Prenatal Nutrition Advice from Judy Panke, RHN

Pregnant

One of my fav blogs Crazy Sexy Life, just posted this and it's PERFECT for our blog, so I thought I would share it with everybody - pregnant or not, this information is so helpful. Enjoy!!

The following was written by Judy Panke, RHN


"There is no time of greater nutritional importance in one's life
than during gestation and the first year of life; the nutrition
received while in utero will directly influence health after birth and
later into life. Eat an organic, varied, colorful diet during pregnancy
to ensure that you and your baby receive plenty of good quality
nutrients necessary for health and wellness.


Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients during
pregnancy. Choose organic whenever possible, and try to buy local and
in season for optimum nutrition. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of
fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and other
phyto-nutrients, and are best consumed raw. Get an immune boost with
foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and the minerals selenium and zinc
- broccoli, peppers, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, apricots, peaches,
and garlic are all great choices.


It's very important not to skip meals, and to snack regularly
throughout the day to maintain blood sugar levels and avoid fatigue.
Aim for colorful meals and snacks - throw some fresh, raw greens into
your breakfast fruit smoothie for added nutrients and a pop of bright
green. Add blueberries, strawberries, or cranberries to your lunch time
salad for extra vitamin C and anti-oxidants; make it a whole meal with
a small handful of almonds or walnuts, full of protein and healthy
fats. Choose broth based bean and vegetable soups for fiber, protein,
and minerals, and try whole grain breads, pastas and cereals for extra
fiber and nutrients. Fight hunger with frequent snacks like hummus and
carrots, apple slices and almond butter, zucchini slices with salsa,
toast and nut butter, or fresh fruit salad sprinkled with hemp or
sunflower seeds.


During pregnancy, essential fatty acids (EFAs) are also very
important. EFAs are used in the creation, development, and growth of a
fetus, particularly in the neurological development, increasing an
adults already high need dramatically. If EFAs are not present in
sufficient amounts, general growth and neurological development may
suffer, immunity may be reduced, and intelligence later in life may be
impacted. Ensure adequate consumption of EFAs with olives and olive
oil, raw nuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil, flax seeds
and flax oil, and chia seeds.


One of the most important, and also simplest dietary improvements to
make during pregnancy is to drink more water! Many women avoid drinking
water during pregnancy because of the (constant) need to urinate due to
increased pressure on the bladder. Unfortunately there is not a lot to
improve this but it is still necessary to drink lots of water. Take
comfort in the fact that frequent bathroom trips may reduce your risk
of spider veins of varicose veins, by encouraging blood flow from extra
walking!


Fortunately, there are not many foods to avoid during pregnancy. Raw
fish, seafood, eggs, meat, and some cheeses should not be consumed.
Deli meats and smoked seafood carry a risk of listeria and other
bacteria that may cause miscarriage, and therefore should be avoided
during pregnancy and breast feeding. All fish and seafood should be
reduced or eliminated during pregnancy because of unsafe mercury levels
and other heavy metal levels. Accumulated heavy metals in the tissues
of fish and humans can contribute to disease, impaired neurological
development and function, and hormone disruption, among many other
things.


It's also important to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and artificial
sweeteners during pregnancy. Commonly referred to as 'non-nutrients',
these items do not promote healthy fetus development or growth.


Some common complaints during pregnancy are morning (or all-day!)
sickness, constipation, indigestion, insomnia, and irritability.
Fortunately, you can influence these symptoms with simple dietary
improvements.


Believe it or not, nausea is a good thing - it's your body's natural
protective mechanism for keeping out potential pathogens that may hurt
you or your baby. Eating smaller more frequent meals can help with
sickness, and avoiding overly spiced or flavored foods can be helpful
as well. Fresh ginger is a wonderful tummy settler and anti
inflammatory. Consume it in fresh juice or smoothies, salad dressings
or other foods, or make fresh ginger tea (1-2 inch chunk peeled and
sliced, brewed in just boiled water until desired flavor is reached).


Constipation is a frequent symptom during pregnancy because of
compression on the bowels from the uterus. This is often amplified by
prescriptive iron supplements, which are very hard on digestion. If
your Doctor or health professional has suggested iron supplements,
choose one sourced from spring water for easier digestion and less
constipation. If constipation persists, try flax seeds, known to be
helpful for constipation. For a quick solution, soak 1 tbsp whole flax
seeds in 1 cup filtered water overnight. Drink the mixture in the
morning, followed by one large glass of water, and await a complete
bowel movement. Ground flax seeds may be helpful for some people with
constipation, and can be added to foods such as yogurt, applesauce,
salads, cereal, oatmeal, and even ice cream. Remember to drink plenty
of water to offset the effects of fiber, and to aid with bowel
movements.


Indigestion is not as easily addressed as constipation. Because of
increased pressure from the uterus and fetus on the stomach and other
organs, indigestion is common for many women. Avoid foods that
aggravate indigestion, such as fat and greasy foods, and do not drink
liquids with meals. Also, only eat fruit alone, and always before a
meal instead of after for comfortable digestion.


Insomnia and irritability during pregnancy are accepted as normal,
but they don't have to be. Include sufficient protein from clean
sources such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, and good fats like
olive oil, flax oil, and avocados for good moods, good sleep, and
stress management. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and barley
provide B vitamins which are important for fetus growth and
development, as well as mood stabilization and stress management of the
mother.


Nutrition should not be neglected during breast-feeding; all of the
baby's nourishment comes via milk made directly from mom's diet. Keep
the diet clean with lots of purified water, fruits and vegetables, and
avoid common allergens such as wheat, soy, dairy, corn, eggs, and
peanuts. Breast milk can often contain toxic levels of heavy metals and
other environmental pollutants; these toxins can be passed from mother
to baby and negatively impact health. To reduce toxic exposure to the
baby, expel and discard the first few ounces of breast milk at each
feeding. To encourage milk flow, try herbs such as fenugreek or blessed
thistle.


Give your child the nutritional advantage, and watch them reap the rewards for years to come. They'll thank you.


Judy Panke is Registered Holistic Nutritionist based out of
Ottawa, Ontario Canada. She specializes in raw and vegan nutrition, and
pre-natal nutrition. Judy has her own nutritional counseling and
healthy dessert catering business, and can be reached through her blog,
www.judysnutrition.blogspot.com."