Juices are everywhere. From left to right, you see brands like Juice Press, Juice Generation and Suja Juice popping up everything. While it's easy to grab a prepackaged juice and say, "this stuff is full of vitamin, it must be good for me, right?," there are a few things to consider before guzzling down that colorful drink you just got at the store. That's especially true for pregnant women. Because what an expecting mom eats also nourishes the baby growing inside of her, she has specific nutritional needs and food restrictions that she needs to take into account before consuming pretty much anything. Juices are no exception. So here are six tips for "juicing" healthfully and safely during your pregnancy.
1. Only drink pasteurized juices. The current trend of cold-pressed juices is going strong; and though cold-pressed juices are supposedly healthier and full of nutrients, they are also raw, or unpasteurized. This makes them unsafe for pregnant women. Without the pasteurization process, foods can potentially carry bacteria that put expecting moms at risk for food-borne illnesses such as listeria, which can cause miscarriages, premature labor, and stillbirths. So if you want to start your day with a fruit or veggie juice, make sure to choose a pasteurized option. You can also look for labels like Flash pasteurization or HPP.
2. Review nutrition label. Try to limit your exposure to toxins and pesticides during pregnancy. The best way to do that is to opt for organic juices. Finally, if you want to not only be environmentally conscious and get the best quality ingredients with the highest nutritional content possible, stick with the season and choose juices that have seasonal fruits and veggies.
3. Consume in moderation. Even though juices are made from vegetables and fruits, they contain sugar -- sometimes, lots of it. When you're pregnant, it's especially important not to consume sugar excessively, especially if said sugar isn't to fuel your energy level. A diet that's too high in sugar content can potentially lead to gestational diabetes. So like anything else, moderation is key. That said, morning sickness and other pregnancy ailments can make it hard to keep a balanced nutrition, so if you are unable to eat your nutrients, drinking a pasteurized juice is a great option. And cold drinks can actually help alleviate nausea as well -- a major plus for those who feel queazy.
4. Vary the flavors of your juices. You may have your favorite juice, but it's best to alternate and choose different combinations. This will help you obtain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to your health and baby's. More specifically, opt for juices that are rich in iron, While you may have your favorite juice, vitamin C, calcium, folate, vitamin D, beta carotene, vitamin E and vitamin B6. Juice combinations with ginger may also ease nausea symptoms or help with digestion.
5. Avoid any cleansing or fasting plans. Any extreme behavior can be very detrimental to your health and wellbeing, especially during pregnancy. That's also true juice cleanses or fasts. Pregnancy is not the time to deprive your body of nutrients nor is the time to shake things up inside. With cleanses or fasts, your body's good bacteria gets eliminated and could compromise your immune system. And since your immune system is already down during pregnancy, you don't want to add to that. So make sure to stick to your regular meal plans. Juices should serve as complements to your everyday diet.
6. If you can, make your own juices. When we make our own food, we know what goes inside our bodies. So making your own juice certainly could be a safer practice. However, make sure to clean all the produce you decide to use with a veggie wash so that you eliminate pesticides and any food borne pathogens lurking around. Also, try to stick to organic produce. Here are a few easy homemade recipes.