Even if you’ve never been a fussy eater, pregnancy is a game changer. First, exhaustion might make you too tired to lift a fork, and if you have morning sickness, you might find your menu limited to crackers, ginger ale, or whatever else you can keep down those first few months. And just when you’re finally able to keep your eyes open through dinner, and not toss your cookies afterwards, that’s when crazy food cravings can kick in.
Whether it’s on your baby’s agenda or not, one food that you should make every effort to eat is yogurt. That’s because this food offers vital nutrients that both you and your baby need, including protein, calcium, B vitamins, and zinc (via WebMD). Plus, yogurt is rich with active cultures called probiotics that improve digestion, and can help prevent yeast infections, which are more common in pregnancy, according to What to Expect. If you’re not a big fan of yogurt because you and dairy aren’t exactly friends, try a small amount of a nice, creamy Greek and see how that goes — since the lactose is strained out of this type of yogurt (per Being The Parent).
Yogurt has an ingredient that may make it less likely that your baby will have autism
Want an even more compelling reason why preggos should consider eating yogurt regularly? Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder recently discovered that mothers who eat fermented foods are less likely to have babies who have autism-related disorders (per Medical Daily). Foods containing “good bacteria,” such as the probiotics that are in yogurt, support the baby’s neurological development, the study found. The research was conducted on rats, but lead researcher Christopher Lowry said that these findings strongly suggest human fetuses also would have the same benefit from a diet rich in foods with probiotics. “This is the first maternal intervention that I know of that has been able to prevent an autism-like syndrome, including the behavioral and social aspects,” Lowry said, according to Science Daily.
If you want to pass on all of the benefits of yogurt to your baby but you just can’t stomach yogurt, there are other fermented foods that offer the same benefits. Kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and tempeh all boast live microbes, just like yogurt (per Pregnancy & Newborn). Added bonus: The sour flavor of some of these foods may satisfy a common pregnancy craving. Perhaps yogurt and sauerkraut are the new pickles and ice cream.
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