Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to “eat for two” when expecting. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average woman needs only an extra 200-300 calories per day, starting in the third month. That’s not much more than a hand full of walnuts and a banana.
The quality of those calories however, will have a significant impact on health outcome of mom and baby. Clean, whole, nutrient dense, preferably local and in season foods, will nourish optimally.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 287 toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of developing babies. While not all of these chemicals came from food, to minimize pesticide exposure, it is important to buy the cleanest produce you can afford. Refer to EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to determine what fruits and vegetables should be bought organic. Consume a vast array of clean, colourful vegetables daily.
While animal products are a great source of much-needed minerals and vitamins, especially during pregnancy, they can accumulate a lot of dietary, ‘medicinal’ and environmental toxins. Buying the highest quality, naturally raised meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, is wise. Fish eggs, organ meats and bone marrow are foods that have traditionally been spared for expecting women, because they are so incredibly nutrient dense. But again, they must be clean.
Naturally fermented foods like kefir, Kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt, help replenish and increase diversity of healthy gut microbes for mom and baby. Current research shows a healthy gut ecology is critical to promote healthy immunity, body and mind health.
Ideally, choose foods that are produced locally and in season, to expose the developing infant to information that will help them adapt to the local environment. Get some safe sun exposure to produce and increase stores of natural vitamin D. Eat wild cold-water fish like salmon, herring and sardines a few times per week. And of course, buy the highest quality maternity multi vitamin, with naturally derived nutrients.
Sign up online for NHC’s Healthy Pregnancy Seminar Series beginning February 25th to learn more.
Consider the NHC Healthy Conception and Pregnancy program.