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5 Fall Vegetables For a Healthy Pregnancy

Eat these fall vegetables to get all the nutrients you need during pregnancy.

5 Fall Vegetables For a Healthy Pregnancy

Fall season is upon us, and there’s a lot of foods to get excited about – and we're not just talking about pumpkin spice everything. Fall comes with an abundance of vegetables that are delicious, satiating and nutritional all at once. So if you happen to be pregnant this season, try to get those essential pregnancy nutrients, like folate, iron, calcium and fiber, by taking advantage of the vegetables that are in season. Sticking to seasonal produce is also an eco-friendly way of life: you'll reduce your carbon footprint, limit pesticide exposure and take full advantage of more nutritious foods.

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Here are 5 fall vegetables to add to your pregnancy diet, plus a few recipes to get you inspired (and hungry).

1. Spaghetti Squash. This low-carb pasta substitute is an excellent way to obtain your dietary fiber as well as calcium. By subbing this squash for pasta, you’ll feel more energetic and you’ll give your GI system a boost! Most grocery stores and farmers’ markets will have spaghetti squash in season by September. You could roast them, fork out the insides and just toss with pasta sauce, garlic, and fresh Parmesan. Or better yet, start the day with this delicious spaghetti squash breakfast!

 

2. Beets. You'll see beets taking over menus between September and December. That's because they’re at their best in the fall. Whether they are red, golden, white or multicolored, beets are a good source of iron and vitamin C. They also contain nitrates, which help blood flow and lower blood pressure – a huge bonus if you’re susceptible to hypertension during pregnancy. Here’s a helpful guide for selecting and cooking beets, and here’s a carrot and beet salad recipe -- perfect for fall.

3. Brussels Sprouts. Sometimes referred to as the “mini-me” version of cabbage, these little buds are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Not to mention, they are low in calorie. They’re full of fiber, and they contain vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6. Pairing Brussels sprouts with any protein side provides a tasty, well-balanced, wholesome meal. Here’s a simple recipe for roasting them.

4. Pumpkin. Your Halloween pumpkin could easily turn into your week’s meals! Part of the greater squash family, the pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C, iron and fiber, and its seeds are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3!), which has become a nutrition recommendation in recent years for pregnancy. With the inevitable cold weather approaching, try this pumpkin soup for a hearty way to warm up.

5. Sweet Potatoes. This root vegetable is the most popular in the fall as it’s its peak season. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. What's more, if you keep the skin, you’re packing in fiber as well. Whether you decide to bake it, make sweet potato fries or mash it up for a side – it’s a delicious fall staple.

 

 

 

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    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

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    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

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    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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