Food to help your energy levels when ttc or pregnant
Kicking (or limiting) caffeine on top of growing a human being can take a toll on your energy levels. Or if you are undergoing ART, the process can be exhausting in itself!
Cutting or limiting caffeine (including coffee and tea) is one lifestyle change that many women make during their reproductive time. We all know that the medical community does not condone multiple servings of Grande Starbucks coffees daily, but that doesn’t mean that following this guidance is easy! The standard recommendation is to keep the caffeine intake under 200 mg/day. For some women, 200 mg/day is much less than what they are used to drinking.
I dug into the research and found some foods that research suggests may help support energy levels. If you are struggling without your afternoon pick-me-up, try one of these foods out instead to give your body some natural energy.
Ok, water is not really a food and doesn’t provide any energy since it is calorie-free. I felt that water is important to mention before we get going because sometimes dehydration can make people feel sluggish. If you are feeling like you are dragging, sometimes having a glass of water is the simple step that could do the trick!
Bananas are an awesome pregnancy food. They are easy to tolerate, cheap, and portable. They are a natural source of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamins that support energy levels in your body. There is actual data that suggests that bananas are an effective energy source during exercise (1) ! Bananas are naturally sweet and easy to toss in your purse before you leave the house for the day. Combine it with a protein and fiber source like a handful of nuts to help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
ALMONDS AND PECANS
Almonds and pecans are excellent snack choices for many reasons, one being that they are rich in the mineral manganese. Manganese is a mineral that helps your enzymes break down carbohydrates and proteins to be able to use them as energy. In turn, eating foods that are rich in this mineral may help you feel more energized. The fact that almonds and pecans are portable and delish is just a bonus! PS-Sweet potatoes are rich in manganese too!
Goji berries. These cute and trendy berries are rich in antioxidants and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are an amazing ttc food for both men and women, and are a great topping on oatmeal and smoothies. Consuming these berries has been linked to many outcomes, including improved energy level, quality of sleep, and ability to focus on activities. It has also been shown to reduce fatigue (2) . My personal favorite goji berries are these.
KIWI, ORANGE, AND STRAWBERRY
Vitamin C-rich foods like kiwi, oranges, and strawberries. Research has suggested that low levels of vitamin C is associated with fatigue (3). Therefore, choosing foods rich in Vitamin C may help combat low energy and fatigue. Strawberries in particular have been shown to play a role in cellular metabolism, so you get double the benefit if you include those sweet treats into your diet (4).
GREEN LEAFY VEGGIES
Green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, and turnip greens may help combat your exhaustion. Iron deficiency anemia can zap a person’s energy. If you have this diagnosis, eating iron-rich foods will do your body good. Replenishing your body with iron from food and supplements may help you combat fatigue feelings (5). Combining iron-rich foods that come from plant sources (like spinach) with source of Vitamin C (like kiwis or oranges) has been shown to help enhance the absorption of the mineral.
If it is prepared in a healthy way, popcorn is an excellent choice to help boost energy levels. The carbohydrate and fiber ratio helps sustain energy and provide a steady release of carbs. It is a very satisfying snack (6). Popcorn is also inexpensive and loaded with natural antioxidants.
Just make sure to not use the old-school microwavable bags of popcorn when ttc or pregnant. Microwavable bags may be coated internally with fluorotelomers, a substance that breaks down into PFOA, a compound transmitted directly to the fetus which has been linked to developmental problems, as well as cancer, liver disease, and thyroid disease. While not all bags contain this, it is better to be safe than sorry and pop your corn sans the convenient bags. My family uses this baby and it pops our kernels perfectly!
Limiting your caffeine intake can be challenging, but hopefully with these suggestions you can make some changes in your diet to help you feel a little more energized. Most importantly, these choices are safe for when you are ttc or pregnant, and are drug-free and stimulant-free ways to nourish your body.
For more ttc and pregnancy tips, check out more of my blog posts!