What mom eats, baby eats.
During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, maximize baby’s development by eating nutritious foods. Boost your energy level, feel better and know you are helping grow a healthy baby.
I am pregnant with our 6th baby and have compiled a list of “super foods” that keep me going strong!
Top Ten Baby Brain Boosting Pregnancy Foods
1. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acid. The standard American diet is deficient in this crucial nutrient.
“The liberal consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is crucial for negating the effects of the overabundance of omega-6 linoleic acids and hydrogenated fats in most American diets-a combination linked to excess inflammation and tumor formation when in the presence of carcinogens and certain enzymes in cells lining the colon.” (The Maker’s Diet)
It is important for baby’s optimal brain and visual development in and out of the womb. It is a major structural component of cell membranes within the brain and retina of the eye. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is especially concentrated in the area of the brain responsible for learning, memory and other complex learning skills.
When baby starts solids: you’ll want to focus on feeding baby foods high in this essential omega-3 fatty acid-DHA.
Eating cold-water wild fish like salmon or tuna is another great way to get your omega-3s.
I took cod liver oil capsules daily during my pregnancy and the breastfeeding of my twins. What mom eats transfers to the fetus and to the nursing baby. I only wish I had known of it’s benefits with my other 3 pregnancies. Make sure the supplement provides the recommended daily intake of 200 to 300 mg of omega-3s.
When our twins were born and put in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for just 24 hours after being born 5 weeks premature, the head neonatologist was impressed that I had taken cod liver oil during my pregnancy and encouraged me to keep taking it while breastfeeding so the babies would continue to benefit from it.
- TIP: Beyond Pregnancy, Make Fish Oil Supplement Part of Your Child’s Diet
-For children starting solids:
When my 3rd son Caleb started eating solids, I gave him a daily dose of liquid cod liver oilwith a natural lemon taste. He easily took it by the spoonful.
Try a liquid fish oil flavored with lemon, orange or strawberry. Have your child take it directly or add it to foods.
-For children over 2 years:
Try chewy cod liver oil gummies with a tangerine taste like Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Gummies.
More on making dha brain-boosting foods a part of baby’s diet when he starts eating solids!
2. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are another good source of Omega-3s. In fact, it is made up of 57% Omega-3s (Nourishing Traditions Cookbook). I put a tablespoon of flax seed oil in my nutritious power smoothieand a teaspoon in my kids’ hot oatmeal for breakfast.
3. Omega-3 or DHA Eggs
In addition to having a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6, eggs contain all known nutrients except for vitamin C!
Now you can’t beat that! They can also help reduce the risk of both heart disease and cancer. (The Maker’s Diet).
Not only are they delicious, but they are rich in essential fatty-acids. A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, but 20 of these fat grams are health-promoting monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid. You need the right kind of fat to help baby grow!
5. Coconut Oil
It can be used to cook using high heat without turning into a trans-fat. That is why I especially love to bake with it! I use it without worries to make stove-top popcorn.
This is a powerful yeast fighter because is anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-microbial. I’ve seen it work wonders in our family when ingested internally as well as applied externally. Let it become one of the main fat sources in your family’s diet
Find out how I even use coconut oil as a safe diaper rash remedy!
6. Bee Pollen
This is nature’s multi-vitamin! I first learned about the advantages of bee pollen from my first raw food book Rejuvenate Your Life:Recipes for Energy.
In it, Serene Allison writes, “Bee pollen is high in protein RNA and DNA. Dr. Gabriel Cousins says, ‘Bee pollen carries the germ force energy and supports the power of the germ plasma in the parents and the generative force of the fetus.’
He suggests that a pregnant woman should take 1-3 Tablespoons of bee pollen per day.
It also contains adenosine, which aids our metabolism.” Every pregnant mama can use a little metabolism boost to help minimize weight gain.
This is definitely a super food! It contains live enzymes, multi-vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, phytosterols, amino acids, and fatty acids.
