Omega-3 is a fatty acid, essential for the development of the baby’s brain. It’s also known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Babies who have a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids develop faster than those who have lower levels of omega 3 in their diet.
Getting Enough Omega 3 from Natural Sources
According to the FDA, a good pregnancy diet should consist of at least 250 mg of Omega 3 each day. Here are some foods which will help you have the recommended amount:
- Flaxseed and walnuts: one quarter of a cup of walnuts, with a tablespoon of flaxseeds, contains 4 grams of omega 3. Other nuts rich in omega 3 are butter nuts, sunflower seed kernels, hazelnuts, pine-nuts, pecans and almonds.
- Fish: 12 ounces of fish and shellfish every week will provide you plenty of omega 3. Since omega 3 is destroyed while frying, it’s best to grill, bake or steam it. Note that having fish while pregnant holds certain problems, related to the mercury fish contain. Consult with your physician or dietitian before having any fish during your pregnancy.
- Beans: another excellent source for omega 3. A cup of Soybeans and kidney beans can provide between 0.2 to 1.0 grams of omega. 4 ounces of chickpeas have 0.4 grams of omega 3. Thus beans can provide you between 10 to 50 percent of the recommended intake of omega 3.
- Olive oil: one ounce of olive oil can provide as much as 0.2 grams of omega 3. But as with fish, it’s best not to fry olive oil, or heat it in general. Try having a bit as salad or other dishes dressing.
- Spices: paprika, cayenne pepper, ginger, oregano, thyme, mustard seeds, basil, sage, ground cloves and other spices are rich with omega 3. Spice up your pregnancy diet by sprinkling some of these spices on your food.
- Winter squash: one ounce of this vegetable can provide you with 0.3 grams of omega 3.
- Women who tend to bleed easily, take anticoagulant drugs (such as warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel and aspirin) should consult with their doctor before adding food rich in omega 3 to their pregnancy diet.
- Women with gestational diabetes may suffer from high levels of fasting glucose while taking fish oil or vegetable Omega.
- Consult with your doctor and dietitian before changing your daily intake of omega 3.