This week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of local moms (here in San Antonio, TX) who are interested in natural health for their little ones on the way, to help their bodies build happy, healthy, beautiful babies. The focus of the class was nutrition — “traditional foods” that women have always sought out during pregnancy and preconception to ensure strong, resilient children and normal healthy births. You don’t have to be pregnant to eat these foods, in fact they all happen to be healing for your thyroid and immune system! See my answers to the question below (keep in mind this is a primer).
Q: from a holistic perspective, which foods do i need to emphasize during pregnancy?
- eat only whole foods: Unprocessed, unrefined, foods in their whole form that come from the earth. Organic foods are always best.
- drink filtered water: Fluoride in water slows growth and mental functioning, causes thyroid disorders, impairs anti-oxidant defense systems, can damage the hippocampus, and accumulates in pineal gland. Chlorine in water damages your gut flora and causes infections and Leaky Gut (a cause for autoimmunity and thyroid disease).
- eat folate: Mainstream medicine advocates eating lots of folic acid — the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate to prevent neural tube defects. Green vegetables are high in folate and are a common favorite, but fermented/probiotic foods often have higher levels of folate — with added benefits. Fermented foods are superior because they help heal your Leaky Gut (a cause for autoimmunity/thyroid disease), build up your healthy flora so your baby (if born vaginally and breastfed) will be exposed to this healthy bacteria and will avoid infections, asthma, allergies, digestive problems, and colic — and chronic illness later on.
- fermented foods include: (real) yogurt, kefir, water kefir, kombucha, raw pickles, raw sauerkraut, raw kimchi
- find these in the refrigerated section of health food stores
- make your own fermented vegetables very simply: glass jar, inverted shot glass, salt water, any spices you like, any veggie you like, allow to ferment on counter for 1-4 weeks until bubbly and soured
- your flora exposes your child to it’s first dose of bacteria, via vaginal delivery, breastfeeding, and daily touching/kissing
- exposure to mom’s healthy bacteria reduces inflammatory illnesses: skin problems like eczema/rashes/cradle cap, breathing issues like asthma and allergies, reduces infection rate, and reduces possibility of future illnesses
- serve fermented foods alongside meals, chop pickles or sauerkraut and add to salad (veggie salad, tuna, egg, or chicken salad, guacamole dip, salsa), have for snacks, use as an acid in a homemade vinaigrette
- eat lots of fats (also sources of protein): Fats are essential for brain development, immune, hormonal and neurological function.
- fats to emphasize: cholesterol and saturated fat from healthy sources, and omega 3′s
- low blood cholesterol for mom and low dietary cholesterol intake are associated with impaired fetal development and preterm birth
- sources of cholesterol and saturated fat to emphasize: organic, pastured, wild-caught, and grass-fed proteins and their oils, coconut oil, raw dairy (if you can tolerate)
- omega 3′s: wild-caught fish and seafood, cod liver oil
- monounsaturated fats: avocado and olive oil
- avoid canola and soy oil (damaging to the immune system, often rancid, affect hormonal balance)