As most expecting mothers know, it’s important to be mindful about the foods you eat during pregnancy. Good nutrition is essential. That’s why making sure you choose the right foods and drinks will be beneficial to both you and your growing baby. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to promote a healthy and easygoing pregnancy, not to mention all of the other benefits that come along with maintaining a nutritious diet.
While there are many foods we would consider beneficial during pregnancy, there are some that pack in an extra beneficial punch. If “superfoods” were actually a thing yogurt would fall on the list of pregnancy superfoods. In fact, yogurt is one of the best foods to add to your diet throughout gestation for more than a few reasons, and that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about today.
Read on to find out why yogurt is so good for pregnancy and all the benefits you can expect by adding this food to your pregnancy shopping list today (P.S. For a complete first-trimester shopping list, click here).
Why Is Yogurt Good For Pregnancy
Yogurt is a delicious and nutritious dairy product that’s perfect for breakfast or a small snack. But, really, you can eat this food any time of the day. Depending on the type of yogurt, it can be a good source of healthy fats, calcium, probiotics, phosphorus, folate, zinc, and protein. It can also provide some vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and more. Wow! More healthy breakfast ideas are found here.
But remember, not all yogurt is created equal. To reduce to risk of food borne illness, it is recommended to only choose pasteurized dairy products during pregnancy. And, when choosing yogurt keep an eye on added sugar. It’s ideal to choose a plain or unsweetened option versus a sweetened or flavored yogurt to reduce added sugars in the diet.
Full fat or whole milk Greek yogurt is a great yogurt option for pregnancy, but regular full fat yogurt works too. For the most benefits, choose an unsweetened or plain full fat Greek or regular yogurt, with less than 5 grams of added sugars.
Worried about the plain taste? Don’t fret!
There are plenty of foods you can add to your yogurt for flavor. Most of which also have many benefits during pregnancy as well. Think strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and other fresh fruits. Or, feel free to add some dark chocolate chips, honey, pecans, walnuts, nut butter, and so on.
You can also add yogurt to other foods for an extra kick of nutrition. Consider adding some yummy yogurt to your next smoothie, dessert, marinade, or homemade sauce recipe. Really, the options are endless.
Now, to the good part – let’s go over the many benefits of eating yogurt during pregnancy!
Benefits Of Eating Yogurt During Pregnancy
It is rich in important essential nutrients.
Ensuring you meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is important to promote optimal prenatal health. Because yogurt is chock full of many of these necessary nutrients, you can count on this food to help you reach your daily requirements. One cup of full-fat, plain Greek yogurt contains calcium, potassium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iodine, riboflavin, and more.
It can help combat fatigue and sustain energy.
Consistently low energy levels? It may be a sign your body needs more protein! As we mentioned above, Greek yogurt contains a great amount of protein. Protein is made of amino acids and the building blocks of your muscles. Upping your protein is one of the best ways to boost energy and fight fatigue.
Everyone’s protein needs will be different, but we do need more protein as pregnancy progresses. A cup of Greek yogurt in the morning for a great boost of protein? Yes, please! Full fat or whole milk yogurt also contains fat that helps to keep us feeling full and provides more energy for longer periods of time. Looking for other sources of protein to help boost energy levels? Check out these plant-based sources of protein.
It promotes proper development of baby’s bones and teeth.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which directly contributes to the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. While calcium is important throughout your entire pregnancy, it is especially important in the third trimester, when your baby begins to grow and develop more rapidly.
Calcium has many other benefits during pregnancy as well, such as contributing to the proper development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. Check out the full list of benefits, here.
It may improve digestion.
The good bacteria, aka probiotics, found in some types of yogurt can work wonders for your digestive system. This good bacteria may help to reduce common symptoms of pregnancy like upset stomach, constipation, nausea, gas, and bloating. Dealing with nausea and an upset stomach on the regular?
Check out these snacks for nausea during pregnancy. Keep in mind, that not all types of yogurt contain probiotics. Be sure to read your food labels!
