Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Caffeine Conundrum

(NAPSI)-Here's eye-opening news for many mothers-to-be: Experts at the American Dietetic Association address the question of whether pregnant women can safely drink coffee in a new book.

"Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy" (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), by registered dietitian Elizabeth M. Ward, gives practical advice based on the latest scientific research about the relationship between diet and pregnancy.

"As a registered dietitian and a mother of three, I know how difficult it is to wade through all of the news regarding diet and pregnancy," Ward says.

Caffeine is a stimulant that slightly increases blood pressure and heart rate. Nevertheless, "most experts agree that a small amount of caffeine each day is safe during pregnancy," says Ward. "A more important issue is that drinking too many beverages with caffeine may crowd other more nutritious choices, such as milk and 100 percent juice, out of your diet, so choose wisely," Ward recommends.

The book provides a list of nearly 65 foods and their caffeine content, plus numerous recipes for healthful and tasty meals, drinks and snacks during pregnancy.

Here's a way to get the taste of a coffee shop beverage without all the caffeine and get some much-needed nutrients, such as protein and calcium, in the process.

Mocha Java Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

1 tablespoon warm water

1 teaspoon decaffeinated instant coffee granules

1 cup 1% low-fat milk

2 tablespoons fat-free chocolate syrup

1 ice cube

Dissolve coffee granules in the warm water, then place in a blender or food processor. Add milk, chocolate syrup and ice cube. Blend on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until frothy. Pour into tall glass and drink immediately.

Per serving: Calories: 211; Total fat: 3 grams; Saturated fat: 2 grams; Trans fat: none; Cholesterol: 12 milligrams; Sodium: 135 milligrams; Carbohydrates: 38 grams; Dietary fiber: 1 gram; Protein: 9 grams; Calcium: 300 milligrams; Iron: 1 milligram

The book is available at bookstores and online retailers and from the American Dietetic Association at Click on "Shop."

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