What to Do About Chemicals in Pregnant Women: A green solution.

What to Do About Chemicals in Pregnant Women: A green solution.

Here is the fifth take-home lesson from The Environmental Health Perspective article, Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women.

Lesson 5: A green solution. Leafy green.

Yes, we want to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy, both through simple personal choices and through public policy.

But there’s also growing evidence that certain potent nutrients found in some plant-based foods can prevent, reduce, or repair damage from toxic exposures when they do occur.

Researchers at Duke University demonstrated expected problems such as obesity, altered reproductive function, and increased cancer risk in animals whose mothers were exposed to the plastic chemical BPA during pregnancy.

Here’s the exciting part: when the pregnant mothers also got extra folic acid, a nutrient most common in green leafy vegetables (think “foliage”), this completely erased the BPA damage in their offspring. It worked through a process called epigenetics, the turning on and off of key genes.

Spinach and kale chips aren’t the only protective foods, but they are a good start. There are a rainbow of foods known to prevent and repair damage from threats in the environment.

My all-star list for pregnant women, children, and – really – for all of us, to follow over the next several days. Bon appetit!

Read More in this Series:
Lesson 1: It’s a peak behind the curtain.
Lesson 2: All products are eco-products.
Lesson 3: Public policy changes your body.
Lesson 4: Your choices do matter
Lesson 5: A green solution. Leafy green.

Dolinoy DC, Huang D, and Jirtle RJ. Maternal nutrient supplementation counteracts bisphenol A-induced DNA hypomethylation in early development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 7 Aug 2007; 104(32):13056-13061

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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