In honor of today’s launch of Modern Alternative Pregnancy, I wanted to write about superfoods that everyone should be eating, but especially so if you are pregnant (or planning to get pregnant in the near future!) Be sure to check out the new site every day this week for opportunities to enter their huge giveaway. You can also find MAP on Facebook.
10 Superfoods You Should Be Eating
Of all the nuts in the world, almonds pack the most nutritional punch. Their benefits are seriously too long to list! A few of the highlights: vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. Almonds are touted as being a heart-healthy snack and as having cancer-preventing qualities. For pregnant women, almonds contain the all-important folic acid that reduces birth defects.
In addition to being cheap, versatile, and delicious, beans are loaded with good-for-you nutrients. Besides being filling and providing your body with much needed fiber, beans are high in protein, antioxidants, iron, and zinc. Beans are also a great sources of omega-3s and folic acid for expecting moms! If you want to learn more about beans’ nutritional benefits, how to prepare them, and 30 recipes using a variety of beans, check out The Everything Beans Book from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship. This is the ebook that I reference the most (especially for soaking, preparing, and cooking dry beans)!
You already know from Lori’s post on blueberries a few weeks ago how nutritious blueberries are and numerous ways to use them. Did you know that blueberries can also be used for labor pains, to curb morning sickness, and to increase milk production? What a magical little fruit blueberries are! Make sure you purchase organic blueberries, since blueberries are on the dirty dozen list, as they are heavily sprayed with toxins and, mom-to-be or not, you don’t need those in your body!
Broccoli provides you with vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. It also helps regulate blood pressure, fight cancer, and boost your immune system. Broccoli is one of the most popular foods recommended to pregnant women due to the folate, iron, calcium, and vitamin B6 it contains.
Last month, Katie talked about the amazing benefits of pastured eggs, but eggs also play an important role in fertility. Yolks are packed with fertility-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and choline, which is required for proper nervous system development. Fertility experts recommend a daily intake of two whole pastured eggs plus one additional yolk.
Ah, the superfood of all superfoods! Kale has a high concentration of lutein, which has been shown to prevent eye disease and cancer. If you are nursing, consuming kale can increase your milk supply. If you struggle with the taste of kale add a handful to your morning smoothie, toss it in soups, or sauté it with onions, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
It’s quickly approaching pumpkin season all across the country, which is a perfect time to get more of this delicious vegetable in stir-frys, breads/muffins, pies, sautéed, or baked and mashed (think mashed sweet potatoes). Some sources state that the consumption of pumpkin can decrease abdominal cramping during pregnancy. I think it sounds like a good reason to eat some pumpkin bread or pumpkin pancakes!
Consuming wild-caught salmon (naturally low in mercury) can do everything from increase muscle mass to prevent cancer to increase lifespan. Salmon contains good fat that our bodies need and is a solid source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the obvious protein it provides.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is loaded with multiple vitamins (B12, A, E), minerals (potassium, magnesium, iron, sulfate), and protein. You can consume it in powder form (a perfect addition to your smoothie!) or in pill form as a natural supplement. In September, we will post a fun recipe using Spirulina from a guest poster!
Yogurt and kefir are loaded with probiotics, calcium, and protein. Using either yogurt or kefir is a vital part of any pregnancy to ensure strong bones and teeth for mom and baby. If you didn’t see it, here is a post all about kefir, and if you are interested in making your own yogurt or kefir, you can purchase some starters from here.
So what would be the perfect “superfoods meal?” A smoothie with blueberries, kale, spirulina, egg yolks, and kefir alongside a piece of almond crusted salmon, served on a bed of pumpkin, white bean, and broccoli puree? Hmmm…going to have to work on that one!
Which one of these superfoods is easiest for you to consume?