Is CBD During Pregnancy Okay?

Being pregnant means that, for nine months, you have to treat your body like a temple and be cautious about pretty much everything you put into your body because, when your unborn baby’s life is hanging in the balance, you can never be too careful. So, that means cannabis and cannabis-based products are out of the question, right? Well, not quite. While CBD’s popularity over the past few years is increasing and it is seen as a miraculous cure capable of curing everything under the sun, there is still a fair amount of controversy surrounding its use in pregnant women.

The experience of being pregnant is one of the most exciting and beautiful periods of a woman’s life; there are some rather uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms that accompany this excitement. Many pregnant women find that they are prone to nausea, morning sickness, chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia—symptoms that can be treated effectively with CBD products, such as CBD hemp oil and pure CBD.

Before we get into looking at whether or not CBD is okay to use during pregnancy, we need to clear up one very important point that people still get confused with when they consider using CBD for medical purposes. Good quality CBD is often derived from a hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3% THC. THC is the component of a cannabis plant that makes you feel high and there, it is pretty much impossible to feel any psychoactive effects as a result of using CBD oil that comes from a hemp plant.  This is precisely the reason that CBD-based products have been legalized in most countries and it is safe to use by people of all ages and even animals!

But due to the existing stigma that still hangs over marijuana and its use, not everyone seems to understand the fact that CBD oil is not the same as smoking pot. You won’t get high, you won’t feel crazy and most importantly, you won’t experience any negative side effects whatsoever.

Can I Use CBD Whilst I Am Pregnant?

In short, the technical answer is that there isn’t enough clinical evidence as yet that CBD is either safe or unsafe to use during pregnancy. Leading researchers have suggested that the only way a firm conclusion can be reached, is by examining the human endocannabinoid system that we all have internally and how it interacts and reacts with external cannabinoids like CBD.

Some physicians are inclined to believe that many people, including women who are pregnant, have a cannabinoid deficiency. This can have serious effects on someone’s overall health and can result in chronic fatigue, the onset of dementia at an early age and even fibromyalgia. Therefore, if we take this therapy into account when we consider the fact that CBD will essentially boost our cannabinoids, it would be highly beneficial for not only the mother but also for her child.

CBD vs. THC

A study was performed that clearly highlights the unfortunate news that due to its psychoactive effects, THC can interfere with a baby’s endocannabinoid system in utero, which could lead to brain defects.  But it needs to be made clear that CBD works in an entirely different way from THC. They both work with receptors in the brain, but CBD stimulates the natural cannabinoids in the body causing them to work properly and keeps hormones and chemicals in balance. Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to these receptors, so there are no psychoactive effects whatsoever.

Why Would Pregnant Women Want to Use CBD?

As we briefly mentioned earlier in this article, women almost always struggle with nausea, anxiety and different types of pain in the later stages of their pregnancy. And because pharmaceuticals are known for being highly toxic, CBD is an appealing option for treating their symptoms, as it is just as effective, yet not laden with potentially harmful side effects.

And while there is no firm decision from scientific research with regards to the safety of CBD in pregnant women, clinical studies have indeed shown that CBD oil can be therapeutically beneficial for managing issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

CBD from a Legal Standpoint

Despite that CBD is clearly beneficial to heal a range of illnesses and it is entirely legal in many states, in others, marijuana is still illegal. Therefore, it isn’t regulated or approved by the FDA for its safety or efficacy. And while those who love a conspiracy theory that Big Pharma controls the world and that the FDA should never get involved in medical marijuana, others are put off by the fact that CBD-based products are entirely unregulated. This means that no one actually knows the exact potential dangers of it being ingested by pregnant women.

There is still a distinct lack of clinical trials focusing on how CBD could potentially affect unborn babies, as most of the existing research has been looking at its efficacy with regards to treating conditions like cancer and arthritis.

Final Thoughts

At the moment, the use of CBD oil amongst pregnant women is a bit up in the air. There are mothers who absolutely swear by it and have reported that their children appear to be smarter and more sociable than other kids of a similar age and there are some who are convinced that it should be avoided at all costs. What we do know is that while there may not be any immediately harmful consequences of using CBD during pregnancy, we don’t know what a safe dosage is, or the best way to take it. This is why you should always do your research and get a few professional opinions as to whether you should take the risk or not. If you are struggling with mental and emotional difficulties during pregnancy, but you are opposed to taking traditional pharmaceuticals, then you could speak to a homeopathic physician to come up with a natural treatment plan that will ensure your own safety during pregnancy, as well as that of your baby.

