If you’re a Health Hero – or Health Hero in the making – you probably know all about the power of nutrition. As a firm believer that food is medicine, I know that making good food choices is one of the most effective and natural ways to improve your health from the inside out. How you choose to nourish your body has a significant impact on your health.
Pregnant women need to be especially conscious of how they’re nourishing themselves, as their choices affect the well-being of their unborn children. But what about those cravings? Those strong cravings for sugary foods can’t be easy to ignore. But now more than ever, there is good reason for pregnant women to control their sugar intake.
Did you know that a pregnant mother’s diet – and how much sugar she eats while pregnant – might affect her future child’s risk of developing allergies, allergic asthma, and lung inflammation?
The higher the sugar intake, the greater the risk.
It is pretty serious stuff.
A New Study Links High Sugar Intake to a Higher Risk of Your Child Developing an Allergy
A team of British researchers evaluated the free sugar consumption of nearly 9,000 pregnant women. After comparing those who consumed the most sugar with those who consumed the least, they found the following:
- Children whose mothers consumed high levels of free sugar during pregnancy faced a 38% higher risk of developing allergies.
- They had a 73% higher chance of developing two or more allergies.
- The risk of developing allergic asthma increased by 101%. It was double the risk compared to the children of moms in the low-sugar intake group.
While this study was only observational, the researchers believe that a high-sugar diet during pregnancy activates an immune response, leading to allergic inflammation in a baby’s developing lungs. The women in this study with high sugar intake consumed between 16 to 69 teaspoons daily, while those with low sugar intake consumed less than seven teaspoons daily.
Worldwide allergy rates for kids have climbed between 40% to 50% over the last 50 years, so this is undoubtedly an issue that deserves our attention.
What’s a Health Hero to Do?
If you’re an expectant mother, my best recommendation is to prioritize your nutrition, prepare yourself to combat cravings, and reach for the healthy stuff instead. Remember – planning is key! Planning your meals and snacks might be your greatest ally as you strive to improve your nutrition and reduce your child’s risk of health issues. Get started by taking a look at my favorite healthy recommendations!
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Deprivation is not the goal of a healthy diet. It’s all about getting enough nutrition from natural, unprocessed meals. It’s all about moderation and harmony. Food is more than just nourishment; it’s medicine. Whether you’re a mom-to-be protecting your child’s health – or someone simply looking to live a healthier lifestyle – choose to make small, manageable lifestyle shifts that can make drastic improvements in your life and reduce the risk to you and your child.
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
- Limit free sugars. These are sugars added to food by you or the manufacturer and should be limited to 6 teaspoons or less daily.
- Enjoy natural sugars. Unlike free sugars, these are found naturally in whole foods and vegetables. Keep “everything in moderation” in mind, but feel free to go crazy with the fruits and veggies.
- Plan ahead. Preparation is key to nutrition, so keep your kitchen stocked with delicious whole and natural foods. When you’re dealing with intense cravings and have no healthy options, you’ll grab whatever you can find. Having healthy choices at the ready allows you to practice making good decisions – like holding some veggies and healthy dip instead of the candy bar. So next time you head to the grocery store, consider stocking up on smart choices that will put you (and your baby) on a path to a healthier lifestyle.
- Focus on the food groups. Incorporate healthy foods from the different food groups. You’ll get balanced and varied nourishment, which keeps you from getting bored and helps you avoid those sugary temptations.
- Reduce exposure to tobacco smoke. Pregnant women should avoid exposure before and after birth. It decreases the baby’s risk of developing wheezing and asthma.