood. Selenium can be converted into the coenzyme Q-10, needed alongside the B vitamins to create energy in all cells, especially in the hardworking hearts of mother and baby. The B vitamin choline is needed to make new cell walls, while the vitamin E in brown rice protects these from damage.

  • Prebiotic fiberlowers a mother’s risk of infection.
  • Selenium and manganese make antioxidant enzymes that aid detoxification.
  • Selenium makes coenzyme Q-10 to create energy in all cells, including both mother’s and baby’s hearts.
  • Choline and vitamin E enable the creation of new cells.

Practical Tips

Choose long-grain instead of short-grain because itreleases its sugars into the body more slowly. Brown basmatirice contains 20 percent more fiberthan other varieties
of brown rice.

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