 

This article by Madeleine Taylor is originally published at SundayScaries.

 

Mediterranean Diet: Heart-Healthy?

The month of February is Go Red for Heart Health Month. So, if you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in the year 1960.

The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating plus some flavorful olive oil and a glass of red wine – among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet are tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.

Researchers noted that these people were exceptionally healthy compared to Americans and had a low risk of many killer diseases. Many studies show that the Mediterranean diet can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death.

 

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol  referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it is more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.

In fact, analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as overall mortality.

The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.

For these reasons, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.

Key components of the Mediterranean Diet

 The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice. For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet there. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine, which contain saturated or trans fats.

Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat (approximately 80 percent of their calories come from fat), but most of the fat is not saturated. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. Avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.

 

A Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

There is no one “right” way to do this diet. There are many countries around the Mediterranean sea and they didn’t all eat the same things.

This blog post describes the diet that was typically prescribed in the studies that showed it to be an effective way of eating.

Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone. The plan can be adjusted to individual needs and preferences.

The Basics

Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

Eat Less Often: Red meat.

Avoid or Eliminate: Sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Unhealthy Foods to Avoid

Try to avoid these unhealthy foods and ingredients:

  • Added sugar: Soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar and many others.
  • Refined grains: White bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
  • Trans fats: Found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Refined Oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil and others.
  • Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labelled “low-fat” or “diet” or looks like it was made in a factory.

It is important to read ingredients on labels if you want to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.

Foods to Include in Mediterranean Diet

You should base your diet on these healthy, unprocessed Mediterranean foods.

  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
  • Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
  • Whole Grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole grain bread and pasta.
  • Fish and Seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey
  • Eggs: Chicken
  • Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
  • Herbs and Spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil.

Whole, single ingredient foods are the key to good health.

Mediterranean Sample Meal Plan

This is a sample meal plan for one week on the Mediterranean diet.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Organic Greek or Mountain High yogurt with strawberries and oats.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with vegetables.
  • Dinner: A tuna salad, dressed in olive oil. A piece of fruit for dessert.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins.
  • Lunch: Leftover tuna salad from the night before.
  • Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, tomatoes and onions. A piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich, with cheese and fresh vegetables.
  • Dinner: Mediterranean lasagna – use organic, brown rice pasta.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Yogurt with sliced fruits and nuts.
  • Lunch: Leftover lasagna from the night before.
  • Dinner: Broiled salmon, served with brown rice and vegetables.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables in olive oil.
  • Lunch: Yogurt with strawberries, oats and nuts.
  • Dinner: Grilled lamb, with salad and baked sweet potato.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, nuts and an apple.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with vegetables.
  • Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made with whole wheat or gluten-free, topped with vegan or cheese without hormones, vegetables and olives.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with veggies and olives.
  • Lunch: Leftover pizza from the night before.
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken, with vegetables and a sweet potato. Fruit for dessert.

Feel free to adjust the portions and food choices based on your own needs and preferences.

Simple Shopping List

It is always a good idea to shop at the perimeter of the store, that’s usually where the whole foods are found.

Always try to choose the least processed option. Organic is best, but only if you can afford it.

  • Vegetables: Carrots, onions, celery, broccoli, spinach, kale, garlic,etc
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, pears, etc.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
  • Frozen veggies: Choose mixes with healthy vegetables.
  • Grains: Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, etc.
  • Legumes: Lentils, pulses, beans, etc.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashwes, etc.
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Condiments: sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, etc.
  • Fish: Salmon, sardines, mackarel, trout.
  • Shrimp and shellfish.
  • Sweet Potatoes.
  • Cheese without artificial hormones added.
  • Greek Yogurt.
  • Organic or Hormone-Free Chicken.
  • Organic or Free Range eggs.
  • Olives.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It is best to clear all unhealthy temptations from your home, including sodas, ice cream, candy, pastries, white bread, crackers and all sorts of processed foods.

If you only have good food in your home, you will eat good food.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

https://authoritynutrition.com/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan/