Pregnancy is such a wonderful time to take a look at the food you eat. Knowing food feeds your baby helps increase the awareness of each bite you put into your mouth. Food is an essential part of your pregnancy.
The food you eat builds your baby, it builds the placenta and it gives you strength and stamina for labor and the early days of parenthood. Take advantage of this new awareness and tweak your food lifestyle. 1. Eat foods close to their source. The closer a food is to its original form, the better for you. For example salmon steaks are a much better choice than fish sticks and corn on the cob is a much better choice than canned corn. Fresh fruits and veggies are always preferred above frozen or canned.
2. Drink ½ - 1 gallon of water every day. This is a lot of water. It helps your kidneys to function at their optimal performance especially when they are working overtime during pregnancy. This water also is an essential component of your blood supply which expands by as much as 50% by 28 weeks of pregnancy. Having a healthy blood expansion means a healthy mom and a well nourished baby.
3. If you have a sweet tooth, eat protein first. During pregnancy, your nutritional needs increase. Many times women start to crave sweets. This happens when not enough food is coming in and your body is looking for energy. If you eat protein first, you give your body more long term energy. Protein first also helps stabilize your blood sugar levels and pancreas, which helps your body to efficiently process the excess sugar in your system.
4. Vitamins are good, but food is better. If you can get your nutrients from your food, you will be doing your body a huge favor. Our bodies are designed to take nutrients from the food we eat. However since the demands of pregnancy are so much higher on our bodies, taking a good prenatal vitamin is a great idea. Ideally, the vitamin should be cold processed (as opposed to heat processed) and contain natural sources of calcium and iron. A prenatal that contains herbs like red raspberry, nettles and spirulina are great.
5. Protein is essential. You should aim to eat between 60-80 grams of protein everyday during pregnancy. High protein intake in pregnancy may help the body avoid pre-eclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension. Here is a list of foods that provide approximately 15 grams of protein *2 large eggs *2 ounces of meat, fish or poultry *2 ounces of natural cheese *1/2 cup of cottage cheese *2 cups of milk *1 1/2 cups of yogurt *2 cups of soy milk *1/2 cup of cooked soybeans *6 ounces of tofu *2 1/2 ounces of tempeh *1 cup of cooked beans *1/4 cup peanut butter or 1/2 cup peanuts *1/4 cup of soy nuts *1/4 cup soynut butter *1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. *6 Tbs. almond butter *1/4 cup tahini *1 cup walnuts *1 scoop of spiruteen *1 luna bar 6. Good fat builds a good brain. When you incorporate healthy fats like those found in avocados, fish, olives and nuts, you are helping your baby build the best brain possible. Other sources of this fat, also called essential fatty acids are found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, flaxseed oil and hemp oil. This good fat is also great for your cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, keeps your skin beautiful, softens your cervix and helps your hormones function optimally.
7. Milk is not your best source of calcium. Pregnant women need 1000mg of calcium everyday. Recent studies have suggested that the large molecules found in milk are too big for our bodies to absorb and can deposit themselves in our joints contributing to arthritis and other joint pain. Also, magnesium is necessary to properly absorb calcium and dairy products contain no magnesium. Calcium helps you sleep, eliminates leg cramps, keeps your bowels moving, lessens your irritability and helps build strong bones and teeth for your baby. So when you are evaluating your diet for calcium, each of these sources equal about 290 mg: *2/3 cup of soy nuts *1 cup of edamame (fresh soy beans) *2 1/2 cups of cooked beans *3/4 cup of almonds *3 tbs. ground sesame seeds *1/4 cup of tahini *3/4 cup of salmon *2 1/2 ounces of sardines *31/2 cups of broccoli *11/2-2 cups of cooked greens (kale, collard, bok choy, etc.) All seaweeds including nori, spirulina, kelp, etc. are great sources of iron and calcium.
8. Vitamin C. The optimum amount of vitamin C in a pregnant woman’s diet may be much higher than we thought. Extra Vitamin C helps to build strong membranes, prevents pre-eclampsia, prevents preterm birth and premature rupture of membranes.
9. Yogurt and Fermented Foods – there is mounting evidence to suggest that adding yogurt and other fermented foods to your diet everyday can help maintain normal vaginal health. It can help reduce the amount of yeast, bacterial vaginosis, GBS, reducing allergies, diarrhea, reducing asthma, among other symptoms.
Protein Builder If you are having a hard time getting all the nutrients you need, try this smoothie. It is full of calcium, iron, protein and essential fatty acids...and it tastes good too. 2 cups of milk - almond, coconut, rice, hemp - so many choices! 1 scoop of vanilla flavored spiruteen 2 tsp molasses 2 tsp flaxseed oil
ice cubes Blend until smooth and drink.