• Amy Slater

Top Seven Superfoods For Moms

There was a time in my life... In fact, it was from about age 15 to age 31 that I ran around with body fat levels at or below 12%. I was ultra-lean,, super muscular, driven, and looked from the outside to be extremely healthy! The sad truth is that I was far from it!! In fact, it has taken me about 10 years to rebuild my health from all the years of trashing my body, underrating, and overtraining. Never in a million years would you have found “real butter” in my refrigerator! I was undernourished and did an amazing job tanking my metabolism and depleting my body and destroying my hormones to the point of complete exhaustion and burnout.


So, here I come with you from a place of both professional and personal experience! This is a place where I hope that my words will encourage you to educate yourself on how to nourish and fuel your body intelligently. Food is definitely not the only component of health, but it is a MAJOR influencer!!


Coming soon, I will have an awesome post for you about reducing stress from the inside out. One of the top ways to accomplish this task is to truly nourish yourself daily. This comes from food, hydration, movement, laughter, sleep, etc. Today we are talking all about the top seven foods to include in your diet to help you truly thrive!!


Liver












Organ meat like liver has 10-100 times more nutrients than muscle meat! In some traditional cultures, the liver is given to women of childbearing age and their little ones knowing that it is such a crucial period of time and that they need all of these nutrients.


One common concern about the liver is that it is a detoxifying organ and it will store toxins. While it is true that the liver neutralizes toxins, it does not store them. What the liver actually stores is nutrients, including vitamins: A, D, E, K, B12, iron, copper, and many more. It truly is mother nature’s multi-vitamin.


The vitamin A found in the liver is very efficiently utilized by the body. Vitamin A is very important for reproductive health and your immune system.

Iron is found in high amounts in beef liver. Knowing that anemia and iron deficiency are very common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period all moms need to be eating beef liver.


Preparation and Sourcing

Look for pastured or at least organic liver. Preparing the liver is a process in order to make it palatable. You can have your butcher grind into a blend with beef and other organs and use it in meatballs, burgers, tacos, sausage, chili, or lasagna.


If you want to eat the liver in its whole form, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the liver under cool water

  2. Soak in acid like milk, yogurt, or lemon juice overnight. OR Marinate the liver in olive oil, vinegar, fruit, herbs, and salt.

  3. Sauté the liver over medium heat until cooked through but not tough. Start with sautéing some bacon, garlic, and shallots or onion, and then add in the liver.

Another option for organ meat is to purchase liverwurst, Braunschweiger, or head cheese.

I use U.S. Wellness Meats for my sausage.


Vegetables: Especially Leafy Greens!









A broad array of colorful vegetables in general are especially important for moms and moms-to-be, especially leafy greens to obtain a broad spectrum of nutrients. Leafy greens are a great source of antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin C. They also provide folate, which is the natural form of the vitamin found in whole foods. Where you will find the synthetic form, folic acid in vitamins. This is so important pre-conception!


Folate is important for the prevention of spinal bifida, cell synthesis, brain function, and cardiovascular health.


Preparation and Sourcing

Look for kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and avocado to make sure you obtain plenty of folates. Choose organic to be sure to avoid pesticides, especially for kale, collards, and spinach.


Sauté the greens with garlic and coconut oil, pureed raw in a smoothie, or chopped in a salad with plenty of olive oil.


If you are in the prenatal stage or pregnant make sure you have “tetrohydrafolate” not folic acid if you are sourcing in a supplement form.


Bone Broth











Bone broth is HUGE for moms as it contains the amino acids glycine and proline which comes from the cartilage and connective tissue used to prepare the broth. These amino acids are crucial for the health of skin and connective tissue as well as the mucosal barrier for gut health.

Bone broth is also very important for the synthesis of new tissue during pregnancy and is soothing to the adrenals.


Preparation and Sourcing

Avoid purchasing commercial bone broth as it often contains gluten and soy and is not even made from real bones. The homemade bone broth process is very simple and cost effective!! Once you have your base broth prepared you can drink it alone as you would a cup of coffee or tea, use it to prepare lentils, rice, quinoa, or organic gluten free oats. Of course you can make soups or stews using the broth as a base.


