No time is nutrition more important in a woman’s life than when she is having a baby. This time is fraught with worries about getting enough vitamins and minerals and not eating anything harmful.
The more we are begging to know about our foods and what chemicals are going in them and on them the more fearful we become as mothers. Transfats, saturated fats, unpasteurized milks, reconstituted corn syrup, genetically modified soy bean, mercury in fish, pesticides on fruits, sugar, salts; it is virtually impossible o understand what a mother should eat.
Below is a list of easy to follow rules for avoiding harmful eating during pregnancy:
1. Avoid reconstituted anything: read the labels if you see reconstitutes corn syrup, fruit juice, any ingredient put the product back on the shelf. Reconstituted means they took the raw ingredients changed them in some way and used what was left to make this product. It is difficult to say what quality of ingredients is being used when something has been reconstituted. During your pregnancy it is much safer to go for product using whole ingredients such as fresh fruit juices without additives.
2. Calcium is so important in pregnancy. You need approximately 1,500 mg of calcium every day to supply enough to the fetus for bone growth and prevents losing bone density. The best source of calcium is definitely dairy as long as it is pasteurized. Cheeses, creams, milks, yoghurt, ice cream can all be eaten in moderation if you check the label and it clearly states the product has been pasteurized. If you are unsure try tofu, salmon or green leafy vegetables.
3. Many women choose to steer clear of meats during their pregnancy. This is not necessary. There are a few simple rules for keeping meats safe though. Cook all meats thoroughly, do not eat any meat raw or rare. Avid deli and processed meats, they can be a source of listeriosis. Avoid pre-stuffed meat items.
4. Seafood can cause some women alarm but, like meat, if it is cooked properly it is safe. Avoid any raw or undercooked fish, such as sushi. Avoid local fish caught during pollution warnings. Canned fish is fine. Large fish like swordfish and shark can contain mercury so it may be best to choose a different kind during pregnancy.
5. Drink 2-3 liters of water a day. Most towns in developed countries have completely safe drinking water but in order to be safe you may want to get your water tested or invest in a water filter. Keeping a bottle of chilled water in the ridge can help to encourage some women to drink more but invest in a glass bottle or a stainless steal bottle to avoid contamination from repeated use of plastic bottles.
6. Go organic: the cost of organic foods can be prohibitive for some people and there is very limited evidence to show eating genetically modified foods when pregnancy can affect your baby but there are also very limited long term studies which indicate there are no long term impacts from eating genetically modified foods while pregnant. If there was every a time to go organic it is during your pregnancy.