Category Archives: Pregnancy

Eggs 101: What are the best types of Eggs to buy?

Eggs from pasture raised chickens wins for the best choice.  Yes, chickens were created to eat bugs and greens off the land which is partly why roaming free on a pasture makes their eggs higher in key nutrients.  Here are two nutrients highlighted: Omega-3 fatty acids are formed in the chloroplast of green leafs so chickens feeding off of the plants in the fields increase the content of that under consumed fatty acid and pass it onto their eggs.  Pastured chicken eggs also have ” 3-6  times more Vitamin D then hens raised in confinement.”Well that’s because they walk around in the sunshine all day.

One study1 found that when compared to commercial eggs, pastured eggs had:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fats
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more Omga-3 fatty acids
  • 7 times more beta carotene

Here is more on Omega-3 fatty acids:  “Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.”1

I also found this another article that breaks down all the definitions in relation to types of eggs you can buy: pastured raised, cage free, free range, organic, and conventional (click here for article).

One must be aware of “all vegetarian diet”.  That does not mean hens were allowed free range on a pasture.

1.  Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products:  http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

Milk Allergies: Need More Options?

A friend of mine (thank you Ann!) forwarded me this link, and so I thought I would share it.  The author explains the possible dangers of synthetic vitamins namely Vitamin A and Vitamin D2 found in milk alternatives. Find article here: Coconut and Almond Milk in Cartons Not a Healthy Buy by Sarah in TheHealthyHomeEconomist.  I also like that the author gives three different homemade alternatives to the alternatives: check out how to make your own rice, coconut, and almond milk here.  Remember the things you eat the most of try to make the healthiest: that’s the best start to a healthier diet.

Its best to have your Vitamin A in beta carotene form and your Vitamin D in the D3 form.  This is especially important for pregnant women–check your prenatals.

Beautiful Bone Broth: An Ancient Food Tradition in All Cultures

20131107_6578I have been perfecting my bone broth and its a beautiful thing.  Can you see the gelatin consistency in the pictures?  That is what you want it to look like.  Beautiful!!  All ancient cultures have some form of a bone broth whether made out of fish, beef, or chicken.

Although low in calcium, bone broth has other trace nutrients, namely the amino acids proline and glycine, that are essential to building strong bones.  These amino acids are some of the key components to building collagen which is the structural component to bones, tendons, joints, skin, corneas, cartilage, the gut, and blood vessels. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up about 25%-35% of whole body content.

Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel has a well researched article called: Research Reveals Low Calcium Content in Bone Broth. A key point she brings up is that collagen is more important to bone strength and fracture resistance than calcium alone as it forms the cross links (or scaffolding/structural component) for your bones. Along with collagen supporting nutrients, it contains magnesium, phosphorus and silica–just to name a few.  Bone broth is a wealth of easily absorbable and digestible minerals.  So if your diet is low in calcium from milk you can benefit from bone broth for the re-mineralization and strengthening of your bones and joints.   Yes, its a super food that should be incorporated into every kitchen in America.

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Using a Mason jar to store broth in the refrigerator

Lets dig a little deeper into how gone broth is beneficial to joints and skin. Bone broth contains gelatin (mostly composed of the amino acids proline and glycine), glucosamine, and chondroitin which are good for your joints and skin. For example, glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid in our joints and skin.  Hyaluronic acid helps lubricate your joints and improves skin moisture and smoothness (less wrinkles).  Get this-Cellulite is not just too much fat collecting but a break down of the structural component of skin called collagen which keeps fat in its place.

Thought: Could adequate collagen in your diet help prevent or lessen stretch marks?  Maybe.

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Freezing as frozen cubes from an ice tray is a great way for adding to baby food or your own recipes

Another thought:  I believe bone broth is especially good throughout a person’s lifetime to keep their skin and joints in top condition.  Yes, we are a product of our genetics and what our ancestors ate, but we also can reverse predisposed genetic trends, keep the good genes working, and pass along healthy genes to our children.  Find a great explanation of the benefits and nutrients found in bone broth and a recipe: click here.

Want to increase the gelatin content? Add chicken feet to your sock.  To increase the your gelatin content in your diet 100% pure gelatin can be added to just about everything.  For supplementation, taking about 2 tablespoons per day for an adult is a good rule of thumb.  Two good sources are:  Bernard Jensen Gelatin or Great Lakes Gelatin.

Some good informational reads:

Staying fit as a parent, help your child maintain a healthy weight

What!!  Yes, its true.  You have a big responsibly to stay fit as a parent.  Why?  Because parental obesity before pregnancy and up through your child’s adolescence years is a very strong prediction factor to your child being overweight.  Its as simple as that-stay fit.  But harder to make the changes so start now!!  Don’t be discouraged either ~ Can your genes be changed after you are born?–click here.

Source: Jääskeläinen A, et al,  Intergenerational transmission of overweight among Finnish adolescents and their parents: a 16-year follow-up study., Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 Oct;35(10):1289-94.

Maternal weight gain and risk for obesity in offspring

Yes, you can influence your child’s weight during pregnancy.  A study done in Finland showed that a maternal weight gain of more than 7 kg (or 15.4 pounds) in the first 20 weeks of gestation predicts overweight/obesity (using BMI) and abdominal obesity in adolescence.  However, an even stronger predictor of adolescent overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity was maternal obesity before pregnancy.

