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Does Malnutrition in the Womb Cause Early Menopause Later?

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

An intriguing study of nearly 2,900 Chinese women indicates that fetal malnutrition may contribute to early menopause later, TimesNowNews reports. Other studies have shown an association between fetal malnutrition and metabolic diseases in adulthood; this is the first time researchers have looked at fetal malnutrition and age of menopause.

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Fortunately, in the developed world we have many avenues for helping women have healthy pregnancies, beginning with the foods we eat. But did you know that research is now showing that a father’s diet prior to conception, particularly folate consumption, may play a role in the risk of birth defects? This means that if you’re planning a pregnancy, focusing on a healthy diet is good for both mom and dad!

Proper nutrition is crucial at all stages of fetal development (and even before conception), and if mom doesn't eat right, her growing baby won't either. For a succinct and easy-to-follow overview of the types of foods and nutrients that will support a healthy pregnancy, read my optimized nutrition plan.

If you’re pregnant or planning to be, focus on minimizing processed foods while increasing your intake of vegetables, healthy fats and high-quality sources of protein. Here are eight top foods for a healthy pregnancy:

  1. Organic free-range eggs — Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, fat and other nutrients including choline, which helps protect against certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.
  2. Wild-caught Alaskan or sockeye salmon and sardines — Fish has always been the best source of animal-based omega-3 fats, and buying Alaskan ensures that your fish isn’t farmed.
  3. Full-fat grass fed dairy — Whole dairy products made from grass fed raw milk are a rich source of healthy fats, protein, calcium, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and more.
  4. Sweet potatoes — These little gems have antioxidants that can help support your immune system, as well as vitamin A, which is essential for fetal health and development.
  5. Broccoli and leafy greens — Dark green veggies of all kinds are a health bonanza for pregnant women, and include important nutrients such as folate, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and vitamins C, K and A.
  6. Grass fed beef and pasture-raised chicken — These are excellent sources of protein and other nutrients you need during pregnancy. Chicken is a good source of protein, B vitamins, selenium, choline and other nutrients.
  7. Avocados — Providing close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, avocados are one of the few foods that contain significant levels of both vitamin C and E. They also are high in fiber and are an excellent source of healthy monosaturated fats.
  8. Chia seeds — These are a literal power-pack source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

Vitamin D is also crucial for a healthy pregnancy, and optimized levels lower your child’s risk of allergies, diabetes, heart disease and more. Along with that, omega-3 — an essential fatty acid your body cannot make and therefore must be obtained from food — is important for lowering the risk of asthma incidence in children.

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