• mamasmaternalhealth

Foods to Increase Energy Levels During Pregnancy

Updated: Jan 29



When we ask women how their pregnancies are going we typically get one of three answers: Lots of morning sickness, my body hurts, and I'm tired ALL the time. So we decided to write posts that address these common issues. If you would like to learn more about how to decrease symptoms of morning sickness through diet you can find it here! Or if you are looking to help relieve some join/back pain, we recommend checking out our prenatal yoga blog post here!


For all others, we are full steam ahead on ways that you can increase your energy levels just through foods!


We first want to break it down for you... Before we list a bunch of foods that are supposed to give you energy we want to explain WHY, why are they energy giving and not just placebo effect.


Vitamins and Minerals play a HUGE role in in energy levels because they play an even bigger role in the body! We have always heard that vitamins and minerals are good for you, but do you know why? They not only help us stay healthy but each one plays a main role in your body functioning. Just think if you wanted to drive your car to the store but you got it and only had 3 wheels or no gas pedal... that's what it's like not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs daily. Think of how much harder your body has to work to do everything!


So first we wanted to discuss B vitamins because not only does each one have a role to play but they specifically work within your metabolism. All of the B vitamins play a critical role in the transformation of the food you eat into a component called ATP, which is a fancy name for energy used by your body. They also play a role in neural health and mood. Deficiencies in B12, B6, and folate is related to higher rates of depression and anxiety. So they're pretty important, right? Are you ready to meet them?


The B vitamins are Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, B12, B5, B6, biotin, and folate. But where can you get each of these? Many are found in similar places such as fortified grains, meats or animal proteins, and legumes. But let's get more specific...


Thiamin-> grains

Niacin-> pork

Riboflavin-> milk/dairy

B12-> animal proteins (chicken, beef, fish, pork)

B5-> legumes, dairy, meat

B6-> meat, salmon, sweet potato

Biotin-> egg yolks

Folate-> leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards)


Next, we have Magnesium which is a mineral. It activates the ATP we talked about earlier to be able to convert to energy for your body to use. Essentially it makes the energy available to your body after the B vitamins do their job. Magnesium also has been tied to sleep, so if you are feeling like your sleep has been less than adequate, try getting some more magnesium in your diet and see what it can do for you.


You can get magnesium from a variety of foods: leafy green veggies, whole grains, nuts/seeds, legumes, and fish as well (make sure to stick with the low mercury fish).


Moving right along...


We LOVE the mineral iron. ITS SO IMPORTANT ahhh. But seriously during pregnancy, it's not only important for the growth of your baby but your own health as well (which is just as important!). Iron carries oxygen to the red blood cells which is how the rest of your body gets oxygen. Have you ever tried holding your breath and then tried to run a mile? How do you think it would go? Yeah, you're right... not good...


Okay a little less drastic, trying to talk after walking up a couple of flights of stairs, you can do it but it takes some effort. Iron is super helpful for your body to function as effectively and efficiently as possible!


You can find iron in a lot of different kinds of foods. There is heme and non-heme iron which is essentially the plant-based iron vs animal-based iron. The only difference is that non-heme iron needs a little extra help getting absorbed into the body. Hint: Vit C increases non heme iron absorption. Iron is typically found in meat or other animal products, but its also in spinach and pistachios as well as a few others.


Vitamin D is also a great way to increase energy because of its crucial role in mood and metabolism regulation. This is why it is the perfect nutrient to improve your energy levels. You can find vitamin D fortified in your milk or non-dairy alternatives, as well as in foods such as salmon, eggs, and mushrooms. The best way to get vitamin D is via the sun! Yes, your body converts sunlight into vitamin D to give you a boost of energy and improve your mood!


Lastly, you want to make sure that you are drinking enough water, yes water. If your body doesn't have enough water it doesn't function properly. Water is needed in all organ functions, absorption/transport of nutrients such as the B vitamins, and gives you the overall ability to stay active.


We hope you found this guide to be helpful and if you are feeling overwhelmed about how to incorporate these foods into your diet, please email us at mamasmaternalhealth@gmail.com ! We would love to help you be happy, healthy, and productive before, during, and after your pregnancy.


Until next time! Coaches Cassie and Mikayla

As always... Your health today is a LIFETIME of health for you AND your baby.


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References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/vitamin-b12-and-depression/faq-20058077


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