Archive for ‘Nutritional Fun Facts’

October 14, 2011

Vitamin C

Everyone knows that Vitamin C is helpful in keeping those nasty colds, infections and flu at bay, but why is it especially important for you while pregnant? Well let’s take a look at what Vitamin C does for your body.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for tissue repair, wound healing, bone growth and repair, and healthy skin. Both you and your baby need this vitamin daily – it’s necessary for the body to make collagen, a structural protein that’s a component of cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin.

So not only is it keeping you healthy, but it’s also helping your baby develop it’s muscles and bones. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, another essential nutrient.

How much do you need? Well, pregnant women need about 85 mg while those breastfeeding need almost 120 mg. But there are easy ways to get it into your diet!

Some foods high in Vitamin C include: citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries and red peppers.

Use the tabs on the side to click through to recipes that include Vitamin C and check back often, new recipes and information is added each week.

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April 7, 2011

Super Foods for Babies

Lots of foods are good for us, but here are 5 foods that are essential to your child’s growth and development!

1. Avocado – a great source of ‘healthy fat’ that is needed in brain development. For babies it’s easy to work in their diet once they have moved from milk to puree’s – mix it with some banana for a great mash.

2. Lentils – Packed with fiber and protein these little guys are easy to work into some rice cereal or mash up into your baby’s fave puree

3. Quinoa –  a protein rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture. It is a complete protein (containing all 8 essential amino acids), has a good amount of fiber and is high in nutrients such as manganese, magnesium and iron. It is a gluten free grain and is an amazing alternative to whole grain rice in many baby food recipes.

4. Blueberries – have the highest antioxidant of any fresh fruit benefitting many of your baby’s body systems such as the brain and central nervous system, the urinary, heart and eyes. Smash a couple with a fork and add them to a variety of other fruit purees for babies.

5. Sweet Potatoes – Rich in nutrients and high in vitamins A and C. Naturally sweet flavor and creamy texture make these vegetables are appealing to babies. Bake then puree and you are good to go!

March 29, 2011

The Five Foods All Pregnant Women Need

This comes from Parents.com – a great little list about healthy foods your body needs especially when pregnant!

1. Orange Juice – Not only is this juice high in vitamin C and folic acid, it’s also a good source of potassium, which has been shown to help lower high blood pressure, a particular danger during pregnancy.

2. Yogurt – A good source of protein, yogurt has more calcium than milk and also contains active cultures that reduce the risk of yeast infections, which are more common while you’re expecting. Also, some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate yogurt.

3. Broccoli – Known for being a good source of calcium, this veggie is also packed with vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6.

4. Lentils – Like beans, lentils are a great source of folate and are rich in iron and protein. They’re also full of fiber, which can help prevent constipation and subsequent hemorrhoids.

5. Figs – Fresh or dried, figs have more fiber than any typical fruit or vegetable, more potassium than bananas, and plenty of calcium and iron.

March 8, 2011

What Should I Eat?

It’s easy to get caught up in the types of vitamins and nutrients that you should be eating on a daily basis, but that’s not always easy or practical to keep track of in a busy life. Especially as you are getting ready for your new arrival. Here is an easier way to keep track of what you should be eating every day to make sure you are getting the proper nutrition without having to worry about which foods have Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Vitamin B or the rest.

Protein: 3 servings a day. Each of these count as a serving: 3 8oz glasses of milk, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 4 eggs, 4oz canned salmon, 40z before cooking poultry, lean beef or pork

Calcium: 4 daily servings. A serving could be: 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, 4oz of canned salmon with bones, 3 TBSP sesame seeds, 1 cup cooked greens

Vitamin C: 3 daily servings. A serving could be: 3/4 cup tomato juice, 1/2 medium green pepper, 1/3 cup strawberries, 1 cup edamame, 1/2 cup diced pineapple

Green Leafy / Yellow Vegetables and Fruit: 3-4 servings per day. A serving example: 1/2 a mango, 3/4 cup grapefruit juice, 1/2 a carrot, 1/2 small sweet potato

Other Vegetables and Fruit: 1-2 servings per day. Example of a serving: 1 medium apple or pear, 1/2 cup pitted cherries, 2 small plums

Whole Grains: 6 or more servings a day. Examples: 1 slice of bread,  1/2 cup of granola, 1/2 cup rice, couscous, barley or quinoa, 2 cups popcorn

Iron Rich Foods: Eat some daily. Examples: Beef, poultry, baked potato with its skin left on, spinach, pumpkin seeds

Fats: 4 servings a day. Examples of healthy fats: 1 TBSP butter, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 TBSP almond butter, peanut butter or cream cheese

Salt: Eat in moderation.

Fluid: Eight 8oz glasses of fluid a day

It may sound like a lot – but many of these categories over lap and it is easier to know if you have had a serving of Green Leafy Vegetables than to know if you have had any Vitamin B12 in your diet today.

** This information is summarized from the What to Expect When You Are Expecting series of books

October 20, 2010

Before You’re Pregnant

You may think that just because you aren’t pregnant yet there isn’t anything you can be doing to get ready for baby – wrong! Here is a quick list of things you can do before you even get pregnant to help the process along and make it a better experience for you when you do finally get that bun in the oven!

