Why Organic is Best for Pregnant Women
A Mothers’ Diet : A Gift To Your Baby
The pregnancy test came positive! A new journey begins for you and your baby.
You may probably get the jitters just thinking about it! There’s a whole new person inside of you! And this tiny human depends entirely on you.
With that big responsibility, you will have to weigh your decisions from now on.
Including the decision what to eat. Walking down on a food court, you will have to think twice before wolfing down a pizza, gulping down a soda or sipping that margarita. With every food intake, you will ask yourself, “ is this the best food for you, baby?”
The attention you give to the food you eat during your pregnancy will make a difference – for you and your baby.
Imagine this the food you eat build your baby’s heart, lungs, brain, and skeleton. It will be a big gift to your baby to ensure that all his or her organs are healthy!
That is why when you are expecting a child, you are now eating for two. It does not mean you can eat twice as much, but you should have a mental note that everything you eat (or don’t eat) may affect the child.
Ideally, nutrition for pregnancy begins before the baby is conceived. So, let’s have a reality check: what sort of diet were you eating before you got pregnant?
A good nutritional diet before you got pregnant is also important!
When you are eating right, you have a stock of nutrients such as iron, calcium and other essential nutrients in your body and you can give your baby a head start.
But hey, it’s not too late to start!
Healthy living is gaining popularity worldwide. With a vast of labels out there in promoting a healthy nutrition, organic food would most likely come up!
What is Organic Food?
Here are important facts that you need to know about organic food:
FACT 1. Organic food is food that is produced through organic farming. Through organic farming, food is produced without the use of harmful chemicals such as the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic farmers use naturally‐derived pesticides instead.
FACT 2. In the 2017 study, there are 179 countries reported to practice organic farming. The United States has currently the world’s largest organic market. Australia has the largest area with the most organic agricultural land.
FACT 3. 85 of the countries reported to practice organic farming has organic regulations. In the US for example, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets, defines, and regulates the use and meaning of "Organic" on food labels. The standard that they have set for organic farming prohibit the used of:
FACT 4. In conventional farming, the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and medications is a common food production technique to prevent disease and promote growth. In contrast, organically‐raised animals are given organic feed, and farmers use rotational grazing, balanced diets, clean housing and other preventive practices to help reduce disease. (Mayo Clinic 2012)
FACT 5. There are now many controversial studies and overwhelming evidences that some of these synthetic chemicals do pose a potential danger to humans (both to farmers and consumers). The babies in the womb are at risk as well.
FACT 6. Organic food production is better for the environment because it does not pose any risk of contamination to our soil and underground water contamination. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are bad news to our environment. These compounds contaminate our soil, air, and our lakes and oceans. They pose a serious threat to animals as well. Take for example, the cases of pesticide poisoning of river dolphins that were reported worldwide. Look it up and research about it. They are now close to extinction.
So what is the healthiest and moral thing to do when it comes to choosing the right kind of food for you and your baby? Check the label of the food you buy! By choosing the best organic foods for your pregnancy, you are fostering not just health but also a healthy and sustainable environment.
Check out this video below...
Having settled on that matter, the next thing to ask is: What is the best organic food that I should eat?
Best Organic Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
It’s perfectly fine to give in to your pregnancy cravings like a Big Mac and large fries– but of course in moderation! Listed below are the food category that are best to eat during pregnancy, their primary nutrients and some facts you need to remember:
Milk and Dairy Products
The primary nutrients of milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt can supply your body’s need of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and protein. These nutrients are important for developing your baby’s teeth, bones, heart, muscles and also for blood clotting.
Organic milk could cost more than ordinary milk in most stores—but some consumers believe that, for health reasons alone, it's worth shedding extra money. Compared to conventional milk, organic milk has 62% more omega 3 fatty acids. When we drink organic milk from cows that were not exposed to pesticides or antibiotics, we are not ingesting those toxins.
Note: Pregnant women should avoid eating unpasteurized milk products, and the types of cheeses that may contain high levels of listeria such as soft blue cheese, brie and Camembert. Listeria can cause certain serious illnesses for the newborn baby.
Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables, especially the green and yellow ones, are rich in Vitamin A, folate, vitamin C and E, riboflavin, iron and magnesium. Fruits are also high in vitamins C. This food group helps prevent constipation. You should have at least 5 numbers of daily servings of different fruits and vegetables. To gain maximum nutritional value from them, ensure to wash them thoroughly. Do not overcook the vegetables!
You may notice conventional fruits are cheaper than the organic ones. What will you do if you are on a budget?
