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Nutrition during pregnancy

As soon as you start thinking about having a baby, you should start thinking about what you eat. Begin loading up on the foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, learn the five food groups and balance your meals. And once you do become pregnant, make good nutrition a priority. Talk to your doctor about the foods that will provide the nutrients important to your baby's growth, as well as to your own well-being.

Calcium is one of the most important minerals you will need during pregnancy.

While nutritional needs and your own tolerance for eating will change during the different trimesters of your pregnancy, there are some general guidelines that will be important to follow throughout the nine months. For starters, eat balanced meals, do not skip meals, eliminate caffeine and drink lots of water, six to eight glasses a day.

The current recommended amount of calcium intake during pregnancy is 1,200 mg, an increase of 400 mg a day over your usual needs. An increase in dairy products such as skim milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding and ice milk, is an easy way to consume lots of calcium. There are also many good non-dairy sources of calcium, including salmon, kale, broccoli, beans and calcium-fortified orange juice.

Folic acid is essential for a healthy baby and helps in the development of the fetal brain and spine. It is especially important during early pregnancy when many women don't even know that they are expecting.

Women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day throughout their pregnancy and may need to take a multi-vitamin or prenatal vitamin to meet this requirement. Some excellent sources of folic acid include dried beans, tofu, peanuts and peanut butter, as well as fortified cereals. Many breads are now also fortified with folic acid. Folic acid can also be found in many dark green vegetables, corn, cantaloupe, squash and beets.

Vitamin B12, found in animal products, is essential for proper nerve and brain functioning for both mother and baby. This is of special concern for women who are vegetarians. Vitamin B12 can be found in fortified soy milk and/or soy meat replacements, as well as vitamin supplements.

Protein intake should be increased by 10 grams a day and can easily be found in animal products including meats, milk and eggs. Some plant foods, such as legumes, seeds and cereal grains, can also provide high quality protein. It is more beneficial if you combine one food from two of these categories in the form of such dishes as hummus, split pea soup, bean tacos or even a peanut butter sandwich.

 

 

We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!

 

Nutrition pyramid

Recently, the nutritional food guide pyramid was revised. The revision, completed by the United States Department of Agriculture included new dietary guidelines to achieve a healthy, balanced diet

The pyramid is geared especially towards proper nutrition for children.  It focuses on larger amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  In addition, the pyramid stresses the importance of exercise on a regular basis to improve childrens’ health.

On the pyramid there are six color coded categories for each food group:

•     Orange: Grains
•     Green: Vegetables
•     Red: Fruits
•     Blue: Dairy and calcium-rich foods
•     Purple: Proteins (meats, beans, and fish)
•     Yellow: Fats and oils

Here is a bit of information from each food group:

Grains: The grains group, which includes foods like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta.

Vegetables: Vegetables provide many of the vitamins and minerals needed for good health, and they provide fiber to aid digestion.

Fruits: Fruits are especially good sources of important vitamins like A and C. This food group also adds minerals such as potassium and fiber, which help digestion.  It is best to eat fruits raw.

Dairy: The dairy group includes milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and is an excellent source of vitamins A and D.  Diary products help strengthen bones and teeth as well as strengthening muscle and nerve functions.

Proteins: Proteins include meats, beans, and fish.  These all contain vitamin B and iron to help bones grow strong and support muscles.

Fats, oils, and sweets:  This group is essential to maintain body function and provide nutrition, but should be used sparingly.

It is important to keep in mind that the serving sizes are a guideline and can differ day to day.  In addition, always keep in mind that moderation is key to a healthy diet and the nutritional values of food can vary depending on how the food is prepared. 
 

Nutritional foods

One of the biggest reasons that diets and attempts at healthy eating fail is boredom. Many folks just do not know how to keep a healthy diet interesting day after day, and it can be quite a challenge.

 

These foods are high in complex carbohydrates, which are the body's fuel.  Grains also provide other important nutrients such as vitamin B-complex (folate), which helps your body use the protein needed to build muscle.

Given the huge variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and other healthy foods at the local grocery store, however, it is definitely possible to create exciting, nutritious meals that will keep that boredom at bay.

