I remember what it felt like when I first felt my baby kick. It was like little fluttering butterflies inside my tummy. Of course, I thought it was gas – one of the many (oh-so-many) symptoms I experienced during my pregnancy. Let’s get one thing straight – as much as I loved the kicking, I equally disliked the gas, acid reflux, constant nausea and back ache. Many of you are like “What in the world are you talking about? Being pregnant was a breeze.” Yes, I know. You barely noticed you were preggo in your 1st trimester, you breezed through your 2nd and by the time you hit your third, you were too busy “nesting” to think about anything.
For those of us who didn’t exactly live through a Hollywood movie for nine months, we needed all the help we could get. So, once I got pass the nausea in my first trimester, I wanted to focus on good nutrition. Not that I wasn’t a healthy eater any way, but I really wanted to eat the best of the best and the healthiest of the healthiest. And so along with a good amount of dairy, grains, nuts, veggies and lean meats, I included the magical dates in my diet.
Do not judge this fruit by its size for this tiny little thing comes packed with the good stuff. There’s plenty of information out there but here’s a shortlist of 5 reasons why all you to-be-moms or new mommies should include dates in your diet:
- Dates provide energy. Second trimester aside, I constantly felt like I had just run a massive marathon. Why? Simply because growing a baby requires A LOT of energy – way more than usual – and having a handful of dates a day can help you with that.
- Dates are a good source of folate. I don’t know about you but I was told to start taking folate from what seemed like the start of time. Folate or folic acid is crucial to your baby’s development as it helps prevent birth defects (neural tube defects) like spinal bifida. And it just so happens that dates are a great natural source of folate and should be included in your diet from the very early stages – even when you’re just planning.
- Dates can help prevent anemia. Iron, iron, iron – another vital nutrient for pregnant mothers. Because your blood volume increases by 30% (crazy right!?), your body naturally needs more iron to make more hemoglobin – the thing responsible for carrying oxygen around your body. Dates naturally contain a lot of iron and can help with keeping anemia at bay.
- Dates help with constipation. You know if you’ve been told to take extra iron, it comes with an annoying side effect i.e. constipation (ugh!) Dates are an excellent source of fiber which help keep the digestive system going.
- Dates help with supply. Milk supply that is. If you choose to breastfeed your child, dates are known to be a calcium rich food and are thought to help increase milk supply. In many cultures, dates are one of the first things given to nursing moms.
* Be sure to consult with your doctor before introducing dates into your diet. This is especially true for mothers who are at risk of gestational diabetes.
** Sonia works at U&V and is a relatively new mom of a 14 month old.
*** Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms and mother-figures out there.