Your Pregnancy Diet

Antioxidants During Pregnancy

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Antioxidants can help to protect you and your unborn baby from the many chemical environmental threats you are exposed to every day.

Today, the average Brit will detoxify over 500 chemicals a day. Many of these chemicals have only been around since after World War II. What that means is that the toxic load of today's environment greatly exceeds the level we have evolved to cope with.

Antioxidants are a key way to help us keep up with this environmental demand and protect our bodies and our babies' bodies from this chemical burden.

The quick version of oxidative stress:

Many chemicals cause what's called oxidative stress on the body. Oxidative stress damages and ages cells. It is also associated with inflammatory conditions, some cancers and many health conditions. These are certainly not problems you want while you are pregnant.

Our bodies natural defence system is an antioxidant system that relies heavily on both endogenous (made inside the body) and dietary (consumed) antioxidants.

The benefits of improving antioxidant function:

Increasing the function of the antioxidant system will help your body protect itself from the environmental stress it experiences every day. This will help to buffer your health against the negative effects of oxidative stress and maintain a robust and healthy state.

Why you should care about your antioxidant system:

40,000 years ago your body could deal with the oxidative stress of the environment without any problem. All food was nutrient rich, organic, wild and varied. In times of good bounty, nutrition was exceptional. The environment had approximately 85,000 less chemicals than today's world.

Antioxidant intake was sufficient to cover the oxidative load.

Today, depending on where and how you live, things are much different. Our environments place huge oxidative demands on our bodies. Car exhaust fumes, plastics, cosmetics, industrial pollution, heavy metals in foods and pesticides all serve to place excessive load on our poor antioxidant systems.

Couple that with the fact that our food supply is often low in nutrients due to depleted mineral content of soils and you have a double whammy: reduced antioxidant function and increased oxidative stress. Placing a much bigger demand on you and your baby during important developmental times.

What can you do about it?

Follow these crucial steps in reducing your oxidative load and increasing your antioxidant system:

  1. Reduce oxidative stress first by controlling what you can.
    • Try to eat organic foods that do not bombard you with pesticides.
    • Avoid or limit eating tinned or foil wrapped foods.
    • Use natural personal care products, check for parabens and benzenes.
  2. Eat your greens! And reds and oranges and yellows. The best sources of antioxidants are nutrient rich foods such as berries and green leafy vegetables.
  3. Try to eat these foods in season. In season foods are more likely to be locally produced, higher in nutritional value and naturally grown.
  4. Take a good quality multi vitamin to cover your nutritional bases and ensure no holes are in the antioxidant system.
  5. Consider a good quality zinc supplement. Zinc is a widespread deficiency and it's an important mineral. It is synergistic with almost all other nutrients and can help to keep the overall system from falling down.
  6. If you do choose to use a specific antioxidant formula, try to use a natural product. Powdered greens and reds are a popular supplement. Choose one that has a high organic content and do not go overboard. A formula like this will only contain naturally occurring antioxidants and lots of variety.

Follow these steps and you will keep your antioxidant function high, protecting you and your baby from the oxidative stress of our environment. These steps are more important if you live in a busy city or are exposed to high levels of chemicals in your occupation. For example a hairdresser would be exposed to high levels from aerosols.

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This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.