A Telegraph Column By Lynda Murray
“Mom, put some baby powder on it,” my 6-year-old son said as I squeezed the filling into the deviled omega eggs.
My forehead scrunched up threatening to turn my eyebrows into a unibrow. I gave him a “son-you-have-sprung-a-mushroom-out-of-the-top of-your-head” look.
How was I going to explain this to my mother? She was coaching my efforts. I was making the eggs for a family reunion she had orchestrated.
“I hope you don’t add baby powder to your deviled eggs,” Mom said, giving me a “my-daughter-is-stranger-than-Harry-Potter” look.
After some detective work, we figured out that baby powder meant paprika. We located some of the red spice and decorated the eggs.
If you want your child to be healthy, vibrant, free from diabetes, heart disease and obesity, consider adding more foods such as omega eggs into their diet. Healthy children pay off with big rewards. The reward for having healthy children is time. Time for more restful sleep, time for pleasant family meals instead of lengthy doctor office waits, time for picnics, and hopefully time for many healthy happy years together. Many of the most common chronic diseases have their roots in utero. What you eat during your pregnancy can have a profound impact on the future of your child.
CHOLINE: Choline is a nutrient needed in larger amounts during pregnancy for normal brain function and memory. Studies report offspring with “supercharged” brains and superior memory when moms consumed more of this nutrient in pregnancy.
Best bet: Found in egg yolk, flaxseed, soybeans, oats and lentils. Eat eggs at least every other day during pregnancy. Aside from liver, which is not recommended, eggs are the richest source of this nutrient. (High intakes of vitamin A have been linked with birth defects. Liver is the only food that provides very high amounts of vitamin A.) Don’t supplement with more than 5,000 IU of vitamin D each day. Many prenatal vitamins don’t contain preformed vitamin A.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: Infants exposed to adequate levels of omega-3 while in the womb showed advanced attention spans and greater visual acuity than non-exposed children. These children also show less chance of developmental or behavioral problems and reduced chance of breast and prostate cancer.
Best bet: Use omega eggs to get additional omega-3 fatty acids. Whip up a batch of deviled eggs using a zip-lock baggie with the recipe at the end of this column. Also, look for Expecta, a newer dietary supplement sold at pharmacy departments. Use as directed to get more DHA than you’d get from eating 12 ounces of tuna salad without the potential risk of mercury.
FOLIC ACID: A shortage of folic acid is the most common nutrient deficiency during pregnancy. It can cause the baby’s spinal column to form improperly.
It is recommended that all women get 400 micrograms folic acid daily from puberty through menopause to prevent birth defects in their offspring.
Best bet: Take a vitamin supplement containing folic acid before becoming pregnant. It is estimated that 40 percent to 60 percent of pregnancies are unplanned, and the fetus can be damaged if this nutrient is in short supply. Consume dried beans such as garbanzo or black beans, orange juice, spinach and broccoli.
ZINC: Zinc is a mineral needed for growth and development. It was recently linked with prevention of neural tube defects. Inadequate zinc levels may increase the risk of malformations of the eyes, heart, lungs and other organs. Brain development is stunted in utero and youth if intakes are low.
Best bet: Oysters, beef, pork, crabmeat, turkey, salmon, beans and nuts.
VITAMIN C: Vitamin C helps produce collagen, found in cartilage and connective tissue, in babies in utero. Think tiny ears and noses. Vitamin C needs are higher in pregnant women.
Best bet: Fill up on seasonal berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, orange juice, broccoli and red bell peppers.
CALCIUM: Calcium is essential for the development of baby’s bones and teeth. Consuming sufficient calcium during pregnancy can reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, a potentially fatal disorder of high blood pressure and kidney failure. These problems affect up to one in seven women and are leading causes of C-sections, pre-term births and low birth-weight babies.
Best bet: Supplement with calcium, 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams daily. This can lower the risk of PIH by 70 percent and the risk of preeclampsia by more than 60 percent. Daily intakes of up to 2,500 milligrams have been recognized as safe and do not increase the risk of kidney stones. Most prenatal vitamins contain only 200 to 300 milligrams calcium. Chewable calcium is an excellent form of calcium for pregnant women: Tums is an inexpensive source. Other sources: skim or 1 percent milk, yogurt, calcium-fortified orange juice.
OMEGA 3-FATTY ACIDS: Normal eye and vision development depends on adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These have also been linked to proper development of the nervous system. Shortages of fatty acids in utero may result in offspring with abnormal vision and behavior problems. Omega-3s may be especially important for premature infants.
Best bet: Consume oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. Limit to 16 ounces of fish a week, about two meals. Fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish. White albacore tuna is higher in mercury, so limit to only one meal a week of this – about one 6-ounce can. Can’t stomach fish? Use the Expecta supplement. Other sources include: Omega eggs, canola, sunflower, and flaxseed oils, walnuts, fortified oatmeal and hemp granola.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: If you don’t get omega-3s in your diet, baby will rob it from you, specifically your brain. You can lose up to 3 percent of your brain cells! A shortage during pregnancy can result in: preeclampsia, high blood pressure, postpartum depression, preterm labor, and increased chances of having a low birth weight baby or ending up with a cesarean birth.
Aim for at least 250 milligrams of omega-3 every day. Omega-3 oils are especially important during the final trimester when the baby uses omega-3 to form 70 percent of his or her brain.
CALCIUM: Adequate calcium is necessary for protection of mommy’s bones and teeth. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, the baby will rob it from your bones. Over time, this may weaken bones and lead to osteoporosis.
ZINC: Pregnant women run a high risk of zinc deficiency. Even a marginal deficiency of zinc increases a woman’s chances of having premature delivery or prolonged labor. Zinc is essential to Mom’s health, boosting her brain and immune system, regulating appetite and healing wounds. Zinc lozenges can even cut short the common cold. Zinc is a natural insect repellent and sunscreen, protecting lips and skin. Zinc was recently found to deter macular degeneration of the eye.
BIONIC BRAIN DEVILED EGGS
Here is a recipe that will help build baby’s IQ and preserve Mom’s IQ:
6 whole omega eggs (for best results, eggs should be at least a week or older – they will peel easier)
¼ cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 dash pepper
1 large zip-lock baggie
Remove eggs in shells from refrigerator and place in cold water in a saucepan.
Cover pan and bring to a boil. Then turn off the burner.
Let eggs stand in the water without removing the lid for 30 minutes.
Remove eggshells. Cut eggs in halves.
Remove yolks and place in a large zip-lock baggie.
Add the Miracle Whip, vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar and pepper. Smash together well.
Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Squeeze out the mixture to refill the split-open egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika and add parsley garnish if desired.
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