The Importance of Protein to Your Diet During Pregnancy
By Isabel De Los Rios
One of the most common mistakes you can make with your diet during pregnancy is to neglect your protein intake. As you struggle with morning sickness and digestive upset, carbohydrates may seem more appetizing than protein. And as your pregnancy progresses, you may enjoy the convenience of eating a lot of refined carbohydrates.
But carbs can actually aggravate digestive issues and can contribute to weight gain. So keeping your protein intake high is actually a great idea, even though it seems counterintuitive at first.
Benefits of Proteins vs. Carbohydrates in Your Diet During Pregnancy
Protein provides nutrients that are essential to your baby's health and wellbeing as she grows within you. It also helps to keep your blood sugar on an even keel, keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking and plummeting throughout the day. Finally, proteins also help you feel full for a longer period of time.
On the other hand, carbohydrates are digested quickly within your body, contributing to blood sugar highs and lows that can cause hunger pains, feelings of faintness, dizziness, and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms.
Some women can actually develop sensitivity to wheat and gluten, which causes bloating, water retention, and digestive upset. So if you are having these symptoms, eliminating gluten and wheat from your diet and replacing those items with other forms of complex carbohydrates can bring about relief.
Not All Proteins are Created Equal
You should aim to incorporate proteins at every meal. Having said that, though, you should know that not all protein sources are created equal. You should avoid proteins that are high in saturated fats, or that contain nitrates, or that contain high levels of mercury.
If you are wondering, "Can I eat shrimp while pregnant?" the answer is yes. Seafood, especially low-mercury types like shrimp, are excellent sources of lean protein during pregnancy. You can add them to your diet during pregnancy at the rate of twice a week.
As far as lunch meats go, it's best to avoid them during pregnancy, as they contain high levels of sodium, nitrates, and fillers, which can lead to weight gain and other problems during pregnancy. So aim for other great sources of protein like raw nuts, nut butters, organic eggs, and lean organic cuts of meat such as beef or chicken.
How to Incorporate Protein into Each Meal
Now that you know you must incorporate protein into each meal, and know which healthy proteins are best for you and your baby during pregnancy, it's important to understand how to incorporate them into each meal. For breakfast, you can enjoy organic eggs scrambled with a little organic butter, leftovers from lunch or dinner, or nut butters on sprouted grain bread.
If you are suffering from morning sickness, try a trail mix made from raw nuts and natural dried fruits. For lunch, you can try lean proteins such as beef, chicken, or seafood; or you can try nut butters spread on veggies, fruit, or sprouted grain bread. For snacks, rely on your own trail mix, hardboiled organic eggs, or leftovers from dinners and lunches.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight with Proteins
Lean proteins can be your best ally in the fight against too much weight gain during pregnancy. A healthy weight gain is estimated at around 20 to 30 pounds. So to stay within those parameters, rely on protein snacks and portions of healthy protein at meals to help you feel full and satiated.
Protein will also help keep your blood sugar stable, avoiding those crashes that can tempt you to eat too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Weight gain is an inevitable part of pregnancy, but you can keep yours within the healthy parameters by knowing how to mix protein and carbohydrates in your diet during pregnancy.
Ready to learn about the best diet during pregnancy? Need advice on what to eat while pregnant? Visit http://whattoeatwhilepregnant.com for exercise recommendations and eating tips for a healthy pregnancy.View more about protein in your pregancy diet here- See the risks and benefits
Pregnancy Nutrition: Is Protein Powder a Safe Supplement for your Pregnancy Diet?Author: Nisha Obaidullah
Finding something that you like to eat during the first few weeks of pregnancy can be really difficult if you are suffering badly with morning sickness, and that awful metallic taste that you get at the back of your throat and so a lot of women turn to protein powder to boost their pregnancy nutrition.
Soon it becomes an easy option to supplement your pregnancy diet plan and protein powders start to make a regular appearance in your pregnancy nutrition.
A lot of OBGYN's and midwives will have no problem with this and when it comes to the option of eating nothing or having a protein shake because it is the ONLY thing that will stay down, I can see the advantages.
However, there's a lot of things about protein powders that are misunderstood and once you know the facts you may think differently next time you're looking for an easy nutritious meal option.
Firstly protein powders come in many different forms. Protein powder can be made of lots of different bases such as rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, but by far the most common is whey protein and soy protein (usually concentrate or isolate).
Now all protein structures are different and contain different amino acids and so using a protein powder that is based on just one protein or a mix of two or three proteins is unlikely to give you a wide enough amino acid spectrum to provide adequate nutrition for you and your growing baby - kind of defeats the purpose of having protein powder - right?
Protein powders are not wholefoods. They are processed and refined to the point of rendering the substance we know as protein powder completely unrecogniseable to the human body. Any level of processing and manufaturing will denature a food by altering its chemical structure. The heavier the refinement process, the more denatured a food becomes.
Whey protein as an example has to be handled at low temperature as its protein structures are extremely fragile. But todays whey protein powders are produced by drying skim milk at extremely high temperatures and then using the powder to bulk out energy bars, body building products and protein shakes.
Soy protein initially starts out with a lot of phytic acid (which blocks the body's absorbtion of vitamins and minerals), enzyme inhibitors (the body uses enzymes to break down food and access nutrients), and isoflavanones (which mimics the effect of oestrogen in the body and is carcinogenic). It is then processed at extreme temperatures to reduce (but not eradicate) the effects of these undesireable properties. However, more toxins are formed during high-temperature chemical processing, including nitrates, lysinalanine and MSG and several of the proteins are so denatured that they become unusable to the human body (eg. lysine).
So what you are left with (in any protein powder) is a highly processed and refined substance that is so far from its natural state that the body does not recognise it as food.
Now in addition to all the harmful toxins that a protein powder contains your poor body also has to deal with a UFO (Unidentified Food substance of questionable Origin!). So because it has so many other jobs to do your body can't cope and instead of flusing the toxins out, it shoves them somewhere where they will be less poisonous to the body - in your FAT!
Get this, the body will actually lay down excess fat just to store the toxins and keep them away from your baby and your body. Then it will drain all your water from your cells AND what you drink to dilute the toxins to a point where they are so dilute they no longer pose a threat to your body. So as well as getting fat, you've also got a massive water retention problem (which makes you look even fatter, congests your tissues and decreases the water available for amniotic fluid - essential for your baby's protection, nourishment and development).
You still thinking protein powders are a good idea?
So you see protein powders are not the best option in pregnancy. They don't do what they say on the tin, (i.e. give you enough protein to provide a good source of nutrients to supplement your pregnancy diet), and for all the benefit you get from them you may as well opt for a Big Mac instead!
The best sources of protein for pregnancy (and in fact in any human diet) are wholesome natural foods, ideally organic animal proteins, like chicken, beef, fish and eggs, or vegetable proteins like pulses, legumes and nuts. If you find you can stomach solid food then nutritious broth based soups are a thousand times better for you than a protein shake!
Nisha is the UK's leading Pregnancy Fitness and Lifestyle Conditioning Coach. To grab your place on her 14 Day Free Pregnancy Fitness Coaching Program which guarantees to get you in the best shape of your adult life wilst pregnant, go to ==> http://www.the9monthclub.com/startView more on pregancy diet here