Fatty Fish









Fatty fish benefits moms far beyond the prepregnancy, pregnancy, and postnatal period and in the non-pregnant post-pregnancy population. Speaking specifically to the pregnancy and post-pregnancy period, we are looking at DHA, which is the long chain omega-three fatty acid. DHA is especially important for the brain and neurological health of baby and mom. A mom with adequate DHA levels helps improve baby’s memory and language comprehension, visual recognition, IQ and behavioral attention scores.


You cannot get the omega-3s that you need from walnuts, flax seeds and plant sources. They contain short chain omega 3 fatty acids, which can be converted into DHA. But that conversion is not efficient. You would need to drink a cup of flax oil to reach an adequate DHA per day if you are not getting it from fatty fish.


Preparation and Sourcing

If you are vegetarian look for an algae-deprived supplement to get your DHA. The recommendation is to get 300mg/day, but you can have more.


Benefits to mom for having adequate omega 3s, DHA, and EPA can reduce the risk of pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature delivery, and postpartum depression.

Look for wild-caught smaller fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring, salmon, halibut, and skipjack tuna. The selenium content in fish actually protects us from the mercury content in fish.


Ways to prepare fish can be roast salmon, salmon cakes, tuna noodle salad, sardine sandwiches, adding anchovies or sardines to pizza, or just eating it in its natural form!


Butter








Butter is prized as sacred food in some cultures during pregnancy. Grass-fed, butter is a rich source of nutrients D, D, and K2. The Weston Price Foundation recommends pregnant women eat 4 TBSP of butter per day!


Preparation and Sourcing

Butter also contains selenium, zinc, copper, and chromium. Lecithin and iodine. These nutrients are good for thyroid function and brain development. Vitamin K2 is very important for bone development and facial structure.


Butter also helps the body absorb other nutrients from the diet. Especially if you are having foods low in fat like vegetables. Butter can also help you feel full and regulate your blood sugar! This is very important for hormonal health.


Look for organic, raw, or grass-fed butter. Kerrygold is a popular brand you can find in most grocery stores. Incorporate it by cooking with it at a lower heat, and melt it on your sweet potatoes or vegetables.


Egg Yolks









Another superfood for pregnancy because of fat-soluble, nutrients as well as folate, biotin, iron, zinc, selenium, and choline. Choline plays a huge role for mom and baby, and less than 1/4 of our population receives enough of it. Choline in egg yolks is necessary to make phosphatidylcholine, a key component of all cell membranes, which is important for the massive growth that is occurring in babies. Choline is also crucial for brain and neurological development... Ie. Smart, healthy babies. During pregnancy, the RDA increases to 450mg per day!! That equates to three egg yolks per day or two egg yolks with other choline-rich richer foods like liver or butter.


Preparation and Sourcing

Look for pastured eggs free from GMO feed. The darker the yolk, the richer the nutrient supply. Incorporate eggs into your diet with an omelet, coconut flour muffins, banana bread, meatloaf, and mayonnaise.


Fermented Foods







Gut health affects our health, our baby’s health, and our baby’s baby health! It improves our immune system, and digestive health reduces colic, and impacts the temperament of babies and toddlers, skin health, allergies, and asthma.


The baby is colonized in the womb with bacteria through the amniotic fluid and the placenta because the baby is getting what the mom gets. So, the more broad exposure the better for fermented foods and probiotics.


Preparation and Sourcing

If you go out and purchase your own fermented foods, make sure you are getting the raw fermented foods not pasteurized. Making your own is a simple process. Try making basic sauerkraut or kombucha. For the kids we really like kombucha jello! Or, you can go with fermented carrots. When incorporating fermented foods, start slow with a tablespoon and gradually build up.


Summary


Even if you are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, these foods are powerhouses for fueling healthy hormones, connective tissue, and gut health. Avoid falling prey to the reductionist approach to nutrition! Think about what you can add instead of taking away!