Paleo and Pregnancy - Part Two

February 25, 2016

Paleo and Pregnancy - Part Two

Calling all moms-to-be! 
Experiencing that healthy pregnancy glow can be challenged by morning sickness, hormonal shifts and low energy. Luckily, a few nutrition and lifestyle habits can help ease the transition.
While the recommended fuel increase during pregnancy is only about 300 daily calories (in the second and third trimesters), some nutrients are in higher demand. If you're wondering whether the Paleo diet can truly meet the nutritional needs of pregnancy, consider the following:

  • Sources of animal protein contain bioavailable heme iron, which is absorbed slightly easier than non-heme (plant source) iron. As iron requirements increase during pregnancy, consuming high quality, grass-fed meat along with plant sources of iron (dark leafy greens) and vitamin C will help boost iron absorption. Health Canada recommends a prenatal supplement containing 16 to 20 mg of iron. 
  • The Paleo diet supports mom's iron supply even further by removing iron-inhibiting foods, like dairy and grains.
Blood Sugar
  • Consuming a diet high in grains can lead to dysglycemia, better known as blood sugar imbalance. We also know that gluten is the culprit behind many undesirable gastrointestinal reactions. Following a low glycemic diet has been shown to help prevent gestational diabetes, and promote digestive health. 
  • The Paleo diet replaces high glycemic grains with lower glycemic whole food sources of carbohydrates (like local vegetables and temperate fruits).
  • Fatty acids are critical in supporting fetal brain development and cognitive health. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 and 6 are only obtainable through food, and we know that omega-3's are effective in reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. 
  • Paleo sources of EFA's include avocado, raw nuts, free-range eggs and unrefined coconut oil. 
  • Oh, beloved fiber. In promoting healthy bowel movements and regularity, both soluble and insoluble fiber are critical for overall well-being. 
  • The Paleo diet emphasizes fiber in whole foods like dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), root veggies (sweet potato, spaghetti squash) as well as raw nuts and fruit (almonds, cashews, walnuts, coconut, apples).  
Herbs Safe for Moderate Use During Pregnancy:
  • Red raspberry leaf (mineral-rich tonic to help ease labor)
  • Ginger root (digestive relief and morning sickness)
  • Chamomile (sleep aid)
  • Echinacea (cold bugs)
  • Cranberry extract (UTI prevention)
Pre-Natal Fitness
Staying active throughout pregnancy requires a healthy balance of fuel, and the Paleo diet offers just that. Modifications for exercise during pregnancy also apply to food intake, and mom may need more balanced macronutrient snacking to sustain her energy (like Paleo chocolate zucchini bread and grain-free coconut granola bars).
Click here for more healthy pregnancy tips from Chief Caveman Kara McMaster.

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