You can opt for whatever is cheaper but before you put them in your basket, this is an important note! Have a list of “The Dirty Dozen” : the fruits and vegetables believed to be most contaminated by pesticides by the Environmental Working Group.
The Dirty Dozen (Stay Away, mommies!)
Sweet bell peppers
Snap peas (imported)
But hey, there is still hope! The EWG also gave another list.
You can go for the “Clean 15” because they are totally okay! These are the conventional fruits and vegetables with lowest amounts of pesticides.
The Clean 15 (Yey! Go For It)
Also, it’s important to note that buying fruits and vegetable in season is cheaper. Go for what is in season!
Poultry, Lean Meats, Fish
Lamb, poultry, fish, egg yolk, are some of the best sources of protein and iron. These are necessary for the growth of the baby and placenta, production of amniotic fluid and increased maternal blood volume. To absorb enough iron from the source, the body needs foods rich in vitamin C. Note: You would also need to reduce caffeine intake, as it may reduce iron absorption in the body.
Why buy the organic meat?
Organic grass-fed meat, in addition to being antibiotics-free has been shown to be lower in calories and fat and higher in protein than conventional meat. Organic, free-range poultry and eggs, are also less likely to carry salmonella since free-range chickens aren't retained in cramped, disease-breeding quarters.
Canned goods and processed foods are out of the equation. Stay away from these, mommies!
Whole Grains and Breads
Ensure to look for "whole grains," like whole wheat bread and opt for brown instead of white rice. Whole wheat bread contains more dietary fibers which help maintain regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Organic brown rice is also packed with fiber and essential nutrients.
Nuts (Dried Fruits and Nuts)
Dried fruits and nuts in a pregnant woman’s diet will satisfy the body’s need of fiber, protein and iron. They provide you and your unborn baby with energy and help you relieve unpleasant pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, heartburn and high blood pressure.
If you like nuts and dried fruits, then you’re in for a treat because it will serve as a healthy snack for you while you fill in your need of fiber. Here are fiber and protein-rich foods:
Beans and Lentils
These are a very good source for folic acid, potassium and fiber. This site exhaustively listed all organic beans and lentils with all their nutritional properties. You will be amazed with all the benefits of eating this food – small but powerful stuff!
Then of course, aside from all these types of food, expectant mothers need to fill up with FLUIDS! This is the period that you need to consume more water and stay hydrated! Water helps form the placenta and the amniotic sac. It will be very difficult for a pregnant woman to be dehydrated because it can contribute to complications such as reduced breast milk production and neural tube defects. So, drink up, mommies! 8-12 glasses of clear water is the best.
Sample Organic Meals To Eat During the First Trimester
A lot happens during the first three months! Do you know that the baby is growing faster than any other time? That’s why your first trimester is an excellent time to commit to healthy eating. Your baby is making some important developmental leaps during this period. The sooner you get into the healthy eating habit, the better, for both you and your baby.
Here are some meal samples that you can prepare during the first trimester:
Spinach /Onion / Cheese Omelette by Step by Step Chef
Nutritional Value: Folic acid found in Spinach is essential in allowing the baby’s neural tube to properly fuse in the first month right after conception. While egg is rich in protein, onion is high in vitamin C and cheese is a good source of calcium. The key, of course, is to buy organic ingredients for this recipe.
In a bowl, beat 3 eggs and 2 tablespoons of water to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
Chop spinach until you have two cups worth. Finely chop onion until you have 1/8 cup.
Preheat two twelve-inch frying pans over 1/8 heat (notch just below 1/4, depending on your stove).
Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to one pan, then onion and spinach mix. Cook until the spinach is wilted (dark and soft), and saute onions until they are clear, not browned. Remove from heat, and drain off any excess spinach juice.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in the other pan and spread evenly over pan surface. Then add the egg mixture and spread evenly. Allow the egg mixture to cook until you see only yellow when you look through bubbles.
Add spinach and onion mix to one half of egg surface and cheese to the other half. Cover for two minutes. Take cover off and fold half with cheese over on top of half with spinach. Cover for another minute. Slice in half and serve.
Congratulations! You’ve made a spinach, onion and cheese omelet that will add valuable vegetables to your healthy diet.
You can watch this video tutorial below:
Care for a smoothie? Here’s the perfect blend for you!
The 5 Healthy Breakfast Smoothies by The Domestic Geek
These 5 Healthy Breakfast Smoothies will fill your tummy and your body’s requirement for essential vitamins and minerals found in fruits. If you can find the ones grown organically, the better!
Try this for each day of the week:
- 1Add liquid to the blender first.
