Ground Flax Seed: Flax seed has many health benefits. It helps fight cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. What you may not know is that it is also great for constipation, depression and your immune system. All things that sometimes give you trouble during and after pregnancy. It is packed full of Omega 3's and Omega 6. Both of these are very important while pregnant and nursing, so I try to incorporate it whenever possible. Along with smoothies, it goes nicely in oatmeal and pancakes too!
Coconut Water: Yes, that's right. I said coconut water, not coconut milk. Though coconut milk is full of good things too! Basically, coconut water is what Gatorade, Powerade and Vitamin Water wishes they could be. Everyone in your family can benefit from drinking coconut water, particularly in the summer, but there are some great benefits for pregnancy and nursing. Loss of electrolytes is what causes dehydration. While water alone is excellent for you, it does not replace the electrolytes your body is losing! I have found this electrolyte packed drink incredibly helpful while breastfeeding. I have a lot going out of my body right now and this really helps replenish me. It also helps with heartburn and keeps things "moving" to prevent constipation. This is also the perfect drink while you are in labor. You don't need to drink nearly as much as you do water to hydrate, meaning you can take a sip here and there and know your body has what it needs to continue. Not only that, because it pumps your body full of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals it really increases your energy level! Coconut water has so many more benefits than I can list here, google it!
Kefir or Yoghurt: Probiotics are an important part of strengthening the immune system. This is important when you are pregnant especially because your immune system takes care of your baby more than it takes care of you! It is also important for digestion, another thing that is compromised while pregnant. The digestion process slows down so your body has time to absorb more nutrients and as your pregnancy continues the baby begins smooshing stomach making it even more difficult. Probiotics also find their way to your milk, helping your little one develop healthy immune and digestive systems! A fantastic benefit to using Kefir or yoghurt (particularly greek yoghurt) is it's also a great source of protein. Something that is vital during pregnancy and breastfeeding!
Leafy Greens: I'm not gonna lie, green smoothies are something I struggle with at times. However, during pregnancy and while nursing our body requires a lot more iron. While pregnant we need it for the increased blood supply to prevent anemia and while nursing we need it because a lot of our iron is going to the baby. Leafy greens are perfect for this because they are rich in both iron and calcium. The calcium plays a key role in your body being able to absorb the iron. Despite them not being my favorite thing, I have found that you can really mask the "green" taste quite well with fruits like pineapple, apple, ginger, banana and just about any selection of berries. It just so happens that all of those fruits are incredibly beneficial to you as well! So, if you are in need of some extra iron, try tossing in a big handful of spinach, kale or dandelion greens!
Pregnancy and Nursing Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)
1 cup Coconut Water
(more if you like a thinner smoothie)
1 cup Kefir or Greek Yoghurt
(flavored or plain)
3 tbs Ground Flax Seed
1 lg handful of Dark Leafy Greens
2 cups of your favorite Berry Mixture
1/2 cup Pineapple
1/2 - 1 Banana
Put all ingredients except the honey into your blender. Blend until smooth, add honey to taste and blend until mixed through. Poor it into a glass and drink up!
It is important to remember that our bodies need lots of fuel to continue building and then growing a baby. For most women a smoothie alone is a perfect snack but not a perfect meal! Enjoy your smoothie with more protein rich foods like eggs and turkey bacon.
What are some of your "go to" foods while pregnant and nursing?
Written By Happily Domestic Contributor: Brittney Thompson