Concerned about what fats to include in a healthy pregnancy diet? Read our guide here to see what you need to eat when pregnant and how to enjoy them!
The essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 are necessary for your baby’s healthy development and brain function – and you need fats to absorb and transport fat soluble prenatal vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Fat is fuel for your body, provides energy and helps you to feel full – eating low-fat or reduced-fat foods can be counter-productive as they leave you feeling unsatisfied.
What fats should you eat when pregnant?
Include some saturated fats in your pregnancy diet. These are found in meat, dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter and tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil. Whilst some sources suggest you should avoid saturated fats when pregnant they are a good source of energy, helping your bones to absorb calcium and have an important role in the structure and function of cell membranes.
Unsaturated fats are essential for a healthy pregnancy
Both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are necessary for your baby’s growth, contributing to the healthy development of brain, eyes and nervous system.
What foods contain monounsaturated fats?
These are the fats typical in a Mediterranean diet, especially olive oil and avocados as well as nuts and seeds. When you’re planning healthy pregnancy meals and healthy snacks feel good about aubergine dip; baked peppers and tomatoes cooked with olive oil and fresh green salads with avocado and an olive oil salad dressing
What foods contain polyunsaturated fats?
You’ll find polyunsaturated fats in sunflower oil, corn oil, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats also include Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids which are vital for healthy brain function. If you’re suffering from ‘baby brain’ and have become more forgetful in pregnancy omega-3 will be good for you – as well as promoting healthy brain development for your baby!
So where do I find omega-3?
The main sources are oily fish, such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon and fresh tuna. (although you should avoid too much fresh tuna during pregnancy as it can include high levels of mercury). Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and dark green leafy vegetable also have high levels of omega-3.
What fats should you avoid during pregnancy?
Steer clear of hydrogenated fats or ‘trans fats’ which were created when scientists succeeded in hydrogenating liquid oils to make them more stable and provide a better shelf life. You’ll find them in commercially produced foods such as cakes and biscuits, packaged snacks and margarines – avoid anything with the word ‘hydrogenated’ on the label.