Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Even if you typically eat a fairly healthful diet, pregnancy requires some adjustments. You need extra nutrients to keep up with the demands of your changing body and growing baby, and you should avoid certain foods altogether. This doesn't mean you must follow a stringent regimen--or deny yourself--but it does mean giving a little extra thought to your food choices.
By this, we mean eating foods that are minimally processed and contain few or no additives, preservatives, pesticides, hormones or other chemicals. "When you eat unadulterated foods, you're getting 100 percent of the food's nutrition--nothing has been taken out and nothing is put in," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., L.D., a national media spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association in Chicago.
These six guidelines, adapted from The Whole Pregnancy Handbook by Joel M. Evans, M.D., and Robin Aronson (Gotham Books, 2005), will help you clean up your eating habits. Then follow the three-day meal plan. Created by Robin Miller, host of the Food Network's Quick-Fix Meals With Robin Miller, its goal is optimum health for you and your baby. And to learn how to detox your home, check out "Clean House."
6 simple ways to detox your diet
1) Choose brown rice and whole-grain pastas and breads instead of white.
When a whole grain is processed, it's stripped of fiber and precious phytochemicals that boost immunity and help prevent disease. Whole grains are the good carbs, especially for pregnant women. The fiber they provide sustains your energy longer than refined grains do and helps prevent constipation, a common problem during pregnancy.
2) Opt for organic fruit and vegetables when you can.
"Organic produce is often more expensive," admits Ted Schettler, M.D., M.P.H., science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network and co-author of In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development (Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, 2000). "On the other hand, several studies show that if you eat organics, you have lower levels of pesticides in your blood."
Because of a unique developmental window of vulnerability, fetal and childhood exposure to many chemical contaminants is more dangerous than exposure later in life, Schettler says. "Avoiding neurotoxic pesticides is obviously a good thing for a growing brain, whether it's a fetus or a child," he adds. If you can't find or afford organic foods, make sure you wash your produce well. For more information, read "Contaminants on your plate" in "Clean House".