  • Get a preconception check up – a physical exam will pick up any medical problems that need to be addressed before or monitored during pregnancy
  • Start looking for a prenatal practitioner – it’s easier now than when you are on a deadline to find someone
  • Visit the Dentist – believe it or not pregnancy hormones can aggravate gum and tooth problems, so now is the time to have any potential problems dealt with
  • Take a look at your family history of both you and your partner
  • Take a look at your pregnancy history
  • Ask your doctor if genetic screening is recommended
  • Get a blood test – you can get a head start on some of the testing they run once you are pregnant with a simple blood test to test for things that may need to be monitored later such as anemia
  • Get treated for any condition that such a test turns up now – it is easier to take care of before you conceive

  • Update your immunizations
  • Get chronic illnesses such as diabetes or a heart condition under control and be sure you have your doctor’s ok to become pregnant
  • It is recommended that anyone who has been using hormonal birth control stop using it a few months prior to conceiving – use condoms in the mean time. This allows your system to go through at least two normal cycles. If you have a IUD have it removed before trying. If you are on Depo-Provera shots you may have to wait up to 10 months to become fertile again, plan accordingly
  • Start eating well! It is never too early for a nutrient rich diet
  • Take a prenatal vitamin
  • Get your weight in check – if you are over or under weight it can be harder to conceive
  • Get into an exercise routine that will keep you healthy but wont over do it – ask your doctor for advice on how much is the right amount
  • Check to see what medications you currently have or are taking that are unsafe during pregnancy
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol – no need to stop with caffeine when you are pregnant, just cut back to 200mg a day. Alcohol doesn’t need to be cut out entirely until you become pregnant
  • Quit smoking – it not only affects the health of your unborn baby but can hinder conception
  • Figure out any work issues – if you are planning to find a new job it might be best to do so before you get pregnant to give you a chance to get settled and used to a new routine before baby is on board
  • Become familiar with your monthly cycle
  • Relax!

*This list is based on the one provided in Chapter 1 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting.

October 6, 2010

Cheese Please!

Cheese can be an important source of protein and calcium, but when you are pregnant there are some types of cheese that Health Canada says you should avoid. It need not be scary! And it isn’t difficult, just remember these two rules:

1. Stay away from soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert.
2. Do not eat cheese made from unpasteurized milk – most often blue cheese, feta and goats cheese though you can find versions of these cheeses made from pasteurized milk.

Don’t despair if you love these cheeses! As long as they are cooked and piping hot all the way through, they will be safe to eat.

It might be easy to avoid these types of cheeses but why do you need to? Well – when you are pregnant your chances of getting sick from bacteria such as Listeria, are higher. In fact, pregnant women are more than 20 times more likely to get a Listeria infection. While a Listeria infection can cause flu-like symptoms for healthy adults, pregnant women can be hit harder because during pregnancy your immune system isn’t functioning as it normally would, and the infection can harm your baby.  

So take precautions and ensure the cheese you are eating has either been pasteurized, or cooked thoroughly – both of which kill bacteria.

September 13, 2010

Healthy Pregnancy Tips

Here is just a quick list of tips to ensure you have the healthiest pregnancy possible!

  1. Take your vitamins – pre natal and anything your doctor recommends
  2. Eat healthily – you can really impact the way you feel just by watching what you put into your body
  3. Gain weight sensibly – by eating right. Health Canada (as of July 2010) recommends only 2-3 extra servings from the Food Guide to ensure weight gain. That could mean as little as an apple with 2 TBSP of peanut butter
  4. Break the caffeine addiction – the less caffeine in your diet the better
  5. Up your water in take – hydration helps with body function and digestion
  6. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date – now is not the time to get sick
  7. Exercise moderately – staying active will ensure that you and your baby to be are in the best shape possible
  8. Keep up with self breast exams – this is a time when your hormones are changing all the time, and that can lead to growths that your doctor should be aware of
  9. Be an active participant in your care – research and find out about what’s happening to you and how your body is changing. If something doesn’t feel right talk to your doctor as often as you feel you need to. If you feel you need a second opinion in addition to your doctor – that is your right and the best way to ensure you have proper care. You know your body the best – mother’s intuition kicks in early

Do you have any tips for a healthy pregnancy?? Share them in the comments section below.

September 3, 2010

Zinc

Did you know that your need for Zinc increases 1/4 when you are pregnant? But just what is Zinc and how do you get more of it into your diet?? It’s really quite easy.

Zinc is a mineral found in numerous vegetable and animal sources such as oysters (make sure they are cooked if you are expecting), shellfish, beans, cereals, whole grains, fish, dairy products, nuts and poultry. Zinc is better absorbed via animal sources than vegetable ones, but there are many ways to ensure you are getting your daily dose without eating meat.

Just what does Zinc do for you? All kinds of things! For Mom is it aids in digestion, metabolism, respiration and wound healing. Making this an essential nutrient for pregnant women – especially those hoping to deliver via C-section. For baby, it plays a role in the formation and development of organs, skeleton and internal systems such as nerves and circulation. For those couples looking to get pregnant, Zinc is considered an essential part of successful reproduction by helping to keep sperm and eggs healthy.

So much going on for one little nutrient!

August 24, 2010

Folic Acid

Folic Acid, or Folate is a vitamin most commonly recommended for not only those who are pregnant, but those who are looking to become pregnant. The earlier you get more of this vitamin the lower the chances that your child will develop a neural tube defect, most commonly Spina Bifida, pre-mature babies and brain defects. Having a reserve of this vitamin already built up in your system before you even become pregnant is a bonus.

In addition to taking a Folic Acid supplement you can find this vitamin in a variety of easy to find and affordable foods such as:

– leafy green vegetables
– whole grains
– egg yolks
– nuts
– spinach
– cabbage
– dried beans
– potatoes
– lentils
– beetroot

As of July 2010, Health Canada advises that women who are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant should take a Folic Acid supplement and ensure they are eating a folic acid rich diet.