I was pregnant, and as much as I loved being pregnant, I didn't love eating my greens. But when you're pregnant, you end up eating them whether you like it or not. And I was really not liking it.
I started adding more spinach and kale to my diet, but I wanted to find an easier way to get more greens in without all the fuss. I started looking around and stumbled on several green powders, but wasn't sure if they were safe to take while I was pregnant.
You may be asking yourself the same question.
There are a lot of things to consider when you're pregnant, and one of them is what you put into your body. So, are greens powders safe to drink during pregnancy?
Here's what I found out... The short answer is, it depends!
Most Greens Powders Are Not Designed For Pregnant Women
A pregnant woman's diet is important for her health, as well as the growth and development of her baby. Certain nutrients are especially important for pregnant women to get enough of to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Some of these nutrients include folate, iron, and choline.
Folate helps to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. Iron is important for preventing low birth weight, anemia, and even postpartum depression. Choline supports healthy brain and nervous system development. This is why prenatal supplements are so critical to the health of mom and baby.
You'll find that most greens powders are designed for athletes or people who are looking to improve their overall health. However, these products are not always ideal for women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant and may not be safe during pregnancy. They often lack the important nutrients that mothers need during pregnancy, such as folate and iron, and can often include ingredients like stimulants, adaptogens, sugars, etc.
Pregnant Mothers Should AVOID These Ingredients
As a pregnant mother, you want to do everything you can to ensure a healthy pregnancy. This means being careful about the food and drinks you consume. While it's important to eat a balanced diet, there are some ingredients you should avoid during pregnancy.
One ingredient often found in greens powders is caffeine, often hidden in herbs like guarana.
Is Any Amount of Caffeine Safe for the Baby During Pregnancy?
There have been several studies on the effects of caffeine during pregnancy, and the results have been conflicting. Some studies suggest that there is no link between caffeine consumption and adverse outcomes, while others have found an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. However, the majority of studies have found that moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200 mg per day) is safe for both mother and child. But, there is new research that indicates that "any caffeine during pregnancy is probably not such a good idea.”
Zachary Christensen, an MD/Ph.D. candidate in the Medical Science Training Program and this paper's first author, says “What makes this unique is that we have a biological pathway that looks different when you consume caffeine through pregnancy."
Although you are likely used to consuming coffee, your baby does not have the enzymes necessary to break down caffeine. Any amount of caffeine can disrupt your baby's sleep cycle or basic activity pattern in the later stages of pregnancy. Keep in mind that coffee is a stimulant and can keep both you and your infant awake.
But what's even more concerning is this new research indicates this caffeine consumption can have lasting effects on your child's brain development and behavior. Some doctors speculate this could lead to your child having a lower IQ, shorter attention span, and higher risk for ADHD.
This is why it's best to avoid any extra caffeine found in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and even some over-the-counter headache medications.
A typical green powder ingredient to look out for is guarana which is a natural form of caffeine and can contain four times more caffeine than coffee. When you're growing your baby, you have to watch the labels and nutrition facts of all the foods and beverages you consume.
Adaptogens May or May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy 🤷♀️
Greens powders that contain adaptogens can seem like a good thing at first since they can help your body respond to stress, but adaptogens can have a powerful effect on the body, so it's best to avoid greens that contain them while you're pregnant as not to stimulate and agitate your little one.
While there are no clear studies to confirm or deny the safety or efficacy of adaptogens, we feel it is important that everyone is informed, so that they can make the best decisions for their own needs.
Depending on the source, some information state that it is safe to consume during pregnancy, whereas another source may say it is unsafe. Therefore, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider or someone trained in natural medicines/herbs during pregnancy.
Fillers, Artificial Ingredients & Sugars Oh My!
Greens powders, smoothies, and supplements are a popular way to get in more vitamins and minerals, but not all greens powders are created equal. Some contain hidden fillers, artificial ingredients, or added sugars, which can negate many of the health benefits.
Fillers are additives that help bulk up the weight of food with less expensive ingredients that are low quality and with very little (or none at all) nutritional value. These ingredients do not offer any health benefits but are added to reduce the cost of producing a food product.
Artificial Ingredients & Synthetic Vitamins
Artificial ingredients are synthetic ingredients added to food to enhance its appearance, texture, taste, shelf life, freshness, and nutrition. They are not found in nature and therefore must be synthetically produced as artificial ingredients.
Food manufacturers are required to list all ingredients on the food label. The label must list the names of any FDA-certified color additives, but some ingredients can be listed collectively as "flavors," "spices," "artificial flavoring," or "artificial colors", without naming each one. So, it's important to read your labels and get clarity from the company if needed.
Then, there's sugar. Sugar, or more importantly, added sugars, is one of the worst things you can consume while pregnant. It may contribute to excessive weight gain during pregnancy, as well as increasing the risk of developing other pregnancy complications such as GDM (Gestational Diabetes), preeclampsia, and preterm birth.
There have been some suggestions that the energy requirements during pregnancy are increased, and therefore can lead to pregnancy cravings. This happens for about 50–90% of pregnant women, which often have one or more food cravings during gestation that can include ice cream, sweet foods (chocolate, fruit, and fruit juice), and salty foods, such as chips.
In 2018, there was a published study that covered the effects of a women’s sugar consumption while pregnant. What they found was that women who had high-sugar diets and consumed sugar-sweetened beverages during pregnancy were more likely to have children with poorer cognitive skills including non-verbal abilities to solve problems and verbal memory.
Green powders are a fantastic option if you're looking for nutrient-dense foods that will help support you during pregnancy. They're high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, making them an excellent choice.
Can Greens Powders Help Have A Healthier, Smarter Baby?
Growing evidence shows that optimal dietary intake of folate and choline (both involved in methylation) is important for fetal brain development. A large percentage of the population has diets that are low in one or both of these nutrients, making it even more important for pregnant women to up their intake of these nutrients.
Folate vs. Folic Acid. Aren't they the same thing?
Folate is an incredibly important nutrient for mothers who are trying to conceive or are pregnant. This B vitamin not only boosts fertility but also nourishes the baby during pregnancy. Additionally, folate has been shown to reduce the risk of certain birth defects and help create a smoother pregnancy overall.
Folic acid and folate are both essential nutrients for the body. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, and it is found in supplements and fortified foods. Folate is the natural form of the nutrient, and it is found in leafy green vegetables and legumes.
Both folic acid and folate are important for the development of the nervous system, and they can help to prevent birth defects. However, folate is considered to be more effective than folic acid in terms of neural development.
Additionally, many women have trouble processing folic acid, and it can build up in the body to unhealthy levels. Folate, on the other hand, is excreted by the body when it's not needed.
One of the best ways to naturally increase your folate is by consuming dark leafy greens. This is where green juice powders really shine, especially when they contain ingredients like Barley Grass Juice, Spirulina, and Chlorella. These functional superfoods have abundant amounts of folate along with many other helpful nutrients that support mom and baby.
Choline: The Essential Nutrient You Didn't Know You Were Missing
Choline is an essential nutrient for a pregnant woman. It helps to support the development of the baby's brain and nervous system, and it can also help prevent some birth defects. Choline also plays a role in maintaining healthy cell membranes, which is important for the proper development of the fetus.
Getting enough choline during pregnancy can help to improve both maternal and infant health. "Most pregnant women in the U.S. are not achieving choline intake recommendations of 450 mg/day and would likely benefit from boosting their choline intakes through dietary and/or supplemental approaches." Most prenatal vitamins do not contain an adequate source of choline, therefore you must include sources of choline as part of your diet during pregnancy.
You commonly find choline in foods like eggs, meats, nuts, and green cruciferous veggies, but one of the best sources of choline for pregnant moms is lecithin.
Unfortunately, most lecithins in products come from genetically modified soy that is heavily processed, which can lead to various health problems. However, sunflower lecithin is free of allergens, is non-GMO, plant-based, and cold-pressed. Making it the perfect lecithin for pregnant women to consume.
Here's Why You SHOULD Be Drinking a Baby-Safe Greens Powder While Pregnant
You're probably working hard to get the proper nutrition for yourself and your little one. One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is to make sure you are eating a nutritious diet.
Getting your greens in during pregnancy is an important part of maternal healthy weight gain, keeping blood pressure in check, improving your iron levels, and having a healthy birth weight for the baby. But it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need from food alone. This is where a supplement can come in handy.
A quality organic greens powder can help you bridge the gap and ensure you're getting the nutrients you need, including vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, B6, folate(B-9), vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium. It's a convenient way to get all the benefits of dark leafy greens, without having to find the time to prepare or cook them.
If you are looking for an easy way to improve your diet, a mother-friendly greens powder is a great option.
Finally! A Green Superfood Powder That's Safe During Pregnancy!
If you're looking for an organic greens powder that is safe to drink while pregnant and contains cold-pressed barley grass juice powder, be sure to check out our Superfoods for Motherhood™. It is specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and is free of fillers, artificial ingredients, and added sugars. Plus, it's 100% Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Non-GMO.