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by Rebekka Atz
Healthy bodies produce healthy babies. It’s fun to start caring for your baby even before you conceive, and by doing so, you’ll give her the best possible start to a healthy life. Plus, the healthier you are, the more enjoyable your pregnancy and birth will be!
These are my top 10 healthy preconception and pregnancy foods. (And yes, chocolate makes the list!).
Stay hydrated! This is a must. Drink plenty of clean, pure, natural water. Your minimum intake should be between 2 and 3 liters per day. This is water only (not coffee, tea, wine or soft drinks).
A good formula to calculate your basic (minimum) water intake is: Bodyweight (in kg)* 24 = minimum water intake in litres.
If you live in a hot climate, exercise frequently, do physical work, or if you are breastfeeding, you should drink even more.
A healthy, hydrated body can effectively transport hormones, chemical messengers and nutrients to vital organs. If you aren’t hydrated, your body can’t do its job properly.
It’s important to assess the quality of your water. Choose artesian waters or mineral waters, ideally in glass (not plastic) bottles, and with a total dissolved solids count of 300ppm or greater (eg Evian, Fiji or Vittel). Our water is constantly polluted by industrial waste, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides and herbicides and commercial cleaning products, so stay away from unfiltered tap water.
Alternatively, invest in your own water filtration system.
Say “yes” to butter! (And forget about tasteless, unhealthy, highly processed margarine).
Butter provides good short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids, which protect against pathogens and have strong anti-fungal effects. And no, it won’t make you fat! This is a common but unfortunate misconception. The short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids in butter are used for quick energy; they are not stored in the body’s fat tissue. (What actually makes you fat is sugar!)
The high vitamin A content in butter is excellent for the health of thyroid and adrenal glands. Vitamin A from butter is most easily absorbed. Abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels occur in babies born to vitamin A-deficient mothers.
Butter also provides iodine, vitamin D, vitamin E and antioxidants such as selenium. It also contains lecithin, which assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
Organic, raw butter from pasture-fed livestock is best (and yummiest), but hard to get your hands on. Good quality organic butter from you local organic health food store will be your next best option.
Dont be a chicken about eating eggs. Especially the good yolk.
Eggs contain plenty of folate, choline, vitamins A, K, E, D, B-complex, minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium, fat-soluble antioxidant nutrients (lutein and zeaxanthin), all eight essential protein building amino acids and good saturated fats.
Organic, free range eggs from happy chicken (or ducks and geese) are best. They should be fresh, so see if you can find a local supplier – maybe one that sells directly from their farm, or the local farmers market or health food store. Or even better – raise your own backyard chicken!
4 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is just an amazing and healthy fat for cooking and baking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged. It’s great for heart health, brain function, thyroid function and metabolism, and it aids in fighting viruses and bacteria. It has antifungal properties and provides you an energy boost while being easy on your digestive system. It also helps to maintain healthy and youthful looking skin.
Choose a good quality coconut oil – organic, unrefined and unbleached is best.
Kombucha is a traditional health and probiotic liquid which contains a lot of good bacteria. The lacto-fermented beverage is made with black tea, a bit of sugar and a culture (or mushroom). It is full of vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals, amino acids and enzymes. It also contains glucuronic acid, a substance which binds up environmental and metabolic toxins so that they can be excreted through the kidneys (glucuronic acid is also naturally produced by your liver).
You can make your own kombucha, or buy it ready to drink. There are Australian producers, such as Grainfields Australia. Kombucha can also be found at local farmers markets. Choose organic if you can.
6 Bone broth
Bone broth prevents disease and also improves digestion and overall health. Make use of your leftover bones by preparing your own bone broth.
Bone broth contains plenty of healthy fats, and it also provides important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals, as well as glucosamine (broken down material from cartilage and tendons).
When making your own chicken or beef bone broth, make sure to use bones from organically-raised, pastured or grass-fed animals.
Liver contains more nutrients than any other food. So it’s no surprise that it has been part of traditional healthy diets for centuries!
Liver provides high-quality protein, contains vitamin A, all B vitamins (especially B12), folate (non synthetic form of folic acid), iron, trace elements (copper, zinc and chromium) and CoQ10.
Purchase liver from your local organic butcher.
If you don’t like the taste of liver, try good quality cod liver oil.
Kale is an excellent source of many vitamins and nutrients , including vitamin A, B, C, calcium, iron and chlorophyll. Just add some organic kale to your next smoothie!
Treat thyself! It is healthy and nourishing to look after yourself and allow yourself some delicious melting moments.
Cocoa provides many antioxidants. It is known to improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and improve overall function of veins and arteries. It is rich in agents that enhance the production of various feel-good chemicals in the brain (notably serotonin and dopamine), and it’s a great source of magnesium.
Instead of having a chocolate bar full of processed sugar and other nasties, try some organic raw chocolate bars! They are decadent, healthy, yummy and are the purest, richest, most essential form of chocolate.
Health benefits of strawberries aside (they contain antioxidants, anti-inflammitory nutrients, vitamin C and folic acid), they have long been known to be a natural aphrodisiac. And let’s face it, more love in your family means a better chance of having a baby!
Choose what feels right and tastes yummy. Being healthy and nourishing your body and baby is meant to be fun! Don’t forget to love what you eat.
For more information on traditional health foods, check out www.westonaprice.org!