We have all heard that improving nutrition and reducing toxic exposures are vital during pregnancy, what most do not know is that it is just as important before conception.
Both Male & female can improve the chances of a healthy baby being brought to term by a slight change of awareness.
It’s optimal to avoid the following at all stages of life, but it’s especially important pre-conception.
Avoid: Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs (prescription or other), chemicals like pesticides, antibiotics, certain cosmetics with heavy metals or plastics and if you suspect an intolerance to milk cut it out of your diet. These could all be affecting fertility negatively.
Prioritize: Eating organic and balanced, cut out refined and processed foods. You can loosely follow the generalised recommendations below, with maybe upping the daily portions of grains to 1-3 x a day
Remember to practice some form of stress relief exercises such as yoga, meditation or qigong.
If you are experiencing infertility visit www.foresight-preconception.org.uk
If you missed out on the pre-pregnancy health preparation it’s never too late to start, But it is vital that you do realise that your nutritional intake will have a profound effect on your baby’s future life.
Avoid: Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs (prescription or other), chemicals like pesticides, antibiotics, junk foods, especially those containing refined sugars and hydrogenated fats.
Prioritize: Organic whole foods, vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin A, Magnesium, zinc and Iron. Which you get from leafy green vegetables, meats, oily fish but also supplements. You can follow the recommended portions below, but realise that you will need more vitamins and minerals as the foetus grows. So your potions should grow accordingly.
Get plenty of sleep and practice your chosen form of stress relief exercises.This information also applies during breastfeeding. And remember everyone is different, these are only guidelines. Do not go hungry. Listen to your body and feed it accordingly.
We need to combat the junk food readily available to our kids by educating them and making sure we teach them good habits right from the start. This also means not stressing them out about the foods they eat. But rather showing them through example. Excersis and outdoor activities are also essential to our children’s optimal growth.
Avoid: junk foods which are high in sugar, hydrogenated fats and stripped of their nutrients.
Prioritize: Foods rich in minerals like Iron & Zinc such as leafy green vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, beans and pulses, even cocoa in it’s 70% and above form. Iron especially for girls as they get their periods , and Zinc for boys.
Compared to the basic daily recommendations below I would change yoghurt & cheese to 3-6 x week
Teenagers also need more sleep, it’s important to allow them this as the body is growing.
As we grow older, our system becomes a little weaker, meaning the nutrients don’t get absorbed quite as well as they used to. We need to pay extra attention to giving our bodies a helping hand when we reach this life stage.
Avoid: Smoking, excessive alcohol, too many raw & difficult to digest foods. Refined and processed foods, as we need all the nutrients we can get. At this stage I would recommend cutting out most dairy (this does not include eggs).
Prioritize: Easily digestible foods like stews and soups. Foods rich in Magnesium, Iron, zinc and B12. A deficiency in the latter is common and often has the same symptoms that people naturally associate with old age, such as memory loss, confusion, low energy and agitated behaviour. Using Vitamin & mineral supplements is a good idea at this stage, but increasing the amount of meat and fish especially meats like liver which contain B12, Iron, omega 3 amongst others. Seeds like chia & flaxseeds are especially beneficial when reaching older age. Also Spices & herbs can help not only with their medicinal properties but also to add taste and make foods more exciting.
Generalised Portion Recommendations
Everyone is very different, and there is no universal diet that suits everyone. But as a general rule of health, getting enough sleep, meditating and exercising regularly is always a good idea.
Beverages: 1 and a half – 3 Liters of water a day
Vegetables: 2-3 x a day, especially the green leafy ones (1 portion taking up at least half of your plate)
Legumes & pulses: 1-3 x a week (portion size your own fist)
Fruit: Provided it’s organic 1-3 pieces a day is plenty.
Meat: 1-3 times a week (portion size your own palm)
Fish: 2-3 x week (portion size your own palm)
Dairy: Yoghurt & cheese 1-3 x a week is ok if you don’t have an intolerance (portion size 2 fingers for the cheese, 1 cup for the yoghurt)
Grains: quinoa, brown rice and oats 1-2 x a day (portion size your own fist) + 1 slice of brown bread
Nuts & seeds: a small handful 1 x day