However, it is important to check the nutritional qualities of the fruits and vegetables you buy, and not simply assume that all fruits and vegetables are equally healthy.

As far as what to eat, buying anything at the grocery from the following list is a straight path to better health. These foods include:

•     Fruits like bananas, berries and apples
•     Whole grains including bread and pasta
•     Low-fat dairy including milk and yogurt
•     Chicken, turkey and fish
•     Vegetables like spinach, squash and tomatoes
•     Natural peanut butter
•     Beans and legumes
•     Almonds and other nuts

Foods to avoid

Refined foods are big industry, and draw a gigantic profit. When industries are accustomed to bringing in big profits, they do what any industry would do: protect those profits at all costs. In addition, these profits bring power, and information can be put forth, covered over, or otherwise manipulated to protect that power.

Most people know which foods they should stay away from. The obvious ones include desserts, high-fat meals, candy, fast food and fried food. In fact, most people will feel a big difference simply by staying away from these kinds of foods. The not-so-obvious ones include:

•     Pasta
•     Fat-free foods
•     Most frozen meals
•     Processed meats like fake cold cuts
•     Soda and juices
•     Creamy meals

Your biggest weapon in the battle to eat right is common sense. Use it!

Nutritional vitamin supplements

Nutritional vitamin supplements are big business. Many say they’re unnecessary, while others contend that they’re more necessary than ever. They’ve been a source of controversy and debate for many years. Why?

They’ve been around a good long time in one form or another. Cod liver oil was widely
given to children daily only 100 years ago. Those same children would never have dreamed that one day people would pay lots of money to not only take fish oil, but take it more than once a day. You’ve probably seen the daily vitamins sold in most stores that even many doctors are now grudgingly stating are fine to take regularly.

The heart of the controversy is both the types and potencies of many supplements. Often a single dose contains a nutrient or nutrients in such high concentration as to be completely impossible to consume in a proportionate amount of foods that contain that nutrient or nutrients. Many in the medical establishment insist that this is at best a foolish and at worst a potentially dangerous practice. They state that some nutrients, being water soluble, are simply passed through the system and others that are fat soluble can be absorbed into fat reserves in hazardous levels if ingested without caution.

 

Those who face severe or life threatening issues would be best advised to consult a real live nutritionist knowledgeable in that particular area. Having a real person that you visit and talk face-to-face with about a serious problem is not only comforting and reassuring, it’s the safe and sensible way to address it.

Those who support the use of supplements counter that passing part of a dose of a water soluble nutrient is worthwhile because it ensures saturation of that nutrient at a cellular level, maxing out the body’s available supply. The supplement industry itself has added precautionary statements to their labeling to warn of the potential hazard of ingesting a high level of fat soluble nutrients.

Even so, for vitamins and minerals, there is some monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration. For others that are not recognized as essential nutrients, the truth becomes less clear. Benefits may only be implied at best, with statements denying solid evidence of any now a requirement of law. How much garlic do you need each day? How much feverfew? There still remains no way to know other than the assertions of alternative health care proponents.

If you truly desire to take nutritional supplements, start with small doses under the advice and supervision of qualified professionals such as a registered dietician. After all, they’re not called supplements for nothing.

Online nutritionist

If you’re looking for an online nutritionist, you won’t have far to look. They’re in plentiful supply not only on most food and diet sites, but also those concerning kids, sports and general health.

No matter what your need, you’ll find a nutritionist available to assist you with any nutrition related question you may have. Many will even work with you on a long-term basis – no appointments to keep or weather or traffic to battle.

Although there are plenty to be found, it’s still prudent to request and review the credentials and qualifications of any nutritionist you consider. A bachelor’s degree in the field would be a good indicator, as well as at least a few years in practice following internships.

There are many online courses claiming to provide certification in the field in a few months’ time. Be certain that the nutritionist you choose to consult has spent somewhat more time in the profession and doesn’t simply claim to know his stuff because he’s eaten food all his life!

An online nutritionist can only discuss your issue in general terms and should freely admit that a real-world nutritionist is actually the way to go for your particular case.

If they don’t or insist that they can help you regardless (most likely for a fee), discontinue contact and find a nutritionist in your area who can help. Some things really can’t be done effectively online!


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