There has been some concern among nutritionists and OB-Gynes about the wisdom of following the Paleo Diet while pregnant. Because of the many restrictions in this diet plan, there is the worry that both the pregnant woman and the baby may not be able to get the nutrients that they need.
Ironically, while the Paleo Diet prohibits the intake of grains, legumes, potatoes, dairy products and processed/refined foods, the nutrient requirements are not sacrificed. In fact, because the diet strongly advocates healthier eating, you will be eating the exact foods and nutrients that are necessary for a normal pregnancy and the normal growth and development of the fetus.
Let us take a look at these essential nutrients that you will find in the Paleo Diet one by one.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The current American diet is very high in Omega-6 fatty acids compared to the healthier Omega-32 fatty acids. The Paleo Diet corrects this imbalance by creating a balanced ratio between Omega-6 to Omega-3. By having larger intakes of Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, you will be promoting healthy development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Paleo Diet foods that are particularly rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include grass-fed and wild game meats, wild-caught fish, and free-range eggs.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2, combined with proteins, are necessary in the bone formation and improving bone density in the fetus. The Paleo Foods that are rich in fat soluble vitamins are egg yolks, fish eggs, marrow and organ meats. Eating more of these foods will also help promote constant flow of milk during breastfeeding.
During pregnancy, the thyroid gland of a pregnant woman is placed under a lot of stress. Not only does it regulate key metabolic processes of the body, the hormones being produced by the thyroid gland help in the healthy neural development of the fetus. The Paleo Diet allows a high consumption of foods that are rich in iodine, such as fishes like tuna, herring, salmon, cod, perch, haddock and sea bass, as well as seaweeds and kelp.
Essential minerals like calcium, iron and zinc are vital for the normal growth and development of the fetus. Unfortunately, grains and cereals that are high in the American diet contain phytic acid which can interfere with the body’s mineral absorption. Although there is concern for calcium deficiency (since the diet prohibits dairy foods), the Paleo Diet promotes higher intake of foods that are rich in these minerals. For example, you can obtain your daily requirements for zinc and iron by eating meat and dark green vegetables. On the other hand, you can get calcium from almonds and other nuts and dark leafy green vegetables.
Folate and Folic Acid
Doctors cannot emphasize enough the importance of consuming folate and/or folic acid during pregnancy. The reason for this is that deficiencies can lead to the development of neural tube defects in the fetus, particularly spina bifida. The Paleo Diet is very rich in folic acid containing foods. While pregnant, you should consume larger servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods that are very high in folate are leafy green vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus.
Discover other great foods in the Paleo Diet that can help you and your baby during your pregnancy today!
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