Healthy Eating Womens Health

How To Eat Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy

Written by Collins Nwokolo

 Risk of Peppery food during pregnancy.

Being pregnant can be a very fascinating and interesting period for any woman. Every woman desires that they and their unborn baby are healthy and safe. One of the key ways to make sure you and your baby are healthy is by consuming the right nourishment during pregnancy. So, today you’ll be learning about some healthy Nigerian foods to eat when you are pregnant. There are a plethora of healthy and tasty Nigerian foods available, but many Nigerian women have little or no knowledge on the healthy Nigerian dishes for pregnancy.
Not to worry, this beneficial article will provide you with the necessary knowledge of healthy nutrition for pregnancy. The key nutrition for a pregnant woman and We will also look at some foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


The Main Nutrition For Pregnancy
What a pregnant woman consumes when she is pregnant is her child’s major source of nutrition. Many healthcare professionals have recommended that a pregnant woman eats a variety of healthy foods, drinks and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that a pregnant woman needs a diet rich in calcium, folic acid, iron and protein. Why is that so? Find out below:
Calcium is the main nutrient responsible for growth of bone and teeth. A developing baby needs a steady supply of calcium for growth in the womb. If enough calcium is not given to a child, the mineral will be drawn from the mother’s stores in her bones and given to the baby, and that could be detrimental to the mother. It is recommended that a pregnant woman consumes 1100-1400mg daily of calcium.
Folic acid, or folate, is an essential nutrient required for growth of the baby.  It is one of the B complex vitamins and absence absence or lack of folic acid will lead to brain or spinal cord (neural tube defects)  disorders in the baby. March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to helping women prevent birth defects, recommends that women who are trying to have a baby take a daily vitamin supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid per day for at least one month before becoming pregnant. The amount could rise to 600mg daily when the woman is eventually pregnant.
Iron is another essential mineral required for pregnancy. Iron is vital because of the extra demands of oxygen supply to the baby. Iron is responsible for enhancing blood formation to supply the baby with oxygen. ACOG recommends that women take about 27mg if Iron daily.
Protein is important for the growth of the baby, it is even more important for a baby in the womb. Every pregnant woman needs to make sure that they eat foods that rich in protein, so that their baby gets enough too.

Healthy Nigerian Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

Now, we’ll look at some common Nigerian foods that should be consumed during pregnancy. They are to be taken moderately.

Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


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1. Beans and Plantains
Pregnant women need extra protein daily a non-pregnant woman. One of the best natural sources of protein is beans. Beans and other legumes are readily available in Nigeria.
Pregnant women also need iron and another great source of iron is plantain. If you are thinking what I’m thinking then Beans and plantain should be in your head. You can prepare beans together with plantain to gain the maximum health benefits. Roasted plantain or bole, along with fish is also a great alternative.


Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


2. Dairy products
Dairy products are rich in calcium, proteins and vitamins which are perfect for the growing fetus. They help in bone, teeth and nerve development for the baby. If you are consuming dairy products,  you need to avoid raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products. Healthy dairy products in Nigeria include fura da nunu, made from cow milk and millet cereal.
Yoghurt is another great healthy dairy product for pregnant women,  especially Greek yoghurt. Yoghurts are highly rich in calcium and some yoghurts contain probiotic bacteria which improves digestive health.


Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


3. Salmon
Salmon is another great food to eat during pregnancy. Why is salmon good for pregnancy? This is because it is very rich in Omega-3 greatly boosts the development of your baby. They are also rich in high-quality protein.
The risk associated with consuming seafood during pregnancy is because of the mercury content, which is harmful to the baby. However, salmon has a very low mercury content, but it should be eaten moderately, perhaps two times a week. Salmon is also a natural source of vitamin D, which helps with improving immune function.


Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


4. Eggs
Eggs are one of the healthiest foods to be taken during pregnancy. They contain all the essential vitamins and minerals that the fetus requires. Eggs are a great source of protein that provides all the essential amino acids you and your baby requires. They also contain choline, which is good for baby’s brain development. Poor choline consumption during pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects or other embryological conditions in the fetus. A single egg contains about 113mg of choline, which is 25 percent of the recommended daily choline intake. How do you consume eggs while pregnant? Some have wondered if scrambled eggs are safe to take during pregnancy? You can consume eggs whether they are cooked, fried or scrambled. Just make sure you avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs.
5. Nigerian leafy vegetables
Pregnant women should focus on eating a lot of dark leafy greens vegetables especially in the second and third trimester. There so many healthy leafy vegetables available in Nigeria. They contain all the essential nutrients that pregnant women need.
These include dilate, fiber, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium.
Broccoli, in Yoruba, is called ẹfọ, is a healthy choice that is highly recommended for pregnant women.  You can use these vegetables to prepare Nigerian soups. One of such healthy Nigerian soups for pregnant women is Oha soup,  it is nutritious and rich in magnesium and calcium. They are also some very good Nigerian herbs for pregnancy too.


Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


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6. Lean Meat
Meat is a great source of protein for everyone, but lean meat is a healthier source of protein for pregnant women. Chicken, beef and pork are good choices you can take. They are rich in iron, and other vitamins too.
Pregnant women should also avoid unprocessed or undercooked meat.


Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


7. Fruits
It’s healthy to eat enough fruits when you are pregnant. They are so many healthy Nigerian fruits that contain all the necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep the mother and baby nourished. Such fruits include garden egg, cherry, banana,  avocado, and watermelon.
Make sure you eat fruits regularly while you are pregnant.
They should also avoid unpasteurized fruit juices.


Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


8. Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of unsaturated healthy fat that can benefit both the mother and the developing fetus. They are moderately high in calories,  which can keep you fuller longer, Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, coconuts, and dates are also very rich sources of protein. In Nigeria, healthy Nigerian nuts you can consume are like tiger nuts, called ofio in Yoruba, aya in Hausa and Aki Hausa.
The protein provided by nuts makes them an essential food for pregnancy. They also contain Omega 3 fatty acids which aid brain development in the growing fetus.
Peanuts are high in folic acid, half a cup of peanuts contains about 106 micrograms of folic acid,  which is about 25 percent of the daily intake of delicious acid a pregnant woman needs. Peanut butter is another great way to consume peanuts.

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Nigerian Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

They are also some certain Nigerian foods that should be avoided during pregnancy. You will have to drop your old eating habits because you are now eating for both you and your baby. Although I mentioned quite a few of those foods that should be avoided, some others include:
Zobo Drink: Zobo drink is a healthy Nigerian drink that is made from hibiscus flower. Many pregnant women have asked this question: Is zobo drink good for pregnant women? Zobo is drink that helps in weight loss, and hence, taking zobo drink, while pregnant, could increase the risk of them giving to babies with low birth weight. A baby who has low birth weight can have so many other health challenges.
Alligator pepper: A study on Sprague Dawley rats found out that ingesting alligator pepper (Zingiberaceae Aframomum Melegueta) posed health risks to pregnant women in their first trimester.
Caffeine: Pregnant are advised to cut down the intake of caffeine during pregnancy.
Alcohol: Many health experts warn strongly against the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. It may lead to complications in the development of the baby.
Uda spice: Uda spice is another Nigerian food to avoid during pregnancy. It is indigenous to West Africa, and called the guinea or negro pepper or locally known as uda spice. The spice is a natural contraceptive and was used to prevent pregnancy back then. Uda spice has been advised to not be taken during pregnancy.
Healthy Nigerian Foods During Pregnancy


It is very important that you eat healthy during pregnancy. This will make sure you and your baby stay healthy during that period,  and you deliver a healthy child safely. Make sure you eat a lot of the foods that have the nutrients you should take during pregnancy and avoid the foods that are harmful to you and your baby.

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About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.


  • As a holistic nutritionist & mother of toddlers I really appreciated your blog. Eating healthy foods before conception, through pregnancy and into the 4th trimester (after the baby) is so vital for both mom & baby. I've never heard of the zobo drink, I'm going to check it out!

  • Salmon, eggs, and plantains are all some of my favourite foods! It's great that you can still gain the nutritional values that you need during pregnancy while still getting to eat such delicious foods!

  • Excellent tips, in the near future, we plan baby and just going to come in handy for some of these tips. I certainly agree that healthy food is one of the most important factors during pregnancy.

    Kisses and hugs, DD's blog

  • I actually love your foods to avoid section even more because it's a lot of stuff I've never heard of or about! I have a feeling that Nigerians eat much healthier than we do in America because we put so many chemicals, dyes, and artificial things into everything and the effects of which haven't really been looked into the way you'd imagine. I think I'd just go for lots of salmon though, it looks so good!

  • Pregnancy can be such a hard time on a woman's body. I couldn't agree more that it's so important to have a healthy diet, both for the mother and the baby. Great list of nutritional Foods.

  • oooh that's such an interesting post! I have never tried nigerian food and i am not pregnant but it's always good to know about world cuisine and how it eat it in a healthy way!

  • This is a really useful post that will be helpful for many expectant mothers and for anyone looking to eat healthy. In this fast and busy life, we have forgotten our traditional foods that our mothers and grandmothers ate in their pregnancies, it is so important to eat healthy in pregnancy. Great food guide!

  • That beans and plantains looks like such a scrummy dish! I'd happily eat that at any stage of life. 🙂

  • This is a great post! Full of so much information on how to enjoy a healthy pregnancy eating Nigerian food, it all looks really good too.

  • One of my co-worker's boyfriend is Nigerian and she was nice enough to share some authentic Nigerian recipes.

    My OTHER co-worker is newly pregnant so I'll show her this list of healthy foods to eat! 🙂

  • I don't really know much about Nigerian foods anyway, healthy or otherwise, so this was a good read for me. Even though I'm not pregnant (and have no intention of being any time soon), I'd probably still eat all of these foods x

  • This article is so interesting. Nutrition is important for a developing fetus. Nigerian food is something that I wanted to try for years. The healthy suggestions sound absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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