A Healthy Pregnancy Diet: Are You Getting These 5 Essentials? Part One

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In this 4 part series we will cover the five core essential nutrients that lay the foundation for a healthy and vibrant pregnancy.

If you can get these core 5 on your plate and into your belly on a daily basis, you and your little babe will be well on your way to a rockin’ pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

FOLATE

Folate comes from the word foliage, meaning leaves.  Makes sense considering many folate sources are your leafy greens: lettuce, kales, chard, etc.

Folate is a B vitamin (B9). The man made version is called folic acid.  You will hear those words used interchangeably a lot but just know that folate is the real deal, folic acid is synthetic. 

Folate is much easier for your body to absorb compared to folic acid, a fact which really stresses how prenatals are important but they are NOT a replacement for the real thing.  Just an extra bonus.

So what does this folate stuff do?

Folate helps the body make healthy cells!  Pretty darn important when growing a human being from the ground up right?

A lesser known but equally important duty is to keep you from becoming anemic.

Your blood volume increases up to 50% in pregnancy and folate helps you make those red blood cells-and even better, helps that iron work properly. 

No matter how much iron you have, without folate, iron can’t do its job.

So if you happen to become anemic, make sure you are checking in with your folate levels too.

Another thing to remember is that you have your genes aka genetics, and then you have external influences that can turn those genes on or off, aka epigenetics.  In our case, nutrition would be considered the epigenetic factor.

So here is a fun piece of research that sheds light on the epigenetic power of folate:

Scientists took two groups of mice mamas.

One group was fed a diet high in folate during pregnancy.

The other group was fed a diet super low in folate during pregnancy.

The mice babies of the mothers who were fed the diet high in folate were born healthy and went on to live…well…. vivacious rat lab lives.

The others, who were fed the diets super low in folate, grew up to be obese and plagued with disease like diabetes and cancer.

The kicker is: all these mice were genetically identical.  They had the same genes!

Yet it was the diets of the mothers that determined how their kid’s genes expressed themselves throughout their entire life.

Pretty amazing right? Nutrition has this awesome power to lock or unlock the doors to our children’s health.

And let me plant this little seed.

For those of you having little girls, all the eggs your daughter is ever going to get are made while she is in your belly.

You are literally carrying around all your future potential grandchildren….obviously it takes two to tango but you get what I’m saying.

So what you eat not only affects her, but her children too!

This field of science exploring developmental origins of disease is all very new and very much in its infancy, but isn’t it mind blowing to think that what happened to your mother while she was in your grandmothers womb may have deeply influenced your state of health, and inevitably your children’s health, for better or for worse?! 

Power of nutrition ya’ll.

Get your folate.

I've made up some fancy dancy fun sheets to help you along in your goal to Perfect Pregnancy Nutrition.  Check 'em out:

Posted on July 29, 2015 and filed under PREGNANCY.