If you are considering becoming pregnant, are pregnant or nursing, are you getting enough omega-3 fatty acids? This essential fat is necessary for optimal growth and development of your baby. Omega-3’s also improve the health of you and your baby’s heart, eyes and brain. At CNY Healing Arts Center in Syracuse we can provide you with a consultation with our Registered Dietitian to help you to ensure that you are getting the right nutrients for you and your baby.
There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and ARA. You may notice that many prenatal vitamins now include DHA. Research has shown that getting enough DHA is extremely important for your developing fetus. This fat is the primary structural component of brain tissue. The brain grows more rapidly in the womb than at any other stage in a child’s development. By getting adequate DHA in the womb, you can help to increase your child’s brain development, IQ scores later in life and visual acuity. The importance of DHA continues while your child is an infant, as their brains triple in size by their first birthday.
Despite our knowledge on the importance of DHA and ARA, the typical American diet only provides about one-third of the recommended levels. Eating right prior to pregnancy is necessary so that you can build up your DHA stores. So, what foods are good sources of omega-3’s? We all know that fish are an excellent source, and the fattier the fish, the higher the concentration of omega-3’s. Try, salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring and whitefish. Even when pregnant, it is safe to have 4 ounces of fish 3 times a week. Vegetables oils such as flaxseed, soy and canola are also good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids. However, the number one thing you can feed your baby: breastmilk! Hence, the reason for you to consume adequate amounts of the nutrient.
To ensure that you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, try some of the supplemented foods available. Everything from milk, cereal, cheese and juice has added DHA. If your prenatal does not contain DHA, you can take a DHA supplement such as Expecta. If you are not pregnant or nursing, you can also try a fish-oil supplement.
To ensure that you are getting the right nutrients for you and your baby, it is best to meet with a Registered Dietitian. Call CNY Healing Arts Center in Syracuse to make your appointment today!
Heather Neely, RD, CDN
CNY Healing Arts Center