Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Best Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy

The Best Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy

What you eat during pregnancy is extremely important not only for your health, but also for the health of your baby. What you eat and drink will be your child’s main source of nourishment, so it’s important that you consume the right foods. Your baby needs a variety of nutrients to grow properly, so you should always try to choose food and beverages that provide these healthy nutrients.

What to Eat

The important nutrients to include in your diet include iron, calcium, folic acid, and protein. Foods with iron include meat, poultry, fish, and dried beans and peas and eggs. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified juices. Some great foods to include ensure you get folic acid include leafy green vegetables, breads, pastas, and fortified or enriched cereals. Eating organic during this time will ensure your baby will be receiving nutrition free of pesticides and chemicals.

What Not to Eat

The biggest thing to avoid while you’re pregnant is caffeine. Since caffeine has been linked to a higher rate of miscarriage, low birth rate, and can raise your baby’s heart rate, it’s recommended to have no more than 200mg of caffeine per day. Many mothers choose to stay away from caffeine entirely to be safe. Alcohol should be avoided at all costs. You should also stay away from fish that contain high levels of mercury because mercury can pass through the placenta, causing issues with your baby’s brain, kidneys, and nervous system. Fish which is usually found to be high in mercury are mackerel, swordfish, and shark to name a few. Other foods to avoid include raw or under cooked meat as well as unpasteurized food.

The goal is to eat fruits and vegetables through most your pregnancy, though it’s okay to splurge on your pregnancy cravings occasionally. Aim to have around 2-4 servings of fruit and at least 4 servings of vegetables daily. Also, try to eat 6-11 servings of grains, 3 servings of protein, and 4 servings of dairy for a well-rounded diet that is healthy for both mother and baby.

Along with proper nutrition through diet, you should also take a prenatal vitamin. This will help fill in where your diet may be lacking. Pregnancy is unpredictable, so you’re bound to go off track with your diet occasionally. Taking a prenatal vitamin each day will ensure that you and your unborn baby are getting exactly what you need to guarantee a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor can recommend the best vitamin for you.

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, you may have heard all kinds of advice on what you should or shouldn’t eat during pregnancy. How do you know which foods to avoid during pregnancy based on medical research and what’s just an outdated bit of folk wisdom? Here are some facts about foods that should be avoided during pregnancy according to the Mayo Clinic.

1. Certain Seafood

You don’t have to avoid all seafood entirely during pregnancy, but you should be aware of seafood that’s high in mercury. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends avoiding the following species of fish during pregnancy:

• King mackerel
• Shark
• Swordfish
• Tilefish

For other types of seafood, you will probably be safe eating no more than 8-12 ounces per week. These types of seafood include:

• Anchovies
• Catfish
• Cod
• Light Canned Tuna
• Pollock
• Tilapia
• Trout

When eating seafood, make sure that it is fully cooked, because raw and undercooked seafood pose a risk of bacterial and viral contamination that can give you food poisoning. High levels of mercury are unsafe to eat during pregnancy because, according to the March of Dimes, babies exposed to mercury in the womb are at risk for brain damage, hearing problems, and vision problems.

2. Undercooked Eggs, Poultry, and Meat

Eating rare meat and undercooked chicken, turkey, duck, or eggs poses a risk like that of undercooked and raw seafood. Namely, these foods may contain bacteria that could give you food poisoning. Hot dogs and lunch meats should also be cooked until steaming hot or else avoided because of the rare but serious possibility of listeriotic contamination.

Be aware that some foods, such as Caesar dressing and eggnog, call for uncooked eggs as an ingredient. If you’re unsure of the ingredients of any homemade or restaurant food product, don’t be afraid to ask.

While it is rare for cases of bacterial food poisoning to affect babies in the womb, you may have a more severe reaction to bacterial food poisoning while pregnant than you would before and after pregnancy. Unwashed raw fruits and vegetables should also be avoided to reduce the risk of bacterial food poisoning.

3. Unpasteurized Foods

Most dairy products, such as milk and cheeses, are sold pasteurized to prevent the risk of bacterial contamination. However, certain kinds of products can be sold without this added layer of safety. They include unpasteurized juices, unpasteurized milk, and soft cheeses such as bleu cheese, Brie, and feta. If a juice, milk, or cheese product is clearly labeled as pasteurized, then it is safe to eat during pregnancy.

4. Herbal Tea

Many people are aware that alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of serious complications known as fetal alcohol syndrome and that excessive amounts of caffeine are still being studied as a potential risk factor for developing babies. Did you know that herbal tea should also be avoided during pregnancy?

Some kinds of herbal tea are specifically marketed for pregnancy, but since the effects of all the types of plants in herbal teas are unknown, it is best to avoid herbal teas unless you have asked your health care provider about a specific kind of herbal tea and gotten the okay to drink it during pregnancy.

Remaining Vegan During Pregnancy

Remaining Vegan During Pregnancy

Keeping a vegan diet during pregnancy shouldn’t cause any extra worry. Including a variety of vegan foods into your diet will keep both you and your baby healthy throughout. Maintaining open communication with your midwife or doctor will also help. They can suggest supplements that will make up for what you may be lacking in your diet. Most importantly, knowledge about the foods you are eating and how they are absorbed into your body will allow for you to better plan the meals you need to eat during pregnancy.

Iron

Iron deficiency is one of the biggest concerns with a vegan diet. Iron supplements is a viable route to take, but knowing which foods contain iron and which foods allow for iron absorption is a good idea.

Leafy greens like kale, chard and spinach as well as legumes are excellent sources of iron. Certain breakfast cereals and enriched breads and pastas contain iron as well. Soy products are great, but too much can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb other needed vitamins, whereas fermented soy products (tempeh, miso) will not.

Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Make sure to included foods like broccoli, tomatoes and fruits into your meals to assist your body. It is best to limit the amount of coffee and teas consumed. They are high in polyphenols and tannins that reduce iron absorption.

Brain Development

Vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fish products and B-12 in animal products. There are a variety of supplements that can be taken. Adding flax seed and walnuts (omega-3) and fortified foods and beverages (B-12) this obstacle can be easily overcome. Nutritional yeast will also help boost your B-12 intake.

Iodine is also important for brain development and easier to obtain. Adding iodized salt to your meals and eating dried seaweed will provide a substantial amount.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is easy to obtain, but with Vitamin D your body will not absorb it. Eat a variety of green vegetables like cabbage, bok choy and broccoli as well as white beans, tahini and almonds to obtain calcium. Soy and almond milk are excellent sources as well. Vitamin D can be found in many types of fortified cereals and juices. It is also found in prenatal supplements.

The most important thing to remember about a vegan diet and pregnancy is to always talk with your midwife or doctor. It is why they are there. If you are showing signs of missing certain nutritional needs they will help guide you through the steps you need to take. It could be as simple as adding more greens to your diet or taking prenatal supplements. You should not have to change your vegan ways because of pregnancy.