I'm going to be absolutely modest right now and tell you that when I was pregnant with my first son, I was looking pretty good the whole time. (Come on, if I can't pat myself on the back, who will?)
I can remember specifically how much attention I got in the last few weeks, especially from complete strangers in the supermarket, book store...actually, just about everywhere.
Once I would tell people how far along I was (7-8 months), they always would say the same thing, "No way! Really? How did you stay so fit?" Besides mentioning the fact that I stayed consistent with my exercise, I always told them my #1 reason for being able to ward off the usual excessive pregnancy weight gain was by watching what I put into my mouth!
Is this really any different than what I would normally do even when not pregnant? Not really. Healthy principles are healthy principles. What's good and healthy for someone not pregnant (men included) is just as healthy for the preggers girl (with a few exceptions, of course).
I will tell you that I did put a special emphasis on one specific food and ingredient through the whole duration of my pregnancy and that is Omega-3 fats, especially from fish oils. Before I got pregnant, I always included Omega-3s into my everyday meal plans for their fat burning and anti-inflammatory effects. But during pregnancy, I included them for the healthy development of my baby's brain and spinal cord. The benefits of Omega-3s are so far reaching, I don't think anybody should be without them.
Here are just a few of the incredible benefits of Omega-3s:
- Relief and prevention of pain and inflammation. Omega-3 fish oil fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, have a very positive effect on your inflammatory response. Through several mechanisms, they regulate your body's inflammation cycle, which prevents and relieves painful conditions like arthritis, prostatitis, cystitis, and pretty much anything else ending in "itis."
- Better brain function and higher intelligence. Pregnant and nursing mothers can have a great impact on the intelligence and happiness of their babies by eating foods high in Omega-3s and supplementing with Omega-3 fish oil (Everybody wants a smart baby, right?). For adults, fish oil improves memory, recall, reasoning and focus. You'll swear you're getting younger and smarter (wouldn't that be nice!).
- Uplift mood and prevent depression. Making you smarter is not all that fish oil does for your brain. Psychiatry department researchers at the University of Sheffield UK, along with many other research studies, found that fish oil supplements "alleviated" the symptoms of depression, bipolar, and psychosis, and they even help to alleviate PMS (which sometimes brings on the same symptoms of depression and psychosis).
- Superior cardiovascular health. Fish oil's docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and EPA have also been proven to work wonders for your heart and the miles and miles of arteries and veins that make up your cardiovascular system. They help lower cholesterol, tryglicerides, LDLs and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing good HDL cholesterol. This adds years to your life expectancy.
- Burn unwanted body fat. Omega-3 fats help you burn fat by helping your body respond better to a hormone called Leptin. Leptin tells your body (your brain) to suppress your appetite making you eat less so you can maintain or lose weight. Leptin also increases your metabolism by increasing your thyroid output and causes your body to burn fat for energy. A better response to Leptin will decrease your hunger and increase your burning metabolism. Omega-3s also help control hunger by stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Being less hungry = portion control = increased fat loss!
You can easily increase your intake of Omega-3s on a daily basis by eating several servings a week of wild salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, flaxseeds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnut, butternut, mackerel, and anchovies (I love anchovies!).