Today I am excited to be sharing advise from Dr. Robin Walsh, a Naturopathic Doctor and Nutritionist who has inspired thousands of people (including me!) to optimize their health through lifestyle changes.
Dr. Robin was my Naturopath when I was trying to conceive my daughter at 42 and continues to take care of me, and my family, in the most natural way possible. She is also Mom to a beautiful little girl who is nearly 2.
I asked Dr. Robin, who interestingly specializes in optimizing fertility, to share with my After Forty Moms what she felt were the top five foods that should be part of our diets when we are pregnant in this “slightly” later stage of life.
For me a critical part of successfully changing my eating habits is having guidance on how to integrate them into my day in the easiest way possible. I think you’ll appreciate how Dr. Robin has attempted to bridge this gap and leave no room for excuses! Enjoy!
Super Mommy Food #1: Dark Leafy Greens
We all know about the importance of folic acid for healthy neural tube development. While supplements are important, it is also important to include natural food sources of these powerful vitamins and minerals. After all, the best absorbable source for vitamins and minerals is food. Leafy greens are also high in iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium and are great sources of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, and fibre which helps to promote bowel health in pregnancy. Leafy greens include spinach, all forms of lettuce, kale, swiss chard and collard.
Salads are the obvious way to ingest these greens, however these greens can also be lightly steamed or stir fried (just chop them roughly and toss them in for the last few minutes). Collard greens can be steamed and used as a wrap instead of grains.
One of my favourite ways to get lots of powerful greens in your day is to make a green smoothie.
Kale Berry Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 cups torn raw kale
1 cup cold water
Super Mommy Food #2: Brassica Family (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Kale)
In addition to being a wonderful source of multiple vitamins and minerals, the Brassica family of veggies are packed with glucoraphanin, a powerful antioxidant. These foods are also natural sources of indol 3 Carbinol and Sulforaphane, which have reported anticancer activity.
There is strong epidemiological research that infant cancers can be caused by fetal exposure to carcinogens either during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Some of the environmental pollutants that are being looked at are Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) found in cigarette smoke or the combustion of organic materials like wood, coal, cooking oil or diesel fuel. Other environmental pollutants can include PCB and dioxins which are mainly found in non organic foods, dairy and meats. These can cross the placenta, and also be transmitted to the baby during breastfeeding.
In laboratory studies, scientists exposed pregnant mice to a single high dose of one PAH called dibenzopyrene, a potent carcinogen, and about 80 percent of their 100 offspring died early in life from an aggressive T-cell lymphoma. Of those that survived to the mouse-equivalent of middle age, 100 percent had lung tumors.
By comparison, in a group of pregnant mice given the same carcinogen but who also received the chemoprotective supplement Indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, deaths from lymphoma were cut in half, and the number of lung tumors during the later part of life was significantly reduced. (ref: Journal Carcinogenesis, October 2006)
How can you easily add these gems to your diet? Adding them to a stir fry is certainly one way, but I also like to include them in a mix of roasted vegetables (toss in some olive oil and seasoning and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until tender but crunchy). Also check out this recipe for kale chips. These are really easy to make and surprisingly tastey.
Super Mommy Food #3: A Cup of Tea
Nettle Tea (Uritica Dioica)
Starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy, Nettle tea is a very nutritive beverage for both mom and baby. Nettles are high in important vitamins and minerals such as A, K and C as well as calcium, iron and potassium. Nettle tea is also a natural diuretic, so is very helpful for the water retention that some moms experience later in their pregnancy. Dosage is usually recommended at 1-3 cups per day.
Depending on the time of year you are pregnant, I like to have this tea hot or cold. If cold, its nice to add a few lemon slices and have on ice.
Red Raspberry Tea
Like nettle tea, red raspberry tea is also high in A, B, C, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium. It is used traditionally as a uterine tonic, or in other words helps to strengthen the uterus for labour. There is some confusion that red raspberry induces labour. It is not a uterine stimulant, but a uterine tonic, so there is no risk for premature labour from drinking red raspberry tea. Dosage is recommended at 1-3 cups/day.
Again this is quite nice hot and cold and, as with all herbals teas, can be counted as one of your required glasses of water for the day which helps out nicely.
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