Are you pregnant, thinking about having a kid, or even just curious about staying healthy during pregnancy? Well, we took a look at the major nutrition-related concerns here and what you can do to have a healthy and complication-free pregnancy!
One could argue that folic acid is the most important nutrient to pay attention to before or during pregnancy, so let’s start with it! Folic acid deficiency in the mother is associated with neural tube defects (NTD) in babies. This is where the neural tube in the spine doesn’t properly close up while forming and growing in the uterus and can cause numerous problems. To prevent this, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, expecting, or even a woman of childbearing age, make sure your diet has lots of foods that are rich in folic acid. This includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, and many fortified cereals. You want to aim for at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day whether or not you’re expecting since many pregnancies are unplanned (over half in the US!). If you’re already expecting, boosting your intake to 600 micrograms (which can be done by taking a prenatal supplement daily plus a healthy diet) starting as early in the pregnancy as possible is best to prevent NTD. 1
Something great about the summer is the number of things you can do outside when it’s nice out. Whether you’re at the beach, hiking in a park, or any other fun activity your town might have, proper hydration is still key. The average American drinks around 4 cups of water a day. While recommendations have changed over time and the once-standard 8 cups a day may longer apply, staying hydrated is vital to your overall health and needs, especially in the hot sunny summer months. Fun fact – adults are composed of around 60% water, while children can be up to 78% water. When you’re dehydrated your whole body is affected, leading to a whole range of uncomfortable and possibly dangerous symptoms.
Eggs have been on a roller coaster of popularity over the past few decades. We love ’em, then we drop ‘e like it’s hot, and now we can’t get enough of them (again). Thanks to the relaxed guidance in the new Dietary Guidelines on cholesterol and recent studies, eggs are back in the game! Here are the five reasons we have always loved eggs.
- Super nutritious. Eggs are a great of protein. They are one of the few sources of complete protein, basically they have all the essential amino acids your body needs in all the right amounts. Plus one egg boasts 6 grams of protein for about 70 calories, a good low cal option! A large egg also provides about 10% of your daily needs for Vitamin D.
- Don’t fear the yolks! Pretty much all egg yolks have omega-3 fats (the kind of fat you want to eat). Some eggs will have a higher omega-3 content depending on the chicken’s diet so eggs can be a great way to boost the omega-3’s in your diet too. Although there’s saturated fat in the yolk as long as you aren’t eating a dozen in a day you’re probably fine.
- Can you say “choline?” You might not even know what the nutrient is, but it’s super important and grouped with the B vitamins. Choline plays a role in keeping our nervous system running at top speed and is important for keeping your cells healthy.
- Cheap eats. Eggs are an inexpensive protein choice that provide quality nutrition without breaking the bank. They go great on everything from pizzas to avocado toast to give you a healthy boost of protein.
- Easy on the eyes. Eggs are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin (try saying that 10 times fast!). Both of these nutrients are important for eye health and reduce your risk of macular degeneration.
Eggs go with just about everything from hardboiled as a snack to fried egg on pizza or pasta. This quality protein is a good choice to keep stocked in the fridge. Just be sure you play it safe and avoid raw eggs. Nothing worse than food poisoning!
First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week that for the first time in several years the food label is getting a facelift, woohoo! The food label, also known as the Nutrition Facts Panel, is there to help you make more informed choices when choosing what food to buy and eat. Food manufacturers have the next two years to change up the labels on the food they make to follow the new guidelines. Here are the top three things to get excited about!
Oh hey there Added Sugars!
Added sugars are a hot topic right now but it’s pretty tough to tell how much added sugar is in your food. Until now. The new labels (you’ll be seeing them by 2018) will have the grams of added sugar called out. Soon you’ll get to see how much sugar (and salt and fat) is in your food. In case you aren’t sure how many grams of sugar is ok to eat, the label also includes a percent daily value. Just remember, less is more with added sugars!
Today the Senate Agriculture Committee announced that it was putting forth the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (aka SAFE Act). This bill would block states from individually tackling the issue of requiring food products to be labeled for GMO-containing ingredients (like Vermont plans to do this summer). So, the GMO debate is back front and center.
GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, have been a hotly debated topic for years among consumers, nutrition experts, and the food industry. There is a lot of information out there about GMOs and a lot of passionate people involved in the debate. So much information and passion often leads to confusion (at least it does for me).
Gyms are uncomfortably packed, there are conversations about healthy eating and weight loss goals, and new blazing fast weight loss miracle diets…it’s that time of the year again! Know anyone that went on a calorie restricting diet, lost a good amount of weight, only to put it back on again? Known as yo-yo dieting, it can actually result in people putting on more weight than when they started!
The painful thing to know about calorie restricting diet is that they…kind of work…and kind of don’t. In the short term, they definitely work. On a long term basis, not so much. The body adjusts to a lower total daily calorie needs and it’s tough sticking to these sort of diets. Also, these diets often exclude or demonize a specific nutrients or food groups (carbohydrates, fats, grains, legumes, etc.). This can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food… But why do that to yourself?! Let’s be honest, food tastes great! There are just some things that just happen to be bad for our bodies in high quantities. No whole food is inherently bad, remember, everything in moderation.