Written by: Jackie Edwards
It’s expected that around 4 million babies will be born in the United States this year. Good nutrition during pregnancy is so important for the health of both mother and child. Eating healthily during pregnancy is key to sustaining a full-term pregnancy, delivering a healthy baby and supporting the future health of the child. Good nutritional choices during pregnancy are likely to continue throughout childhood and even into adulthood. Red meats contain iron, zinc and protein which are important nutrients needed during pregnancy. Unlike grain-fed cows, organic grass-fed cows are free of antibiotics and the meat has been found to be lower in fat and calories, while higher in protein than non-grass-fed meat.
Benefits Of Grass-Fed Beef For Mothers-To-Be
What cows are fed can have a significant impact on the nutrients contained in the beef and dairy products. Grass-fed beef usually has less fat and fewer calories than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef contains all the nutrients you will get from standard grain-fed beef such as iron and protein which are important during pregnancy. However, Grass-fed beef also contains vitamin E, vitamin A and more of other micronutrients such as iron, potassium, zinc, sodium and phosphorus. It’s not just the meat from grass-fed cattle that’s an important source of nutrients for pregnant women. Consuming an adequate amount of fats during pregnancy is also crucial for healthy baby development and this can be found in butter from grass-fed cows.
Know What You are Eating
It’s important that you give thought to your diet and the potential food-related risks during pregnancy. While the list of foods you shouldn’t eat seems to grow each year, you will often find that some pregnant women will carry on eating certain foods throughout all their pregnancies without any problems, while others will steer clear of them. When it comes to beef, the crucial thing to know is how the cows were fed as that will give you an indication on the quality and nutrients of the meat and if there is any likelihood that there may be chemical residue in it. Grain-fed cows are usually kept in confined stalls with limited space and quickly fattened up with grain-based feeds often made from corn or soy which is likely to have been genetically modified to withstand pesticides. To ensure maximum growth, the cows are also given a combination of drugs such as growth hormones and antibiotics.
Grass-Fed Meat Easier To Digest
Heartburn and indigestion are common during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester when the growing uterus often puts pressure on the stomach and intestines. The pressure on the stomach can also push contents back up into the esophagus. Many people say that beef upsets their stomach and they can feel uncomfortable after eating it. However, it’s often due to the quality of the meat they are eating. Eating grain-fed beef can often cause bloating, heartburn and other digestive issues for people with sensitives to soy and corn. The antibiotic deposits in grain-fed beef upset the stomach’s healthy bacteria levels. Grass-fed beef eliminates this issue and is far gentler on the stomach to digest.
Cooking Beef During Pregnancy
During your pregnancy, you will no doubt hear plenty of dos and don’ts when it comes to what you should eat. Fortunately, if you are someone who enjoys eating meat, then by taking a few precautions you can still enjoy your steak while pregnant. However, your steak can’t be quite as juicy as you may normally enjoy. Eating red meat that hasn’t been prepared and cooked properly can increase the risk of bacterial food-borne infections. Your steak, therefore, needs to be cooked to at least medium-well at 160 degrees. It’s best to use a food thermometer so you can check the temperature of your steak a few minutes before you think it’s ready so you don’t overcook the meat. If you are unsure or want further advice on eating red meat during pregnancy then it’s recommended that you speak to your doctor.
While you can still enjoy eating beef during pregnancy, ensuring that your meat comes from grass-fed cows will give you the peace of mind that you aren’t consuming any chemical or bacteria residues that could be unhealthy for you and your baby.
Meet The Author
After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.