When it comes to your health, there are so many things to consider, especially when you’re pregnant or planning to conceive. Here are a just a few of the many important factors to keep in mind.
Folic acid works, but it only works if taken before and during the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the neural tube is developing into the brain and spinal cord. When the neural tube does not close properly, a baby is born with a very serious birth defect called a neural tube defect (NTD). About 3,000 pregnancies are affected by NTDs each year in the United States. If all women took adequate folic acid (400 micrograms per day) before conception and during pregnancy, about 70 percent of NTDs could be prevented.
EPA and DHA are omega-3 oils found primarily in fish, but also in grass-fed meat. These oils are important for the development of fetal brain and eye tissue. Omega-6 oils come from all vegetable oils. The majority of us consume too much omega-6 and too little omega-3. These oils affect body functions such as blood pressure, blood clotting, and immune response, so having the ideal omega 6:3 ratio, which is 2:1, is important. Grass-fed beef has the desired 2:1 ratio. If you’re not getting enough of these oils, consider taking a fish oil supplement. Not only is this beneficial to take during pregnancy, it’s also beneficial for breastfeeding since your baby’s brain and eyes are continuing to develop.
Pick Pure Products:
The purest, cleanest products are just that: pure and clean – nothing added! Meat without added hormones or antibiotics is ideal. It’s even better when the meat is grass-fed. Cattle are meant to eat grass; it’s the natural, healthy way for them to eat. Healthy animals produce healthy products, it’s that simple. Grass-fed beef is leaner and has 1/3 less calories than grain-fed beef. It’s also higher in CLA and Vitamins A and E. By eating the best products you ensure that you’re not passing along unwanted hormones and chemicals to your child.
Try this recipe to get a dose of the perfect omega 6:3 ratio while eating the tastiest, healthiest beef available.
Spanish Steak Roll with Sautéed Vegetables
Makes: 6 servings
1 ¾ pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
3 teaspoons butter
¾ teaspoon salt
1 each: red and green bell pepper, cut lengthwise into strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sour cream or low-fat yogurt
1 4-oz can green chilies, chopped (omit if you can’t tolerate any spicy food)
1. Pound boneless beef top sirloin steak to about ¼ - inch thickness. Sprinkle with pepper and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot.
3. Pan-fry steak until medium-rare, turning once.
4. Remove steak to heated platter and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Keep warm.
5. Add remaining 1 teaspoon butter to frying pan. Add red and green peppers, onion, mushrooms, and walnuts. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Add remaining ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and chili powder; continue cooking 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Spread steak with sour cream and top with chilies.
8. Starting at the long side of the steak, roll up jelly–roll fashion; secure with 6 wooden picks. Slice steak between picks, place vegetables around steak roll. Remove and discard picks.
-Adapted from Eating Expectantly, A Practical and Tasty Guide to Prenatal Nutrition