Making green smoothies are a super easy and fun way to get some of the very important nutrients into your pregnant body for you and your baby. Yes, you can cook dark leafy greens, but you should know that just 10-15 minutes of cooking kale, for instance, destroys more than half of the water soluble vitamins, such as vit. C. Smoothies are a delicious way to preserve and consume the raw nutrients. This is also a great (secret) way of increasing your bio-available protein which is one of the most important parts of growing a healthy (and smart) baby and staying categorized as a low risk pregnancy.
Vary the use of spinach, kale, chard, bok choy, and mixed southern greens (collards, mustards, turnip tops - tip: sold already chopped and bagged together at Trader Joe's) blended with your choice of fresh or frozen fruit - blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, papaya, and the favorite go to staple - bananas. Add some water and maybe a splash of apple juice for extra sweetness if needed. Yummo way to grow a healthy baby and feel full of energy each day! People are always surprised how easy this (less than 5 min) and how good it tastes! With some experimentation, you'll figure out how to make the amount you'd like so that you can keep some in the fridge for the week. It is best to have small cups of this throughout the day, that is, if you can help from drinking a large glass down all at once. The more you consume dark leafy greens, the more you crave and enjoy them! The better your digestive system works, too! Say goodbye to constipation in pregnancy with this addition to your mornings! Your body will thank you now and forever...and if you keep up this healthy habit through breastfeeding as well, your baby will already love the flavor of leafy greens - how cool is that???
Varying the greens and fruits is important because if you do so, you will be sure to include all of the following vitamins and minerals into your diet that every pregnant mom needs (And for those wondering "Don't I get this stuff from my prenatal vitamin?" NO, They cannot come close to replacing the real thing.):
Vitamins: A, B (folic acid), C, K
Minerals: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc
Also, when you consume certain vitamins at the same time as certain minerals, you increase absorbability and usability - such as partners like Vitamin C and Iron, both found in dark leafy greens, especially raw. Another pregnancy plus!
And carotenoids! These are naturally occuring pigments that when consumed from fruit and veggie sources, are linked to people being much healthier and dramatically lowering mortality and the number of chronic illnesses.
Can't go wrong with increasing the inclusion of raw dark leafy greens into your diet, pregnant or not - but for a pregnant mama - a MUST! :) - Green smoothies aid in the prevention of increasingly common problems occuring in pregnancies in addition to "morning" sickness such as pre-eclampsia, anemia, GD, HELLP, and placental abruptions. Feeding our placenta is a very important job. When these problems creep up, often in the mid to late third trimester, women frequently must be medically induced which in turn leads to higher risk of problems for mom and baby including but definitely not limited to: cesarean section, premature birth, and breastfeeding problems.
I'd imagine throwing in some parsley and other healthy herbs for pregnancy such as dandelion, nettles, red raspberry leafs, would be fantastic, but I need to find more information on how to's and such...any thoughts my herbal friends? I know some of those could be considered diuretic in certain amounts and forms...
Any other tips? Please share in the comments below!
The Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Diet
The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth book and my specific class (2006)
Birth Arts International Doula Training (2009)
Midwifery Today Conference session on Nutrition with Elizabeth Davis (2010)
The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan Weed
The Pregnancy Book, by William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN, and Linda Holt, MD