You may or may not be pregnant if you are reading this, but if you are, we wish you many congratulations!
You are your baby’s world and only YOU have the power to shape and influence it. The quality of your diet both BEFORE conception and during pregnancy can improve your baby’s health and development, which is why we believe optimum nutrition for our mamas is so important!
Carbohydrates are a necessary and beneficial component of any healthy pregnancy – they provide the primary source of energy we need to fuel bodily functions. They are not your enemy – and they may feel like your best friend – especially during your first trimester!
The key about carbohydrates is to focus on the quality of your choices as they have different effects on the body:
Refined carbohydrates – such as pastries, cakes, white bread, pasta, chocolate, sweets and bakery products – have been heavily processed and have had most of their fibre removed. They don’t contain many nutrients and are often full of other sugars and fats, which can consequently spike your blood sugar levels.
Unrefined carbohydrates – such as whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes provide plentiful nutrients, fibre and slowly release energy.
Protein needs increase by almost 50% during pregnancy and your body needs it to manufacture all of your baby’s hair, nails, muscles, enzymes and hormones, so it is super important! All proteins are made up of amino acids, and although 11 can be made in the body, 9 of them must come from the food we eat.
Animal protein sources include chicken, fish, eggs, and some of our favourite plant based sources include beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu and quinoa.
Fats have been demonised over the years but given 60% of brains are made from fat – our needs for fat definitely increase in pregnancy!
Saturated Fats support brain development and strengthen the gut lining. Good sources are avocados and coconut oil.
Monounsaturated fats – are not essential, but highly beneficial – good sources are nuts and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats are ESSENTIAL as they include omega 3 and omega 6, which cannot be made in the body. DHA makes up 30% of the structural fat in the brain and is a key component of the heart, infant brain and eye tissue. Increasing DHA (especially in the third trimester) is essential. The best sources are oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring or Trout (referred to with the acronym SMASHT) or if you are conscious of reducing your fish intake, algae sources from brands such as Opti 3 or Minami can be great alternatives.
Click here for part 2 of this blog post!
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