Food is nature’s medicine for our bodies, especially for women who are pregnant. An expectant mothers’ prenatal diet is essential for her own health and for the long term benefits it will have on her children. What you eat will inevitably have a direct impact on three key things for your child: their health, their behavior, and their intelligence. The bottom line is, if you spend the time now taking care of your health while expecting, the outcome for you and your baby will be excellent. So where do you start? Think about and consider applying these tips to optimize your health while pregnant and beyond:
Folic Acid. It’s a vitamin which is part of the B complex of vitamins. It is essential to neural development. Although it is found naturally in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, beans, bananas, broccoli, and milk, the general advice given it to take supplements with 400mcg for the first three months of pregnancy.
Quality Fats. Don’t get turned off because “fat” is mentioned. Quality fats, especially those essential ones like Omega-3 fatty acids, provide the essential building blocks of the human brain. Simply “up” your intake of flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines and mackerel.
Protein. It’s generally recommended that to avoid preeclampsia, caused by malnutrition and a deficit in protein, eat 80-120 grams of protein every day to avoid this and other complications. Every 1-2 hours throughout the day, try to eat a variety of high-quality eggs, meat, fish, beans, nuts, or cheese.
Calcium-packed foods. Calcium lowers your risk of developing preeclampsia, and works to maintain solid bone density and prevent osteoporosis later in life. Drink almond milk or calcium-fortified juice, and eat more almonds, sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables, sardines, and broccoli.
Vitamin C. Ah, good old vitamin C! It’s linked to healthy birth weight, and helps decrease the risk of the premature rupture of the membranes. It is essential for the production of collagen, which gives strength to your baby’s cartilage, muscles, blood vessels, and bones. Since it is unable to be stored in the body, make sure to consume enough daily. Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables.
Iron. Since iron helps generate blood supply, it’s a nutrient you’ll need plenty of in order to ensure you are generating enough new blood cells for you and your baby. Eat plenty of red meats, fish, and poultry as your body absorbs the most iron from these sources. If you are vegetarian, then spinach, lentils, beans, whole grains and dried apricots are good sources of iron. The body needs vitamin C to aid the absorption of iron, so each a piece of fruit as an accompaniment to iron rich foods.
Get Outside. Mother and baby alike need Vitamin D for maintaining healthy teeth and bone structures, and one of the biggest sources of this essential vitamin is sunlight! It’s easy. Take a few minutes out of your day – every day – to take a walk around the neighborhood or play with the kids in the park.
Let’s make your pregnancy a happy one – food wise!
Image used: “Wall_Food_10342,” Taken November 19, 2014 by Michael Stern, CC by 2.0