Elizabeth's Anti-Eclampsia Salad

Pre-eclampsia (aka pre-eclamptic toxemia, toxemia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension) is a disorder of the liver and kidneys that affects around 5% of pregnant women. Signs include elevated blood pressure plus protein in the urine and fluid retention. (Elevated blood pressure by itself does not mean you have pre-eclampsia, and is actually normal at the end of pregnancy, along with swollen feet and ankles -- talk to your midwife if you're concerned.)

Left untreated, pre-eclampsia can cause severe headaches, problems with your kidneys and liver, and it can interfere with placental function. In extreme cases, it can lead to seizures, changing the diagnosis to eclampsia.

Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause is unknown, but:
  • Thinner-than-normal blood vessels in the placenta caused by an inappropriate reaction of the uterus to the placenta may be a factor.
  • Pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, being in your teens or over the age of 40 may also increase risk.
  • The risk of pre-eclampsia is highest in a woman's first pregnancy, but if she is pregnant with a new partner, her chances are about the same as if it were her first pregnancy.
While its cause is up for debate, many midwives believe there is a very strong link between nutrition, especially adequate protein intake, and pre-eclampsia. The work of Dr. Tom Brewer focused on this link, and he recommended 80-100 grams of protein each day. And so, dear friends, here's a little something I started making during my first pregnancy. Salads are inherently flexible, and the ingredients listed below can load you up with as much as 40 grams of protein in a single meal -- good for you and your baby regardless of your feelings on the link between pre-eclampsia and protein.

Bon appetit!

Elizabeth's Anti-Eclampsia Salad
Mixed dark greens (mustard + Romaine is a good combo)
One hard-boiled egg, sliced or chopped
Cold chicken (preferred) or Quorn/Bocca chicken, sliced
1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese
Dried cranberries (unsweetened)
Whichever fruits and veggies you like, such as carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado
Unsalted sunflower seeds
Dressing (I highly recommend walnut oil and a tasty vinegar)

Leftover cooked quinoa, cous cous, or lentils
Orange slices (great for boosting iron absorption!)

More information, research and theories on pre-eclampsia.

No comments: