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What is the best diet for pregnant women?

24 April 2009 6,276 views No Comment

What should one’s diet be during pregnancy? Although there always seems to be a shifting current when it comes to supplementation and foods of detriment, make sure you eat a substantial amount of healthy foods. If it’s made in a laboratory, I’d probably avoid it for your child’s sake. There is also an outline of what the balance should be for your macronutirents. So, more specifically, what foods should a soon-to-be mother eat in abundance and what foods should be avoided?

Foods that need to be avoided vary greatly. As mentioned above, some are synthetic, and their avoidance would seem obvious since researchers still aren’t entirely sure what the long term effects of them may be. However, some foods are natural but naturally possess certain components that could leave you and your future child gravely ill. First of all, expecting mothers need to avoid caffeine and alcohol at all costs. For caffeine fans, this not only means coffee, sodas, and teas, but chocolate as well. Both caffeine and alcohol actually hinder the absorption of vital vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and calcium. More than a third of all expecting mothers are actually deficient of folic acid and this could potentially leave your child with neural tube defects, which is an umbrella term of sorts that includes spina bifida and stunted brain development.

Next, I would recommend avoiding food additives. Just think about it, if the hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides found in our meats and produce can lead to disease in for the strong, and healthy adult, imagine the consequences for the delicate body of your child. Also, additives like MSG, saccharine, olestra, and certain artificial food colorings should also be avoided. Unpasteurized foods should definitely be avoided as well since dangerous bacteria could still be residing in your food. Most dairy has been pasteurized, but raw milk cheeses like brie, camembert, and feta should be avoided since they can carry an illness called listeriosis which can be dangerous during pregnancy.

Also, ciders and fresh pressed juices are typically unpasteurized and therefore also need to be avoided. Lastly, mothers need to avoid various seafood items. Shellfish needs to be avoided due to the bacteria levels, fish such as shark, swordfish, and mackerel need not be eaten because of the mercury levels contained in their meat. Also, sushi that contains raw fish is also not allowed once again since bacteria is still a factor. Other foods that need to be avoided during pregnancy are cured or uncooked meats, herbal teas, and unwashed fruits and vegetables. While the uncooked meat and DDT coated vegetables sound dangerous to most, the herbal teas seem completely innocuous, but some such as ginseng and green tea can actually induce contractions prematurely.

Follow these simple rules and you will be taking some tremendous steps in the right direction for you and your child, however, it needs to be understood that this is only a partial list of what should not be eaten during this important time, so do some research of your own and fill in the spots that I’ve left out.

For years now, the FDA has issued a food pyramid in order to illustrate the recommended quantity of foods that we need from each food group each day. Now, researchers have discovered a healthy balance of nutrients for pregnant women. This nutritional outline includes 6-11 servings of grain daily, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruits, 4-6 servings of milk and milk products, 3-4 servings of protein, 6-8 glasses of water, and limited fats and sweets. If this diet prescription can be followed along with some folic acid and calcium supplements, then expectant mothers will be covering all of the necessary bases for themselves and their child.

Lastly, and most importantly, it is important that very little cheating is done during these months since you are no longer knowingly defeating only yourself, but now, you are knowingly defeating your child if you choose to drink, smoke, or eat what should not be eaten. So, be smart and be strong if you’d like the same for your child.

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