Immunity can be compromised during pregnancy as both mother and baby have an increased need for many macronutrients.
When pregnant it’s always important to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure that you can get all the macro and micro nutrients your body needs to support your health and that of your growing baby. Getting a variety of nutrients can also help to ensure your immune system is working effectively to make sure you’re at your best whatever the time of year.
Breakfast is one of the best times to include nutrient dense foods into the diet and ensure we are starting our day off in the best way.
Below are some ideas for great foods to include in your breakfast; they will help pack in some immune-friendly nutrients to keep you healthy throughout gestation.
- Sardines – Number one on the breakfast menu is this oily – omega-3 rich – fish. Sardines are great grilled on toast at breakfast and come complete with immune-supporting nutrients such as zinc, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin D! All of these micronutrients are essential to enable your body to produce antibodies (immune supporting cells). However during pregnancy it is not advised to have oily fish more than twice a week, so don’t have sardines for breakfast everyday! If the idea of fish in the morning doesn’t appeal, you could opt for poached or scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast. Egg contains plenty of the immune supporting nutrients listed above (but not quite so much).
- Mixed berries – Berries are a great food to have in the morning and are easy to add to cereals, porridge, yoghurt and smoothies. You can buy berries fresh, frozen or tinned in natural juice, which helps to make breakfast both simpler and more colourful. The high vitamin C content of berries can support mum’s immune system and may prevent infections by helping to defend the body’s vulnerable mucosal barriers.
- A handful of nuts and seeds – Whether you are adding these to your cereal, smoothie or just grabbing a handful as you head out of the door, these delicious foods are full of immune-boosting vitamin E and selenium. Brazil nuts contain the highest levels of selenium so make sure you include a couple of these in your morning mix.
- Add in some spinach – Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A and also contains some iron. Vitamin A is well known for its important role in protecting the body’s cells. Low levels of vitamin A are linked to higher rates of infection, so including some of this dark green leafy vegetable in the morning can help keep your stores up and lower your risk of catching something nasty. Try adding spinach to omeletts, scrambled egg or mixed in with your morning smoothie.
For more details on immune health see our blog : Flu Fighting Foods