How Fermented Foods Increase Pregnancy Health

Although they aren't as common in a modern diet, fermented foods like yogurt and kefir were quite common in indigenous diets around the world. Fermentation is a great way to preserve certain foods, but it also has health benefits for the body in general. Whether you're pregnant or not, you'll want to add at least some fermented foods to your daily diet. If you're pregnant or trying to become pregnant, though, it's more important than ever that you include fermented foods in your everyday meals and snacks. Here's why:

Fermentation adds enzymes

The fermentation process is interesting because it's similar to cooking foods, but it has a different end result. When you cook foods, you release a few nutrients, but you also lose vital enzymes, which are quite fragile. During the fermentation process, you can get rid of certain harmful bacteria in foods as you do during cooking, and you can end up with foods that last longer because they are preserved more thoroughly. However, during fermentation, enzymes are not lost. Enzymes are essential for helping the body absorb certain nutrients and for making the digestive process smoother and more regular. Fermented foods during pregnancy can help your body process other foods more easily, which results in more nutritional absorption for you and your baby.

Fermentation and healthy bacteria

Many times, the fermentation process is started by adding certain healthy bacteria to foods. For instance, when you make kefir, you start with regular milk and add in "grains" of colonies of healthy bacteria. The bacteria then complete the fermentation process, and when you're digesting the foods, they make a home in your gut. These healthy bacteria help balance the ecosystem in your gut, which means that you can process foods more easily and can become more regular on a digestive level.

These days, you're probably hearing a lot about these healthy bacteria in yogurt, especially. Many processing companies have discovered the health benefits of probiotic foods, and have started adding more probiotics to their products. The problem, of course, is that these commercially-produced yogurts are also full of unhealthy sugars and artificial flavorings!

Instead of getting your healthy fermented foods and good bacteria through commercially produced yogurts, consider choosing raw, organic kefir or the highest-quality unflavored yogurt instead. In fact, if you purchase kefir grains, you can actually make your own kefir from organic milk right at home. It's an incredibly easy process, which is probably why fermentation and food items like kefir have been around for thousands of years!

Fermented foods during pregnancy

During pregnancy, fermented foods are particularly important for a couple of reasons. For one thing, they allow your body to absorb its maximum level of nutrition, which means that you're more likely to get you and your baby the nutrients you both need to be healthy. For another thing, digestion often slows down during pregnancy as a result of boosted progesterone levels. This can cause problems such as constipation. Luckily, the enzymes and healthy bacteria in fermented foods can actually move things along in your digestive system and promote a healthy digestive track that isn't prone to uncomfortable or painful constipation.

If you're curious about other types of foods that are particularly beneficial during pregnancy, check out the book Healing Our Children. It's all about how nutrition affects your body and your baby pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and even after pregnancy when you're lactating.

Learn more information about fertility, a healthy pregnancy, a safe birth, and natural parenting.

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Healthy Pregnancy & Parenting Book

Pregnancy Books Healing Our Children


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Notes From Readers:

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