It promotes strong bones for mom.
During pregnancy, the body goes through many changes that may cause discomfort or pain throughout the body. Certain minerals could be pulled from our own bones when deficient. It’s important to make sure you meet nutrient needs throughout your entire pregnancy to help maintain strong bones (& many other reasons).
Pregnancy can have lasting effects on the body, even after delivery. So, it’s important to take preventive measures now by maintaining a good diet. Luckily, yogurt is chock full of calcium and several other vitamins and minerals that directly contribute to good bone/joint health.
It can help support immune health.
There’s nothing worse than dealing with a cold or flu during pregnancy especially during the later months when you’re already feeling a bit more tired or uncomfortable than usual. Some types of yogurt are chock full of healthy probiotics that can help strengthen the health of your immune system.
(P.S. don’t forget to eat your prebiotic-rich foods too, like sweet potatoes, asparagus, and garlic). Probiotics strengthen your body’s natural defenses against viruses and bacteria and can assist the body during and after recovery. Incorporating more probiotic-rich foods is just one of many ways to strengthen the immune system during pregnancy.
It promotes healthy weight gain.
Yogurt is one of the best foods for helping you maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy. When you choose a plain, unsweetened yogurt option it is full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, the protein and fat in full-fat yogurt help make you feel fuller longer. Believe it or not, yogurt is one of the best remedies for those pesky sugar cravings. A yogurt bowl topped with fruit and nut butter hits the spot or frozen yogurt “bites” really hit the spot!
It’s a blood sugar-friendly food for gestational diabetes.
The protein and fat in yogurt help make this a good food choice for those with gestational diabetes or looking to manage blood sugars. Remember to choose a yogurt option that is full-fat and free from or low in added sugars. In fact, yogurt is a safe food option to include in a diet aiming to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes diet. In search of more gestational diabetes safe snacks? Check out our full list, here.
It could reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Remember those probiotics we were talking about earlier? Not only are they good for the immune system, but they are also good for reducing inflammation throughout the body. This could mean less soreness, less muscle pain, and less pesky swelling in the feet/ankles. For more on keeping that pregnancy swelling at bay, click here.
It may reduce heartburn/acid reflux.
Dealing with food cravings during pregnancy is inevitable. Sometimes those cravings are also common heartburn-trigger foods like chocolate or spicy foods. Are spicy foods a trigger for anyone else?
Luckily, yogurt is here to help! Like milk, yogurt is a common go-to for the relief of heartburn or reflux symptoms. Consuming yogurt when experiencing reflux may help reduce these dreaded side effects. Unfortunately, there are also some pregnant individuals who say dairy triggers heartburn. It really can be a game of trial and error with this one but could be worth a shot.
It may help to reduce the risk of hypertension during pregnancy.
Uncontrolled hypertension during pregnancy can present serious health risks to both mom and baby. These include reduced blood flow to the placenta, low birth weight, and even premature birth. Luckily, food is something you can control when it comes to reducing the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
There are also plenty of foods out there that contain nutrients that may play a role in better blood pressure management. Yogurt is one of them. Yogurt contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are involved in the proper regulation of your blood pressure.
It may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
While more in-depth research and medical review is required, some preliminary studies show that probiotics may play a role in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Adding some probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt with probiotics, to your diet each day may improve mood and reduce feelings of sadness, tiredness, and loneliness.
Here at The Prenatal Nutritionist, we know how hard it can be to maintain a healthy diet while also navigating all the supposed “do’s” and “don’ts” of your pregnancy diet.
That’s why we’re here to help! Be sure to check out The Prenatal Nutritionist Blog for more blogs like this one and additional information on all things prenatal nutrition. And, if you are looking to completely calm your mind around food, sign up for The Prenatal Nutrition Library to access a searchable database on topics from A to Z.
We even have an app to make it as fast and easy as possible, download our app here. It can be downloaded for FREE for a sneak peek inside the library! We’re so excited to be a part of your pregnancy journey!