- 2Add remaining ingredients.
- 3Blend well.
- 4Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
You can watch this video tutorial below ...
And for your meat intake, try the Organic Chicken by Brett Cap
Ingredients and Nurtrients
Cooked with: Refined Coconut Oil
Protein: Organic Chicken Breast
Carbs/Fiber: Whole Grain Basmati Brown Rice
Vegetables: Organic Sweet Peppers, Yellow Onion
Seasonings: Garlic Powder, Crushed Pepper, Sea Salt, Fresh Squeezed Lemon
Watch Brett’s YouTube video “My Organic Chicken” tutorial:
Sample Organic Meals To Eat During the Second Trimester
You're more than halfway through your pregnancy! What’s going on with the little bump that’s growing by the day? Your baby's sex will become clear, toenails are forming, and his or her eyes are starting to move!
Now is not the time slack off your healthy regimen of eating right. During this term, it’s especially important to eat foods that are rich in vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. These essential nutrients will help your baby have stronger bones and teeth. It’s also best to eat foods with omega 3-oils as it aids your baby’s brain development.
Eat meals that have these ingredients (choose the organic kind, of course!):
This 8-Layer Taco Salad by Lainey Younkin is a must- try:
Iron: Found in meat, poultry, seafood, beans and dark leafy greens.
Calcium: Found in dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) and dark leafy greens.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds and fortified foods.
Magnesium: Found in nuts and seeds, bananas and yogurt.
Vitamin D: Found in fortified foods, like milk, soymilk and fortified cereals; also in fatty fish and egg yolks.
Folic acid: Found in beans, fruits, leafy green vegetables and your prenatal vitamin.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey, chili powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring and breaking up lumps, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mash avocado, yogurt and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl with a fork until smooth.
- Transfer the turkey and any juice from the pan to a serving bowl. Layer chips, salsa, beans and lettuce over the turkey. Spread the avocado mixture over the lettuce. Top with cheese, then tomato.
You can learn how to make this salad at Eatingwell.
For Vegan mommies, the YouTube channel of Ashley’s Green Life has a HUGE list of Vegan Pregnancy Diet. Check this out!
Here is the list of Ashley that you can choose from! I’m drooling!
ASHLEY’S RECIPES & OTHER VIDEOS:
Additional tip for Vegan mommies : This site ALSO provides recipes that are meatless & vegan; including recipes for specialty diets like raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, paleo, wheat-free, clean, healthy, low-calorie, low-fat, low-carb, oil-free, sugar-free & more!
Sample Organic Meals To Eat During the Third Trimester
Okay, mommies! When you reach the third trimester, one of the biggest nutritional issues is balancing your increased calorie requirements with nutrient rich food choices that could fit your bulging tummy!
Here are a few tips for the third trimester:
Eating small meals and snacks that are roughly a fist in size every couple of hours will help you get enough calories. Idea: opt for half a sandwich, crackers with topping, and a small serve of pasta or brown rice with chicken or salmon.
Snacking on dried fruits and nuts is a good idea!
Don’t forget your milk-based drinks, and yoghurt.
To help prevent prevent reflux, drink your fluids separately. Keeping upright or going for a walk immediately after meals will also help.
Avoid foods high in salt such as packet soups, sauces and stocks, Asian cuisines, fast food and restaurant meals. Also, try to avoid adding extra salt to cooking and ensure you are getting enough fluid – at least two liters each day.
Eat more leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, celery, leek, fresh fruits, beet-root and green tea – caffeine free where available.
You can read more tips here.
Babycentre is an excellent resource for pregnant women. Here are the types of food that the Babycentre site recommends for the third trimester:
Fruit : Tuck in to fresh fruit. It's bursting with vitamin C, as well as fiber. Slice fruit such as kiwis, strawberries, melon and papaya, and take to work for a quick snack. Or pop a piece of fruit in your bag if time's short.
Ham and tomato salad : Choose thin slices of lean ham for a thiamine boost, and add to a vitamin-rich salad of tomatoes, radishes, sweet corn and lettuce. Thiamin helps to release energy from the food that you eat.
Bean chili : Use canned kidney, borlotti, cannellini or black-eyed beans to make a spicy chili that's full of thiamine, iron and fiber. Add fresh tomatoes and peppers for vitamin C.
Lentils : Add cooked lentils to dhals, soups, stews and salads for a tasty thiamine and fiber boost. If you're buying a soup, check that it's low in salt, and make sure that you heat it through thoroughly before eating.
