What to Eat When You’re Trying to Get Pregnant
My mission is to keep people strong, safe and sexy at every stage of their life, even before they’re born! For a woman who is planning on getting pregnant, the three months leading up to conception can be the most important months when it comes to the long-term health of her baby.
A good quality prenatal vitamin is a must to supplement a healthy diet, but it is still just a supplement. If you're like me, you believe that fresh whole food is the best way to ensure you get the nutrition your body needs and it's the most bio-available form of nutrients you can get. The following are foods to incorporate into your diet as soon as you start planning for pregnancy.
The key to your health is keeping a strong immune system through a healthy gut. Therefore, the key to developing a baby with a strong immune system is to be sure your gut is healthy. Eat at least one of the following foods daily to provide your inner tummy with gut-friendly probiotics. They can also help keep away nasty things like yeast infections that can get in the way of getting pregnant.
Stock up on sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso and plain Greek yogurt (no sugar or artificial sugar added, and make sure to check the label for live bacterial cultures).
Foods with Folate
Folate, also called Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin that gets most of its street cred in prevention of pregnancy defects. These defects involve the neural tube, which later forms your baby’s brain and the bottom part unfolds to become the baby’s spinal column.
Stock up on lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans and kidney beans. Asparagus, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, collard greens and beets are also great. Not only are they good sources of folate, they are also chock full of antioxidants.
For a moment, think of your unborn baby as a parasite that feeds off of its host (i.e. you). I know it's not cute, but the analogy is accurate. Any nutrient that the baby is lacking while in utero, it will steal from its mother, including her stores of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, accumulate in the baby's brain a few months before birth and soon after as well. It's been shown that pre-term babies don't have as much time in the womb to soak up that important DHA and as a result, some pre-term children can develop ADHD or other disorders like aggression, anxiety or depression as a result. (This is not a life sentence and in many cases can be treated with DHA supplementation).
It's never too early to start eating your stores of omega-3s through wild salmon, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans and sardines.
Foods to Banish
While you're busy getting your body ready for baby, start cleaning out the cupboards and toss any foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, large amounts of any other refined sugars and trans fat foods too. In other words, get rid of the junk! These foods can mess with your insulin levels and disrupt hormonal harmony in your body, which is about to be the home of a tiny living soul. Limit your mercury intake as well and cut drastically back on the tuna, tilefish and shark.
Nourish your body, give your body moderate amounts of exercise, remove unnecessary stress from your life and enjoy the process of getting pregnant!
Jennifer Cassetta is a third degree black belt, clinical nutritionist and personal trainer. She loves kale, chocolate and wine. She loves to punch, kick, lift weights, meditate, and dress up in stilettos. She empowers people to be strong, safe and sexy through nutrition, fitness and self-defense, and you can read more at www.jennifercassetta.com.