Fiona Waring: Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Babies demand the best and no time is more important for eating well as while you are pregnant.
During pregnancy you need for protein increases as you are not only replenishing your body, but also providing the raw materials from which your baby is made. Your need actually goes up by 13% – from 45g – to 51g a day. This does not mean you should be eating lots of steak or cheese. The best quality protein foods in terms of amino acid balance include quinoa, fish, beans, lentils as well as meat, eggs and dairy products.
Good and Bad Fats
The best form of food plan whether you are pregnant or not – provides a balance of those two essential polyunsaturated fats – Omega 3 and Omega 6. Having a fresh daily source is important.
When you’re pregnant your carbohydrate intake has to meet not just your energy needs, but also those of your baby. As your baby is growing around the clock, their need is constant. Balancing your blood sugars by eating 3 meals and 2 snacks with a balance of protein and carbohydrate, will reduce the risk of fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar fluctuations can make you feel dizzy, irritable, forgetful, jittery, tired and make you thirsty.
Fibre is important as your baby grows as he or she will press on your abdomen, making it harder for you to eat a lot and providing less room for digested waste to be passed out for elimination. If your daily food intake is high in mucous foods like meat and milk and low in fibre rich foods such as vegetables and wholegrain, your stools can become more compact and harder to pass.
To get the best sources of protein, fat, carbohydrate and fibre during pregnancy follow these simple guidelines:
Eat 2 servings of beans, lentils, quinoa and 1 small serving of meat, fish, cheese or free range egg a day.
Avoid access protein from animal sources
Eat 2 tablespoons of ground seeds a day plus your Omega 3 fatty acid supplement.
Avoid fried, burnt or browned fat, saturated and hydrogenated fats.
Eat 3 or more servings of dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, greens beans or peppers, raw or lightly cooked.
Eat 3 or more servings of fresh fruit such as apples, pears, banana, berries, melon or citrus fruit.
Eat 4 or more servings of wholegrain such as rice millet, rye, oat, whole wheat, corn, quinoa as cereal, breads, pasta or pulses.
Try to avoid sugar and white refined foods.
Take a supplement which is designed for pregnancy such as Pregnacare .
If the reason that you are not taking a supplement is – ‘ as long as you eat a well-balanced diet you will get all the nutrients you needs’ this is the biggest myth in nutrition today. Every survey that has been done in Britain since the 1980s shows that even those that have a well-balanced diet fail to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Also these RDAs (replaced with RDI’s) are not designed to meet optimal health, rather to prevent nutritional deficiency. Folic acid is not the only essential nutrients in pregnancy a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals are essential.
Essential Fats: Eat Oily fish as least 3 times a week.
The brain of the baby to be is no less than 60 per cent fat, and during pregnancy the ‘hard-wiring’ of intelligence is being laid down. Each brain cell literally grows roots which connect to around 10,000 other brain cells. These brain cells need essential ‘omega-3’ fats found in fish and also in flax seeds. That’s why fish is genuinely good for the brain. In fact, research by Professor Michael Crawford at the Institute of Brain Chemistry in Holloway has shown that the omega-3 fat levels of a new born infant correlates with their intellectual performance as children.
This may also explain the recent finding by researchers at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London that found that women’s brains shrink in pregnancy. The most likely explanation is that the foetus robs the mother of every ounce of essential fats, which means that pregnant women should definitely avoid very low-fat diets.
Instant Energy Boosters
Balancing your blood sugars will help to increase energy. Here are a few more instant ways to energise yourself –
- Make a fresh juice – a juicer is a great investment and you can experiment with different combinations like apple, carrot and celery. Raw foods give a great energy lift.
- Have a salad with sprouted seeds. Fresh living foods are packed with nutrients and energy.
- Do some gentle exercise like yoga
- Listen to some music can boost energy levels and reduce stress.
- Maximise the light in your room with natural or full-spectrum light. Or take a walk outside.
- Scent your room with lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon or peppermint – aroma lamps can be bought almost anywhere.
Important: Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements.
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