Seeds and nuts : If snacking on seeds and nuts isn't your thing, thiamine-packed sunflower seeds, and nuts such as walnuts and hazelnuts, are added to some breads, breakfast cereals and cereal bars. They also contain essential omega-3 fats.
Baked beans on whole meal toast : Have thiamine-packed baked beans on whole meal or seeded toast.
The fiber in this snack will help to keep constipation at bay and steady your energy levels throughout the day.
Avocado salad : Avocados contain vitamin C, vitamin E and fiber. Slice and mix with walnuts, vitamin K-rich rocket or watercress, and mango or orange segments. And add a dressing, if you like.
Yeast extract : Yeast extract is fortified with thiamin, as well as other nutrients. Spread a thin layer on toast, and try topped with tomatoes, cottage cheese or mashed avocado.
Lean pork chop : Chargrill or grill lean pork chops (remove the fat) for an iron and thiamine-packed meal. A side-salad of watercress will up your vitamin C and vitamin K levels. Have with mashed or baked sweet potato, or a glass of fresh unsweetened orange juice, for extra vitamin C. Bear in mind that while you're pregnant, it's safest to cook meat until no pink remains and it's piping hot throughout.
Brussels sprouts : Love them or hate them, the humble brussels sprout is a vitamin C and vitamin K-rich vegetable. Steam or microwave until just cooked as a side-dish, or slice and use in stir-fries with spring onions, ginger and garlic. Don't overcook vegetables, as it destroys some of the nutrients. Steam or microwave them to retain the goodness, and to prevent the vitamins from leaching out into the water.
Third trimester treat: bacon sandwich : A homemade lean bacon and tomato sandwich should hit the spot. Grill two rashers of unsmoked, thin-sliced bacon, and make a sandwich with fresh granary bread and sliced, vine-ripened tomatoes.
You can read there the article “Healthy Foods for your Third Trimester."
Frequently Asked Questions about Organic Food
1. How can I find organic food?
Ask. Ask friends, family members, and co-workers for referrals to green markets. Ask your local farmers about their methods. Even at the supermarket, don’t hesitate to ask your questions to supermarket managers.
Read food labels. When seeking out organic food, read food labels. Packaged foods are often clearly marked with a certified organic seal.
Buy Local. You can support your own locality by finding and supporting the farmers that practice organic farming.
If ever your location (or budget) prevents you from buying organic, simply do the best you can and buy the freshest and best quality fruits and vegetables you can afford.
2. How do I grow my own organic food?
Check out this helpful infographics for starters https://visual.ly/community/infographic/environment/organic-gardening-5-basics
This content from Good Housekeeping can help you start your own organic garden! You will be coached with the following tips on:
3. Is organic food healthier than conventional food?
The conclusion of the unprecedented 343 peer reviewed publications which compared the nutritional value of organic food and conventional plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains is this:
organic foods could increase a person’s antioxidant intake by up to 40%. Antioxidants are good for your heart health and may also help to lower your risk of infections and some forms of cancer. Antioxidants also fight inflammation and helps the body in delaying the aging process.
On average, the levels of cadmium in organic produce are 400% lower than in conventional varieties. Cadmium is a highly toxic metal that has been linked to an increased risk of many diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and hormone disruption.
Another study by published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2003) confirmed that organically grown corn and berries have a higher percentage of vitamin C and polyphenols-antioxidants.
4. Why does organic food typically cost more?
Food produced through organic farming may cost more because of the following reasons:
However, there are occasions that organic food cost less at some local farmer’s stand and markets. This is because they don’t need middlemen to add to the costs and there’s reasonably low shipping expenses.
5. Can I trust the “organic” label? How can I be sure what I’m buying is truly organic?
In the US, to be labeled organic, the food must be produced according to the strict requirements of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. Organic farmers should abide to hundreds of regulations from the USDA and should go through the organic certification process. Organic farms are regularly visited and monitored and are ensured that they are complying with the set standards. Organic agriculture regulation is also fully established in many countries outside the US.
Regardless if you are pregnant or not, choosing organic food in your diet is a smart move. Buying organic food supports a more responsible and sustainable farming, and supports the local farmers. Having an organic diet prevents your body from ingesting harmful chemicals. It‘s a proactive stance in advocating for greener practices that preserves our ecosystem for a more sustainable future.
If you are starting to make healthier choice when you are pregnant with your baby, then the habit will just kick itself even after pregnancy. The choices you made in buying, preparing meals out of organic foods while pregnant, will hopefully determine what you will choose for your baby when he /she is outside of your womb. Your baby will learn this organic lifestyle as well.
Go for it!