Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA provide a variety of health benefits for expectant mothers, including promoting healthy brain and eye development in their babies. The problem, say researchers in Canada, is that women who are pregnant and nursing simply aren’t eating enough of these healthy fats.
Using data from the long-term Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APRON) study, scientists from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary were able to determine recently that less than 30 percent of pregnant women and only a quarter of new mothers are consuming the daily amount of Omega-3s recommended by leading health experts—typically at least 500 mg total Omega-3 fats, including at least 200 mg of DHA.
The ongoing study involves more than 2,000 women and centers on the relationship between maternal nutrition and healthy child development. For this particular research, scientists focused on just under a third of the participants and found that regardless of income, location, and other factors, the majority of women failed to get enough beneficial Omega-3s in their diets. When they did consume the beneficial fats, they came mostly from seafood—salmon in particular.
Interestingly, pregnant and nursing women who reported taking a DHA fish oil supplement were up to 11 percent more likely to meet the daily Omega-3 recommendations. Researchers hope the results of the study, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, will increase awareness about the benefits of Omega-3s during and after pregnancy.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects millions of Americans every day, and April is a time to take action. All month long healthcare providers and communities nationwide will be working together to help raise awareness about IBS, how it is diagnosed, and how to improve the quality of life for those suffering from the condition.
While the cause of IBS is still largely unknown, symptoms often include some combination of abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea and/or constipation. If you or someone you know is living with IBS, here are 10 tips for improving bowel health:
- Add More Fiber. Fiber supports healthy digestive function by helping to absorb and eliminate toxins in the colon that may aggravate IBS symptoms.‡
- Limit Fried and Fatty Foods. Fried foods and certain fatty meats may contribute to IBS. Be sure to consume these types of foods in moderation.
- Cut Back on Caffeine. Highly caffeinated foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea, soda and chocolate) have been shown to worsen IBS symptoms.
- Avoid Foods High in Sulfur. Some foods that are healthy—including veggies such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, and broccoli—are high in sulfur and may actually trigger IBS symptoms. Opt for low-sulfur veggies instead.
- Don’t Rule Out Food Sensitivity. IBS symptoms may stem from an underlying food sensitivity; the two most common are gluten and dairy. A gluten-free diet, dairy-free diet (or both) may help improve IBS symptoms in some people.
- Be Kind to Your Digestive Tract. Many herbs and natural ingredients such as marshmallow root, slippery elm, and the amino acid L-glutamine have been found to help nourish and soothe the intestinal tract and bowel.‡
- Promote Balance with Probiotics. Eating more probiotic foods helps maintain a balanced internal environment and supports optimal digestion and bowel health.‡
- Drink Plenty of Water. Drinking plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces every day) helps flush out toxins and other harmful microbes that may be causing IBS symptoms.
- Consider Colon Hydrotherapy. IBS sufferers—especially those with severe symptoms—may find that natural colon hydrotherapy helps cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.
- Stay Informed with the IBS Information App. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) provides a mobile app to help people learn more about IBS. IBS Info is available for use on iOS and Android platforms.