A healthy pregnancy is only a farmer’s market away. Consider this your personal “farmacy!” Not only are they super healthy for you and baby, but you get the added benefit of the food being fresher, locally grown, and you can meet your farmer/forager.
No vegetable works harder at keeping your baby healthy than beets. The pigment that gives beets their rich color, betacyanin, is excellent at protecting DNA and preventing birth defects. Beets stimulate the liver to remove toxins, which protects your little one and helps to prevent toxin-induced nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Its high potassium content helps keep your blood pressure healthy and minimize swelling. The mineral content of beets promotes teeth & bone health in both mother & baby, while the iron helps to build up the blood and prevent anemia.
Mint can be a life saver in pregnancy, as it relieves nausea, upset stomach, constipation, heartburn, and indigestion. It has a calming effect, so try mint tea for any anxiety or stress. It selectively targets bad bacteria, so it can prevent any harmful bacteria from harming you or your baby, while helping your good bacteria to flourish.
Loaded with antioxidants, raspberries help protect both of you from the damaging effects of free radicals. One phytochemical, fragine, is believed to help strengthen the uterus and prepare it for labor. Because raspberries enhance circulation, they will help deliver oxygen & nutrients more effectively. This may also help with that occasional numb arm or leg, and with varicose veins or hemorrhoids. Their high fiber content is important for keeping you regular.
BONUS: Use the raspberry leaves!
Raspberry leaf tea is one of the most popular traditional herbs for the third trimester of pregnancy. Because it strengthens the uterine & pelvic muscles, it can help your contractions to be more effective and to shorten the second stage of labor. Post-partum, this tea helps the uterus shrink back to its normal size and encourages breast milk production.
4. Wild Leeks/Ramps
The high sulfur content of leeks are great for promoting a gentle detox. Leeks act as a nutrient delivery system, helping baby get all the nourishment it needs. The high amount of prebiotic fiber helps keep you regular while promoting your good bacteria, which is important for immunity and possibly preventing autism.
*If onions give you heartburn during pregnancy, substitute with leeks!
5. Green Beans
Green beans are the ultimate food for stabilizing blood sugar levels and keeping you at a healthy weight while expecting. They are a rich source of insoluble fiber, which removes toxins before they can hurt the baby, while promoting regularity and keeping your appetite in check.
Dehydrated? Try a cucumber with your water. It’s refreshing, hydrating, and helps reduce swelling & edema. It helps to keep your blood pressure healthy and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Cucumbers are high in silica, which provides support for your skin while it’s stretching. A cucumber a day just might keep those stretch marks away! The caffeic acid in this veggie is useful for preventing yeast infections during pregnancy.
This important superfood supplies silica, calcium, magnesium and iron, which are necessary for bones, collagen, elastin, connective tissue, and cartilage to form. Magnesium is especially important during pregnancy, as low magnesium can cause preeclampsia.
The high folate content helps prevent neural tube defects. Rich in vitamin E, kale can support elasticity of your skin. Vitamin E is considered to be important for helping your baby grow to full-term: premature babies often have low vitamin E levels. The vitamin C & various phytochemicals in kale also help promote healthy estrogen & progesterone levels, protect the baby from toxins, and promote eye health.
*Kale is on the dirty dozen list. Always buy organic to prevent consuming harmful pesticides.
Apples are one of the best food sources of bioflavonoids. These work to prevent miscarriage, keep blood vessels strong (prevent bruising & varicose veins), minimize stretch marks, keep you regular, and prevent weak uterine walls.
*Apples are on the dirty dozen list. Always buy organic or wild harvest to prevent consuming harmful pesticides.
Butter supplies many components crucial to growth and healthy hormones during pregnancy. The sex hormones estrogen & progesterone can only be made from the right kinds of fats. The medium-chain triglycerides in butter are used as a dense source of energy, and are the building blocks of breast milk.
*Always buy butter from organically raised, grass-fed cows. The milk from grain & soy-fed cows are high in omega 6’s, which are pro-inflammatory, but low in omega 3’s, which are anti-inflammatory. Grass-fed & organic butter is rich in DHA, which is essential for baby’s brain to develop, and is naturally higher in vitamin D, necessary for immunity and for the skeletal system to develop.
Asparagus provides a wide variety of the nutrients that are in highest demand during pregnancy, including vitamin A, E, glutathione, quercetin, selenium, zinc, lutein, & beta carotene. The powerful antioxidants present are excellent in helping prevent DNA damage & birth defects. Asparagus also provides that same valuable prebiotic fiber that leeks contain.
Megan M. Kerkhoff, CHC, AADP, CFH
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