Cheeses to Avoid During Pregnancy

MAIN-pregnant-cheeseI got a call last week from my sister-in-law, who happens to be almost 5 months pregnant, asking what type of cheeses are not allowed during pregnancy.

I thought it would be interesting to share this with you!

Cheese products that can lead to food-borne illness are not allowed during pregnancy. The list includes:

–              All unpasteurized dairy products (“raw” milk and cheeses)

–              Soft cheeses such as brie, Camembert, feta and blue cheese

They can only be consumed if they are clearly “labeled” as being pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk.

You can check the article shared on May Clinic and on the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics for more foods that are not allowed during pregnancy.

The picture used in this blog, is taken from >> Eating cheese ‘could turn expectant mothers into CRIMINALS’

Can I eat Fish when I am Pregnant?

Can I eat Fish when I am Pregnant?

I’ve been asked this question several times, especially that we are in the summer season, and people eat lots of fish. I’ve discussed this issue of fish and mercury in a previous post but I would prefer to re-post the subject again. Before answering the question here’s a general overview about the health benefits of fish.

Health Benefits of Fish

Most kinds of fish are highly nutritious, containing large amounts of vitamins, minerals and highly beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats), good quality lean proteins and are also low in saturated fats. Some fish are also rich in specific nutrients such as calcium for example in salmon and sardines.

Due to the highly nutritious content, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, fish has been highly correlated with preventing heart diseases (by preventing blood clots), enhancing infant’s neurological development (intellectual ability), reducing mood swings and depression, reducing blood pressure, and preventing Alzheimer.

It’s highly recommended to eat around 2 servings of fish per week (always consider steaming, baking etc. over frying cooking techniques). As for pregnant women, it’s highly recommended to eat fish, because fish provide the infant with a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid named DHA that is, as stated previously, essential for brain development.

Alert: Fish contains Mercury

Talking about pregnant women and fish, it’s very important to be alert that despite fish is a highly nutritious food, it might contain some unhealthy toxic substances, mainly mercury. Mercury, coming from sea water contamination, can accumulate and sit within the fish meat, specifically that large in size fish such as tuna; thus if eaten can pass through the placenta to the infant causing a disruption in the nervous and brain development.

That’s why as we always say, it is all about moderation, pregnant women ought to consume fish due to its highly beneficial nutrients yet, must avoid the high mercury containing fish especially the shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish; tuna can be eaten yet in restricted amounts, as for sardines, they are safe (due to their small size).

Note: Mercury can accumulate in our bodies, thus it’s highly recommended that women planning to get pregnant also restrict the highly contain mercury fish before the phase of conception.

More info from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/omega-3/HB00087

Photos Sources: http://bit.ly/NX1oN2; http://bit.ly/Ptbc3Q

Folic Acid and Mothers to be…

A Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world from Strawberry Blu!! On this occasion we would like to answer the question on Folic Acid for mothers to be: Foods that contain folic acid are good for the brain of the baby in the womb?

Folic acid, a water soluble B vitamin, is an essential nutrient with a special consideration before conception and during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid helps develop the infant’s neural tube, which during development of the infant in the womb is transformed into the baby’s spinal cord and brain.

The neural tube forms within the first 28 days from conception; thus consumption of folic acid during this period of pregnancy reduces the risks of neural tube defects; such as Spina Bifida.

Spina bifida is one of the birth defects called neural tube defects (NTD) where a portion of the neural tube fails to develop or close correctly.

How much you need:

– 400 micrograms of folic acid/day for women of childbearing age
– 600 to 800 micrograms of folic acid/day before conception and throughout pregnancy

Sources of Folic Acid

Synthetic Form:

– Supplements
– Fortified foods such as breads, cereals or pastas

Food Sources:

– Citrus fruits and juices ex. Orange
– Dark-green leafy vegetables ex. Spinach
– Nuts ex. Peanuts
– Liver

Alert: Always consult your doctor or dietitian for appropriate levels of supplementation.

Related References

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/spina-bifida/DS00417
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967638
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6808

Pineapples, Bromelain and Induced Labor…

In a coffee shop…
Sitting with my cousin “Pineapple”…

“Pineapple”
I’m pregnant…

“Blue Strawberry”
Oh that’s great… what month???

“Pineapple”
2 months… I always feel like eating juicy fruits and sweets… but I heard that pineapples are bad… is it true??? Is it safe to eat pineapples during pregnancy???

Pineapples are fruits that are rich in vitamins (mainly VC), minerals, and fibers; they support the digestive system, and act as diuretics. They can be eaten raw, processed, canned, and used in cooking as fruit pieces or as juices…

Raw pineapples contain an enzyme named Bromelain, this enzyme breaks down protein. That’s why raw pineapples are widely used in meat marinades to soften and tenderize meats…

On the other hand, raw pineapples can affect the preparation of protein foods such as gelatin-based foods like Jello. That’s why when preparing Jello, it’s always recommended to use canned/processed pineapples; because canning and processing degrade the Bromelain enzyme making it ineffective…

Pineapples are delicious, healthy and nutritious…

But is it SAFE during Pregnancy???

Due to the presence of the Bromelain enzyme, consumption of LARGE amounts (~ 6-7 fruits) of RAW pineapples/pineapple juices during pregnancy can lead to diarrhea, and may possibly soften the cervix, leading to uterine contractions that in turn induce labor. Thus, it’s advisable to eat a moderate amount of pineapples during pregnancy, especially during early stages…

Pineapples have small amounts of Bromelain that can be safe in moderate amounts. In some cases; pineapples are used as a remedy, specifically in late labored women to induce the labor…

Limit the intake especially during your first months but, keep in mind, the DOSE differentiates between a remedy and a poison…

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