4 Surprising foods that affect pregnancy and breastfeeding
Find out the latest findings of the effects of maternal nutrition on newborn health
Pregnancy brings about many bodily changes which will require you to alter your dietary habits.
You may find yourself stocking up on folate and iron and cutting back on sugar and caffeine because you know that what you consume during pregnancy is hinged upon the concept of ‘clean eating’.
For decades, many moms have defined for themselves what proper eating habits mean but recent research has discovered many new connections between maternal nutrition and newborn health.
Here are a few of those surprising dietary recommendations to help you decide what to put on your plate when you’re expecting and beyond.
Steer clear of artificial sweeteners
According to a recent study published by JAMA Pediatrics, pregnant women who consume at least one artificially sweetened beverage daily are more likely to have an overweight child.
“One possible explanation is that our metabolism is programmed in utero, and consistent exposure to these artificial sweeteners could change how your body reacts to actual sugar, causing increased weight gain,” says Dr. Meghan Azad, lead author of the study told Vogue magazine.
PUFAs and probiotics
Increasing your intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and probiotics may decrease risk for allergies, according to various studies. “Newborns first acquire their gut microbiome from their mothers during birth,” explains Dr. Azad.
These enhance your immune system and PUFAs has been known to improve how certain cells react to foreign substances. Probiotics also enhance how the good bacteria in our bodies fight pathogens.
Walnut oil and flaxseed are good sources of PUFAs; while, yogurt is a good source of probiotics.
More links between maternal nutrition and newborn health on the next page
It has been a long-held belief, by many moms, that spicy foods may discourage a baby from feeding well.
But a previous study states that you don’t have to go for bland foods. In fact, it has been found that newborns whose mothers eat flavorful foods, such as garlic and vanilla, feed longer.
“Babies will [nurse] longer when they’re exposed to all sorts of flavors,” Dr. Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, tells Vogue. “Their sensory and brain development is geared toward this—babies are really open to learning about new foods.” And the more varied your meals are, the most likely it is your baby will accept novel foods, too.
Choline is one of the most important nutrients which enhances fetal brain development.
Other nutrients that are essential to fetal mental health are folate, iron, and calcium. Great sources of these nutrients are eggs, tofu, lean beef, and Brussel sprouts.
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