8 Tips What is the best food to eat during pregnancy?

There is so much misinformation about what you can and can’t eat during pregnancy.

Once you discover a positive sign on your pregnancy test, you can be sure that your culinary dreams will be crushed by friends, relatives, strangers, and caregivers, who will tell you that you can no longer enjoy many of your favorite foods.

Your fridge will be empty by the time you get their “NO!” list, and you will continue to crave all the delicious forbidden foods mentioned. Is it really necessary?

What Foods Can I Eat During Pregnancy?

There are many pregnant women who do not know what foods they should and should not eat during pregnancy.

You may have already cut unnecessary foods from your diet because of misinformation.

While there are some foods that should absolutely be avoided during pregnancy, the list is not nearly as exhaustive as many people would have you believe.

The truth about Listeria

Listeria is a bacteria that can contaminate food. Eating contaminated food can lead to an infection known as listeriosis.

In most people, listeriosis is a mild illness that lasts for three days and requires no treatment. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

In rare cases, the infection can spread, leading to complications such as meningitis.

During pregnancy, the body’s defenses against listeriosis are compromised, meaning you’re more at risk of becoming infected if you eat contaminated food.

In fact, your risk of developing this condition is 20 times higher during pregnancy.

It is rare for the infection to pose a serious threat to your health, although it can cause miscarriage as well as pregnancy and birth complications.

It is estimated that about one in five cases of listeriosis during pregnancy results in the death of the baby.

Something to keep in mind is that listeriosis is an incredibly rare infection.

Dr. Orr says: “We only see about five cases [of listeriosis] per million people in Australia. Basically, there’s about a 0.3-0.4% chance of getting it, yet we make such a big deal out of it. However, this is not to discount it. If a health problem like listeria poisoning is so rare, why are we making such a fuss about it and not warning women about other potentially worse problems that cause more cases per year and can also potentially kill?”

He continues: “A perfect example of this is gestational diabetes, which affects more than 15,000 pregnant women each year, with an annual increase of about 5%. Uncontrolled diabetes significantly increases the risk of perinatal death – by about 30% according to recent studies compared to non-diabetic mothers. In the meantime, pregnant women may be eating sugary foods, highly processed foods, and grains, all of which are believed to be major causes of diabetes, and yet no one says anything. However, mention the word brie, and everyone agrees in disgust!

What can you eat during pregnancy?

One of the most important things to pay attention to is not so much what you eat, but how you eat it.

Food hygiene is always important, but you need to take extra care during pregnancy. Temperatures between 5 and 60 degrees Celsius are ideal for bacteria, so it’s important that your food is always stored at a temperature below 5 degrees Celsius and cooked at a temperature above 60 degrees Celsius.

Dr. Orr has identified the following foods that many pregnant women avoid and are safe to consume during pregnancy:

  • Cryovacced meats – as long as they are out of date and cryovacced (wrapped in an airtight container) they should be free of bacteria
  • Seafood that is fresh and cooked
  • Pasteurized cheese – soft cheese is ok as long as it is cooked
  • Pasteurized or UHT milk
  • Soft ice cream is safe if stored hygienically. For example, McDonald’s stores have a strict hygiene policy in which the machines are washed and cleaned every day. Ice cream trucks are best avoided as they are not regularly inspected for food standards. However, it is important to take into account the consumption of sugar and not go too far!
  • Nuts – not only are these safe, there is some evidence that avoiding nuts during pregnancy can trigger nut allergies
  • Cooked eggs
  • Cooked chicken is safe, but it must be cooked thoroughly to avoid the risk of salmonella
  • Boiled meat
  • Tea and coffee are fine, but limit yourself to two cups a day

Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy. It is important that both you and your baby get enough essential nutrients for healthy development. Pregnancy is worrying enough without being obsessed with the foods you eat.

See our article on pregnancy nutrition for more information.

8 tips for eating well during pregnancy

Here are Dr. Orr’s top tips for making sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy:

#1: Take a top-quality prenatal vitamin from the practitioner daily (Dr. Orr has his own formula, but if you need one elsewhere, skip the supermarkets and go straight to a naturopath or other doctor for the best formulas).
#2: Drink eight glasses of water every day
#3: Add two handfuls of mixed nuts to your daily diet, or two tablespoons of healthy oils such as olive, coconut or linseed oil.
#4: Limit your grains to a maximum of one serving per day. If you have problems with your blood sugar, you should avoid grains altogether. A bowl of pasta can spike blood sugar higher than a bar of chocolate.
#5: Eat one to two small pieces of fruit and three servings of vegetables or salads each day. Include foods rich in minerals in your daily diet. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium are found in a wide variety of foods, including baked sweet potatoes and leafy green vegetables.
#6: Make sure protein is included in every meal and snack you eat throughout the day.
#7: Exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Yoga, swimming, and walking are great beginner exercises to try during pregnancy. Make sure your doctor has everything clear first.
#8: Avoid low-fat dairy products (usually higher in sugar), diet drinks, and artificial sweeteners.

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8 Tips What is the best food to eat during pregnancy?

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