What Spices Are Good for Pregnant Women?

Diet is everything when you're pregnant: A developing fetus needs good nutrition to properly grow and avoid birth defects, and a pregnant woman requires proper nutrition to take care of her health needs and keep her energy up. The spices used to boost the flavor of food can influence nutritional intake, so choose spices that contain good vitamins and minerals for fetal and maternal health.

Spices High in Folate

Pregnant women require 600 micrograms of folate per day, a full 200 micrograms more than non-pregnant women. It helps prevent anemia and contributes to red blood cell growth. It also helps prevent some birth defects. You can supplement your diet with folate by choosing spices high in this vitamin, such as:

  • curry powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • cloves.

These spices often are used in Indian foods and baked goods.

Spices High in Choline

Close up of spices on a provencal street market

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Getting enough choline in your diet while pregnant -- 450 milligrams per day -- is critical because this nutrient helps brain cells develop as they should, and it might influence your baby's memory and learning abilities later in life. You can kick up the taste of other choline-rich foods such eggs by adding spices such as curry powder, paprika, ground ginger and ground mustard.

Spices High in Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids support the production of prostaglandins, compounds that influence blood pressure, allergic response, kidney and gastrointestinal tract function and nerve function. Prostaglandins also might help your growing fetus with eyesight and brain development. The American Pregnancy Association indicates that omega-3 fatty acids help prevent preterm labor and delivery as well. Thyme contains omega-3 fatty acids and often goes well with other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish.

Spices High in Vitamin E

Close up of spices on a provencal street market

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A study published in the June 2006 issue of the "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine" indicates that low vitamin E intake during pregnancy correlates to the incidence of asthma in young children. You can get more vitamin E in your diet through the use of spices such as paprika, chili pepper, curry powder, ginger and cloves. The vitamin E in these spices also helps you and your fetus make red blood cells.