Pregnancy is an experience that millions of women worldwide share, but every culture has a different way of approaching this important life event. How pregnant women are expected to act varies by culture, especially when it comes to what they eat. There’s no doubt that a good diet is essential to a healthy pregnancy, but what really comprises a good diet during pregnancy? You might find some of the eating plans that pregnant moms in Asia follow surprising, but there are plenty of good reasons to adopt the eating patterns of these women too.
Asian Moms Challenge Bland Prenatal Diet Expectations
In most of the Western world, expecting moms are encouraged to eat bland pregnancy diets to get adequate essential pregnancy nutrients. There are a litany of rules to follow and foods to avoid during pregnancy in these cultures. However, the case isn’t the same in the rest of the world. Moms in Asia in particular opt for interesting foods during pregnancy. Their choices demonstrate the amazing variety of healthy, tasty foods women can enjoy when expecting.
Getting Fishy with Japanese Moms
In Japan, most pregnant women consider sushi or sashimi an excellent addition to their diet. Oily fish in particular can contribute to a baby’s mental and physical health and to the mental health of mom as well. The fatty acids in fish are so important for physical development that many prenatal vitamins now include highly processed versions of fish oil. For Japanese women, these daily supplements aren’t needed to replace fish itself. Raw fish may be avoided in some areas because doctors are afraid of the potential for food-borne illnesses, but these savvy moms know that hygienic food handling and preparation make raw fish a super healthy, low-risk food choice.
A Taste of Spice with Vietnamese Moms
It may seem contrary to women who suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, but spicy foods can be a great addition to a prenatal eating plan. Consider the women of Vietnam, who favor ginger, garlic, onion and other spicy foods when they’re expecting. Spicy foods and warm beverages are encouraged because pregnancy is considered a hot condition according to Vietnamese traditions. Ginger in particular boasts serious benefits when it comes to cutting down on morning sickness and inflammation.
Going for Fiber with Filipina Moms
The traditional Filipino diet serves women well during pregnancy, when its emphasis on proteins and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables helps keep both mom and baby healthy. Bean curd and chicken drumsticks are popular, protein-rich choices. Spinach, kangkong, jute, kalabasa, guava, papaya, kiwi, camote and lemon are excellent choices thanks to high levels of folic acid, calcium, and vitamins A and C. These high-fiber fruits and veggies can also ease prenatal discomfort by helping women maintain regularity and fight bloating.
Regardless of their diets before pregnancy, expecting moms know that there’s never a more important time to make eating well a priority. It’s a great idea to draw inspiration from Asian moms, who know that honoring cultural traditions during pregnancy can also be a wonderful way to prepare their children for a healthy future. Whether spicy foods, fresh fish or juicy fruits, the foods favored by these women help support mental and physical health for mom and baby during pregnancy.