Does tofu really make your baby lighter? Is there a way to avoid peanut allergies? We get to the bottom of common pregnancy food myths…and let you know where to find the BEST food to feed your growing baby
Nutrition is such a hugely important component to a healthy pregnancy, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there (and lots of research in recent years has overturned common myths that maybe haven’t reached your well-meaning grandparents just yet).
But never fear, mama. We’re here to bust the top pregnancy food myths so you can eat (and enjoy your pregnancy) in peace. Click through for a heaping helping of pregnancy food wisdom, AND find out how you can nab an exclusive discount off groceries with FairPrice On.
Lead image sourced via Getty
Sadly, there’s just about zero truth to this one – you’re not eating for someone the same size as you, after all! As the experts at The Nutrition Clinic have told us:
“It is true that during pregnancy a woman has to provide good nutrition for two individuals. The growing baby gets all its nourishment from its mother through the umbilical cord, so diet is very important. If the mother lacks any vitamins and nutrients, her baby might lack them, too.” You don’t want your baby to subsist on crackers, cupcakes and potato crisps, right mama? Your energy’s going to be flagging enough as it is, so give yourself the best chance to feel good with healthy, organic ingredients.
Rather than double up on your portions, take extra care to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet filled with fresh fruits and veggies, proteins and healthy fats and complex carbs (“Eat the rainbow!” as Dr. Cheryl Kam advises). Your doctor might also recommend prenatal vitamins or nutritional supplements to fill in any gaps in your diet.
Image by Natalie Walters via Unsplash
While it’s true that food allergies are definitely on the rise (a 2017 study in the U.S. showed a 21% increase in peanut allergies among children just since 2010!), it looks like avoiding nuts could actually be contributing to the problem.
Last year the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued new guidelines (a reversal of past recommendations) that babies should be exposed to peanut powder or pureed peanuts from 6 months of age or even earlier, as a number of studies have shown this can markedly reduce peanut allergies in children (yay! Some good news!). Another study found that the children of women who consumed three to five servings of peanuts or other tree nuts per week during pregnancy were at the lowest risk for nut allergies!
So long as you don’t have any history with peanut allergies, you should feel free to munch away, mama! According to Healthline.com, “Peanuts are actually a smart food choice for pregnant women. They contain protein and folate. Folate and folic acid supplements are recommended during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects, particularly of the developing brain and spine.”
Image sourced via Getty
While it’s true that certain “big” fish (like swordfish and, to a lesser extent, tuna) should be avoided as they are high in mercury and this can negatively affect a baby’s developing nervous system, other types of fish, such as salmon, anchovies and sardines, are among the best things you could feed yourself and your growing bub.
Not only are these fish low in mercury, but they’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote neurological and visual development for the baby and may also lower your risk of pre-term delivery and pre-eclampsia (source). On top of all that, salmon is also a fabulous source of protein and B-vitamins. (Click here for more guidelines around seafood and to see why it’s better to eat the real thing rather than just take DHA supplements!)
Whew! Who knew something as simple as milk could be so contentious?!
On the one hand, some experts argue that whole milk is higher in saturated fat, which can be bad for the heart. On the other hand, recent studies have shown that people who consumed whole milk and other full-fat dairy products (like Greek Yogurt) were 46% less likely to develop diabetes than those who consumed skim and low-fat varieties. Another recent study found that subjects who consumed high-fat dairy products were actually less likely to suffer from obesity than those who didn’t consume a variety of dairy products. What’s more, whole milk and reduced fat milk contain brain-boosting DHA, whereas skim milk does not.
What everyone can agree upon is that milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is SO important for both babies (it promotes the growth of bones and teeth) and pregnant mamas (as the body uses our own stores to help baby, so we need to replenish them).
True story: we have friends who were (erroneously!) told in an antenatal class that consuming a lot of soy sauce would darken their baby’s complexion. FALSE! Your baby’s skin colour is entirely determined by genetics. Dark foods like coffee and chocolate won’t darken your baby’s complexion, nor will white foods like tofu and bird’s nest lighten it!
But by all means, do feel free to eat plenty of dark chocolate — it’s been shown to have myriad benefits for pregnant women. Score!
When in doubt, just remember to keep eating the rainbow, mama, so your bub is exposed to a full bevy of nutrients!
Image by Charisse Kenion via Unsplash
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