When we are pregnant and nursing our food is working doubly hard for both mom and baby. So, you want to make sure to pack the right nutrient-punch per meal! Three nutrients for that play a key role for both mom and baby health are folate, iron, and omega-3’s, and you can find them all in hemp hearts.
Folate is the essential B vitamin that gets the most attention whether you are pre, post, or peri-natal. And for good reason! Folate plays a huge role in your baby’s development by preventing neural tube defects. The neural tube is what forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord. And while you’re nursing, folate continues to help baby’s brain and nervous system grow and form normally. Getting enough folate is also critical during preconception days. Aim to include 2-3 servings of foods that are a good source of folate into your daily routine. I love to add a serving of hemp hearts to my morning oatmeal or yogurt parfait to start the day off on the right! Other foods high in folate are lentils, chickpeas, spinach, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts
Iron is always important for healthy living, but pregnant and lactating moms require even more than usual with 27 mg per day. Iron is what transports oxygen in within our bodies…pretty necessary stuff! One serving of hemp hearts offers 4mg, about 15% of a momma’s daily need. Double up on these guys by adding 1 serving to your lunchtime salad and evening stir-fry. Other iron-rich foods to add to those veggie dishes are spinach, kidney beans, or grass-fed beef.
Omega-3 fatty acids are another main player in developing baby’s brain and nervous system healthfully. Added bonus for mom is that they also help fight and calm inflammation that may be occurring while you recover after delivery.
Hemp hearts are an excellent source of these omegas. Sprinkle 1 serving on your avocado toast, soups, vegetable roasts, and mix them into your pasta sauces, and use hemp oil for your salad dressing, in your smoothies, and homemade dips.
About Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN: Brigitte loves food and in her private practice she creates a plan for each client that combines the foods they love with their health and wellness goals. She practices a holistic and integrative nutrition approach and specializes in digestive/gut health, women’s nutrition, heart health, and general well-being and weight loss.