If you fall in this category, and you want your children to be as healthy as possible, not all hope is lost.  Please see the post on how lifestyle behaviors can change those children that have predetermined obesity risks.

Source: Laitinen J, et al, Maternal weight gain during the first half of pregnancy and offspring obesity at 16 years: a prospective cohort study, 2012 May;119(6):716-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03319.x.

Give Magnesium a Chance!

Why is Magnesium important? 

One of the most important day to day roles magnesium plays is the transport of calcium and potassium across cell membranes which influences:  normal heart rhythm, muscle contraction, and nerve impulse conduction.  Pretty important to outdoor lovers for sure!  Its also plays a role in: blood sugar levels, blood pressure regulation, building of proteins, and the functioning of over 300 enzymes.

What about your bones?  Magnesium plays a major role in bone formation and influences Vitamin D to do its job in maintaining healthy bones.

Magnesium has a role in exercise as well.  Its a big player in muscle function, specifically helping your muscles with oxygen uptake, energy production, and electrolyte balance during exercise. Not enough dietary magnesium could possibly hinder exercise performance and increase oxidative stress on the body.  Research says that a magnesium intake less than 260 mg/day for male and 220 mg/day for female athletes may result in a magnesium-deficient status.

Additionally, adequate magnesium intake from natural whole foods decreases the risk of osteoporosis, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and preterm labor to name a few.

Also, magnesium doesn’t get talked about much when you are pregnant unless you have preterm labor.  I have found this mineral is extremely important for the pregnant woman–I mean you are building another human being!!.    It helps with building your baby’s structural support as in bones and teeth.  And it has a key involvement in  making proteins which are the building blocks of cells.  Cells are rapidly dividing and growing during pregnancy into the baby’s heart, lungs, eyes, legs, muscles….etc.  Also, magnesium from may reduce: leg cramps, preterm labor, risk of pre-eclampsia, and poor early fetal growth.

How much magnesium you need?

Children
1 to 3: 80 mg

Females
4-8: 130 mg
9-13: 240 mg
14 to 18: 360 mg
19 to 30: 310 mg
31 to 50: 320 mg
51+: 320 mg

Males
4-8: 130 mg
9-13: 240 mg
14 to 18: 410 mg
19 to 30: 400 mg
31 to 50: 420 mg
51+: 420 mg

Pregnant
14 to 18: 400 mg
19 to 30: 350 mg
31 to 50: 360 mg

Breastfeeding
14 to 18: 360 mg
19 to 30: 310 mg
31 to 50: 320 mg

Food sources of magnesium

Magnesium is plentiful in nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish*, vegetables, and some legumes.

List of Selected Foods

FoodPortion SizeAmount (mg)
Pumpkin/squash seed kernels1 ounce156
Chard, Swiss, chopped1 cup150
Quinoa, cooked1 cup118
Oatmeal, regular, cooked1 cup112
Brazil Nuts, dried1 ounce (only eat 1-2 pieces/day107
Oat bran muffin1 small104
Beans, French, cooked1 cup99
Chocolate, dark1 square95
Halibut, cooked3 ounces91
Spinach, cooked from fresh, frozen, or canned1/2 cup78
Almonds1 ounce76
Lentils, cooked1 cup71
Black beans, cooked1/2 cup60
Flatfish (flounder and sole), cooked3 ounces49
Tofu, firm, nigari1/2 cup47
Yogurt, plain, nonfat8 ounces43
Rice, brown, cooked1/2 cup43
Pinto beans, cooked1/2 cup 43
Haddock, cooked3 ounces42
Banana1 medium31
Avacado1 medium29
Kale, chopped, raw1 cup23

View a list of selected foods high in magnesium

*Do not eat king makerel, swordfish, tilefish, or shark while pregnant

Preterm Labor: Check out this new fact sheet from the FDA on Magnesium Sulfate which is commonly used to stop preterm labor contractions

References:

1.  NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements
2.  Report of the DGAC on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
3.  Takay and Kaneko, “Small for gestational age in cord blood platelets: intrauterine magnesium deficiency may induce metabolic syndrome later in life”, Journal of Pregnancy, 5 pp. vol. 2011
4.  Nielson and Lukaski, “Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise.”, Magnes Res 2006 Sep;19(3):180-9.

Birth Ball Tips

Birth Ball Tips

When they sit on the ball their knees should be at a right angel to their hips or I actually prefer their hips to be slightly higher. When the knees are higher the baby moves out of OFP (Optimal Fetal Position).

Choosing the right size birth ball:

  • If you’re 5’ 8″ or shorter, use a 55 cm ball
  • If you’re 5’ 9″or taller, over 200 pounds use a 65 cm ball.
  • If you are athletic and are used to using a ball you can use a 75 cm
  • When you’re seated on the ball, your knees should be level with your hips.
  • The firmer the ball the harder it will be to balance on it. During pregnancy, you might want to consider using a larger, softer ball.

Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Heart

Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Heart

New research found that pregnant mothers who engage in 30 minutes of exercise three times a week makes for a baby with a stronger heart.

This means babies show a lower fetal heart rate and higher the heart rate variability in utero.

Also, even after delivery, one month old babies from mothers that exercised during pregnancy showed lower heart rates. (April 2011, Linda May, an exercise physiologist and anatomist at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences)