Ease 4 common pregnancy discomforts with food

During pregnancy, women face many changes, of both personal and physical nature. As any woman who’s been pregnant would attest, some of the most challenging aspects of this life stage are the physical discomforts that can result from hormonal shifts.

Registered dietician and author of “Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook” Willow Jarosh discussed four of these symptoms with FoxNews.com— and how to keep them at bay. The one thing each approach has in common? Using food as medicine.

1.) Nausea
Jarosh recommended limiting carbs and filling up on protein to help maintain hunger control and counter nausea.

“A lot of [the] time women will crave carbs during that nauseated period, but carbs really move through your system quickly,” Jarosh said. “They raise your blood sugar and then they lower it, and you crave something else— whereas protein can keep you fuller longer. And being full can actually help prevent that nauseated feeling during pregnancy.”

To get your protein fix, Jarosh suggested whipping up her Pineapple-Kiwi Green Machine Smoothie, which is packed with protein from tofu, and contains magnesium and vitamin B-rich spinach.

2.) Water retention
Regardless of whether you’re pregnant, staying hydrated is key for good health. When you’re nurturing new life, the same rule applies to relieve water retention, Jarosh said. Eating foods packed with potassium can aid this effort.

Jarosh advised soaking chia seeds for 20 minutes, and adding them to your favorite soups or making a creamy pudding.

“Chia seeds are really neat because they are hydrophilic,” meaning they can help retain water, Jarosh said. She explained chia seeds can retain an amount of water nearly 10 times their size before slowly releasing it through the digestive system, keeping the body hydrated for an extended period of time.

More on this...

3.) Heartburn
This symptom is never welcome, but during pregnancy heartburn can be especially uncomfortable. Jarosh said avoiding classic heartburn-causing foods like garlic, onion, black pepper, tomatoes and citrus fruits can help prevent heartburn. Instead, Jarosh recommended, replace those foods with other colorful fare, such as by swapping tomatoes for red peppers.

4.) Constipation
If constipation strikes, Jarosh advised reaching for foods that have hydrating and fibrous qualities, like her Vanilla Pumpkin Hummus, which has filling chickpeas and pumpkin. The chickpeas also contain magnesium, which can further keep things moving along.

Results for these approaches may vary depending on how severe your symptoms are, Jarosh said. Before drastically changing your diet or lifestyle, be sure to consult your doctor.

For more information, visit http://cjnutrition.com.