3 Dietary Changes You Must Make During Pregnancy

pregnant The oft quoted saying for expectant mothers that "you're eating for two" is probably much closer to the truth that you even imagine -- but not at all in the way you think.  Providing the building blocks for a developing fetus is incredibly important, there's no question.  And the very best way to provide those nutritional building blocks is through the food you eat and not a pill you take morning and evening. So let's talk about "eating for two" in the modern age, and the changes you must make to give your baby the start it needs.  Here are three changes (there are probably others) you are going to want to consider.
  1.  Eat Foods That Are Nutrient Dense.     Yes you need to realize that you're eating for two.  But that's not carte blanche to eat all the sugar, fat and salt you want.  Sugar, fat and salt are not the 3 food groups.  To give your baby the best possible opportunity to develop normally and to mitigate the risk of diet-induced birth defects, you need to consume more "nutrition" than usual, not more calories.  More nutrition means eating more colorful vegetables.  Dark leafy greens, the orange foods like carrots and squash, the purple foods like blueberries and other berries, the red foods like beet root and cabbage.  That deeper and richer the color, the more intense the nutritional value (as a general rule.)
  2. Eat Foods That Are Rich In Protein and Rich In Iron.     Of course there are vegetable sources of protein (nuts and seeds, legumes, etc.) but the richest source of complete protein is meat -- particularly red meat.  But pregnancy isn't a time to eat hamburgers for every meal.  Pregnancy is a time to choose the highest quality protein you can afford.  Naturally raised bison is a complete protein (unlike most plant-based proteins) and it is very high in iron.  Because it's lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken breast or salmon filet, you'll get all the benefits of red meat with none of the down side.
  3. Eat Less Sugar, Fat and Salt.     Nutritionists seem to change their mind about every ten years or so which foods are good for you and which you should avoid.  They used to encourage us to eat hydrogenated vegetable fats in place of butter and other animal fats, now they're saying butter is better.   The changes are always interesting.  One thing that hasn't changed (except to maybe get stronger) is their condemnation of sugar.  They used to say that the reason they were opposed to sugar is it was filled with calories, but no nutrition.  Now we know that sugar wreaks havoc on your hormones (something that is already in flux during pregnancy,) and on the metabolic processes in your body.  Avoiding sugar (in all its forms) to the best of your ability during pregnancy is a must.  Salt can cause blood pressure problems during pregnancy and fat can cause your weight to balloon dangerously out of control, but sugar is the real culprit.
Conclusion: If you haven't figured it out yet, the best diet is the one nutritionists have recommended for years.  Fresh, wholesome, natural foods.  It doesn't get any better than that.  You don't have to be fanatical about your diet during pregnancy, but the degree to which you provide nutrition to your body, and protein for building new tissues, and avoid sugar, fat and salt will directly influence making you feel better while you're expecting, making your delivery easier, and making it more likely that you will have a healthy baby.  That's worth watching it pretty carefully, isn't it? And although we've talked about this as it relates to pregnancy, these tips work equally well for every member of your family. Children are going to grow better, sleep better, be less prone to illness, be better adjusted emotionally if they eat the same diet you're eating.  The same for your significant other. So don't be afraid to make these changes.  Everyone in your family will benefit.  Let us know in the comments below what other things you would add to the list.  There are undoubtedly others and we'd love to hear what you think.  

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