- TIP: Find Bee Pollen in the Refrigerated Section of Your Health Food Store
I put 1 Tablespoon of bee pollen in my morning nutritious power smoothie (which I drink even when I’m not pregnant!). I often give my children about 1/2 cup of this smoothie. The bee pollen helps to serve as a multi-vitamin supplement for them as well.
Caution: Bee products may cause an allergic reaction in some sensitive people. Anyone with a suspected sensitivity consult a nutritionist before taking it.
7. Green Lemonade
Folic acid, a B-vitamin, is crucial for optimal brain growth and the prevention of birth defects.
“Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord-the most common is spina bifida) by up to 70%. All of these defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy – usually before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.”
So, if there is even a slight chance of becoming pregnant, be sure to be getting enough folic acid regularly in your diet to help prevent birth defects.
You can find folic acid in prenatal vitamins. Better yet, make yourself a green lemonade first thing in the morning.
“The leafy greens provide the organic calcium and folic acid you need for the baby and to protect your own calcium stores. Spinach is the most valuable of the leafy vegetables, as it has the finest quality of obtainable organic iron.” (The Raw Food Detox Diet: The Five-Step Plan for Vibrant Health and Maximum Weight Loss).
Keeping up your calcium and magnesium intake during pregnancy is also important for avoiding uncomfortable leg cramps.
Find other life-giving juicing recipes here!
Because your diet might not be rich in lactofermented foods, taking a probiotic supplement daily is a good way to ensure the right balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract. Also, add yogurt and keifer rich in lactobacteria (be sure to check the ingredients on the container) to your diet. Better yet, make your own at home!
During pregnancy, women are more susceptible to yeast infections caused by hormones and an overgrowth of bad bacteria. The habit of including probiotics in your diet at all times is good prevention!
Okay. So it’s not really a food. But it is vital for a healthy pregnancy so I couldn’t leave it out!
Dehydration is one cause of the early onset of preterm labor. If you experience some early contractions, immediately drinking plenty of water can help. Also, contacting your healthpractitioner for added advice is a good idea.
Throughout pregnancy, it’s essential to keep you and baby well hydrated.
Not all water is created equal! Drink filtered tap water rich in mineral ions (calcium, magnesium, iodine, silicon and selenium) but void of chlorine, all heavy metals and other impurities.
Some Benefits of Eating Organic Grass-Fed Meat:
-No pesticides, antibiotics or hormones.
-100% certified organic feed and pasture, which means no genetically modified foods, seeds or feeds and raised without herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
-Grass-fed meat has an Omega 3s content of 7% of it’s total fat content, compared to 1% in grain-only fed beef. It’s loaded with other natural minerals and vitamins. Plus it’s a great source of “conjugated linoleic acid”-a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders.
Women can easily become deficient in iron during pregnancy. “Iron from animal protein is more readily absorbed than iron from vegetable foods.” Make sure you are getting iron from meat as well as vegetables. It’s best to get your iron organically in eggs, fish, liver, meat and leafy green vegetables!
Beware of inorganic iron used to enrich processed foods like cereals and white flour.
“In this form, iron cannot be utilized by the body and its buildup in the blood and tissues is essentially a buildup of toxins…linked to heart disease and cancer” (Nourishing Traditions Cookbook).
“Protein is essential for normal growth, for the formation of hormones, for the process of blood clotting and for the formation of milk during lactation” (Nourishing Traditions Cookbook).
So keep up your protein intake while nursing your baby!
We need the best kind of protein! Animal protein is the only source of complete protein.
“(A)nimal protein foods-meat, eggs, and milk- always comes with fat and this is how we should eat them. Animal fat supplies vitamins A and D needed for the assimilation of protein…..Animal products are essential for optimum growth and healthy reproduction” (Nourishing Traditions Cookbook).
Sorry to challenge the vegetarians out there! During our reproductive years, it is essential to eat the right kind of protein and fats!
NOTE: I am not a Doctor or Medical professional. This information is intended to be informative only. Please check with your medical professional before starting any Diet, Exercise or any other Medically related programs.