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Eat these nutritious pregnancy super foods to enhance your baby’s grey matter. These eating ideas are healthy as well as tasty!

Your baby’s brain starts developing just three weeks after conception and the food you eat plays an important role in its development. Your baby’s brain undergoes rapid changes between weeks 24 and 40 of pregnancy, with substantial brain growth occurring from 34 weeks.

A wide range of nutrients are required for this development, so eat as diverse healthy diet as you can. However, some really stand out as nutritional pregnancy super foods – and you will find them easily in local shops and supermarkets.

Greek yogurt – Super-nutrient: Iodine

The World Health Organisation (WHO) cautions that iodine deficiency during pregnancy is leading to preventable mental health problems. All yogurts are a great source of iodine. Greek yogurt has more protein, and prevents low birth weight.

What you need

140mcg of iodine a day is recommended. A 150g serving of Greek yogurt provides 50-100mcg. Add a little honey and nuts for breakfast.

Lentils – Super-nutrient: Iron

Iron is an important nutrient which affects the production of brain chemicals and the formation of myelin, which is vital for rapid and accurate message sending to the brain. Less iron can lead to poor mental development.

What you need

14.8mg of iron per day during pregnancy. A portion of lentils provides 6.6mg. Having lentils with vitamin C boosts the iron availability in your body, so add peppers, cabbage or tomatoes to lentil soup for a stable serving.

Spinach – Super-nutrient: Folate

Your baby needs the naturally folate present in spinach for the production of new DNA and to regulate cell metabolism along with your folic acid supplement. The antioxidants present in spinach also protect the baby’s brain tissue from damage.

What you need

400mcg of folate per day is suggested. An 80g raw portion provides 154mcg, 180g serving of cooked spinach delivers 262.8mcg. Light steaming boosts the absorption of folate, but be sure not to overcook it. Adding spinach at the last moment to a vegetable stew wilts the spinach and retains vital nutrients.

Eggs – Super-nutrient: Choline

Eggs are a great source of protein and iron, which are both important for brain development. They have high levels of choline, which is essential in developing memory and a life-long ability to learn.

What you need

450mg of choline per day. The richest source is egg yolks. One hard-boiled egg has 113mg of nutrient value. Add hard-boiled eggs to a salad of mixed leaves.

Peanuts – Super-nutrient: Vitamin E

Peanuts are an amazing snack during pregnancy, being rich in protein, monounsaturated fats,niacin, and folate. The high vitamin E content in peanuts supports DHA and also protects brain cell membranes. Go for unsalted roasted or natural peanuts with the skin intact for a smash of antioxidants.

What you need

3mg of vitamin E a day. A serving of natural peanut butter without oil provides just the right amount of nutrients required. Spread natural peanut butter on oatcakes is a convenient and tasty snack.

Avocados – Super-nutrient: Monounsaturated fatty acids

Fat makes up to 60% of the developing brain. Avocados contain high levels of oleic acid which helps to generate and maintain myelin, a fatty protection coating around nerves in the central nervous system.

What you need

25-35% of your daily calories requirement should come from fat, ideally monounsaturated fat. Peel and add to your salads or slice into sandwiches. You can also whisk three avocados with one tomato, a small onion and lime juice for a punchy guacamole dip.

These pregnancy super foods will not only help you fulfill your dietary needs but also make your baby smarter!