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iron in pregnancy

  • Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Snacks

    Lemon Poppy Seed 1Breakfast? Snack? Desert? It’s all three! These delightful muffins will satisfy pregnancy cravings and support your prenatal health (and make your house smell heavenly!). Summer is leaving, but lemons are available year-round to make treats that remind you of those warm, sunny, laid-back summer days. The poppy seeds add texture and a little crunch while the quadruple citrus hit (extract, oil, zest, and juice) makes these muffins truly lemonicious!

    These are best right out of the oven (not pun intended!), but can also be stored in the refrigerator and saved to…

    -a crumble on top of vanilla ice cream

    -take as a small snack when on-the-go

    -re-heat and enjoy with coffee in the morning

    -add icing and serve as cupcakes (birthday parties, baby/bridal showers, thank-you gifts)

    These muffins are wholesome, delicate, perfectly sweet, a bit tart, and irresistible!

    Now for the pregnancy and postpartum health benefits:

    Poppy seeds are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that lowers LDL (the "bad cholesterol") and increases HDL (good cholesterol). The outer husk is a good source of fiber, which helps with healthy digestion and further reduces bad cholesterol.

    Poppy seeds are also high in pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, folic acid, and niacin. These seeds also have good amounts of minerals such as iron, copper, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium. Copper is used in the production of red blood cells. Zinc is a “co-factor” in many enzymes that regulate growth, development, and digestion. Potassium is a vital element of cell and body fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure which is also a vital health check for expecting women, particularly in the latter stages of pregnancy.

    Lemon Poppy Seed 2Oat flour is the primary source of flour, along with some amaranth and corn meal. WebMD considers whole grains a pregnancy superfood and recommends including them as a staple in your diet. WebMD stated that, “Whole grains contain more fiber and trace nutrients than processed grains, such as white bread, white rice, and white flour.” The combination of whole grains and only 5 grams total of sugar guarantees you won’t be crashing after you eat these.

    Ingredients: (makes 9 medium muffins)

    ½ cup applesauce

    ¼ cup coconut oil

    ½ teaspoon lemon extract

    4 drops orange oil

    Juice and zest of 1 meyer lemon

    ¾ cup almond milk

    1 flax egg (1 tablespoons ground flax and 3 tablespoons warm water)

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    1 cup oat flour

    1-3 tablespoons poppy seeds (however many you like)

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    ⅓ cup amaranth flour

    ½ cup cornmeal

    ¼ teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with muffin cups.

    Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

    Whisk the baking soda, amaranth flour, oat flour, cornmeal, poppy seeds and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    In a small bowl, mix the applesauce, maple syrup, almond milk, lemon extract, lemon juice, lemon zest and orange oil. Melt the coconut oil and stir into the wet mix.

    Fold the wet and dry mixes together. Pour into muffin cups. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden and set.

    Lemon Poppy Seed 3

    Nutritional Facts: (per muffin)

    calories: 212

    protein: 4

    fat: 9

    sugar: 5

    carbs: 30

  • Snack on these Valentines-Themed Beans!

    Brownie pic

    As Valentines Day fast approaches chocolate is on the brain. Pregnancy is no time to lose all your vices, or at least not the healthy ones. Who knew that a yummy brownie desert, that looks and tastes truly decadent, could be so healthy? Well there are a few secret ingredients involved, but no one will ever know the difference (not even you when you taste them!)

    The main super healthy ingredient hidden in this brownie mix is black beans. Just a half cup of cooked black beans is packed with essential vitamins for your healthy pregnancy diet. Here's the break down in vitamins and minerals for the half cup of cooked black beans:

    30% recommended daily amount of folate (aka folic acid, very important!)

    15% recommended daily amount of magnesium

    16% recommended daily amount of manganese

    10% recommended daily amount of iron

    8 grams protein

    8 grams fiber

    Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart! The combination of protein and fiber helps to steady the digestion processes and regulate blood sugar. This is very important as pregnancy is often a time when blood sugar spikes and expectant mothers are often prone to gestational diabetes. Healthy snacks like these actually help you maintain a steady and lower blood sugar.

    It is always important to include lean protein in your diet, but even more so when you’re pregnant.  The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of our bodies.  During pregnancy, these amino acids are providing the same cell-building tasks for your growing baby. The magnesium in black beans also helps with this synthesis of protein.

    Protein is also responsible for red blood cells--which as you probably know transport nutrients and oxygen to and from cells.  Red blood cells also control blood clotting, particularly those in and around the uterus and placenta.

    They hold a variety of phytonutrients (both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) which help fight cancer, decrease risk of heart disease, and reduce effects of aging.  In fact, black beans have more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than any other bean. The flavonoids found in this “magic fruit” prevent the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.

    They also provide a great base for healthy brownies!  You can’t even tell these have a whole can of beans in them.  They are moist, fudgy and loaded with antioxidants and minerals from the cacao.  Notice that is cacao, not cocoa.  Cacao is the less processed powder and is much higher in nutrients.  Cocoa is more processed, but less expensive and still contains valuable nutrients.  Whichever one you choose (cacao or cocoa) you will be sure to enjoy this very yummy desert!

    black bean brownies

    Almond Bean Brownies (16 servings)

    1 15 oz. can rinsed and drained black beans

    about 13 pitted Medjool dates

    ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk

    ½ cup almond butter

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    ¼ cup coconut oil

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg

    ¾ tsp baking soda

    ½ cup cacao or cocoa powder

    ½ tsp salt

    1 3.4-4 oz bar of dark chocolate

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.  Put the beans, dates, almond milk, almond butter, and vanilla in food processor or blender.  Blend until super smooth (approximately 3-5 minutes).

    While this is blending, whisk together the cacao/cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup.  Add the maple syrup and coconut oil mixture to the food processor and blend to combine.  Add the egg and blend until combined.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Chop the chocolate bar in small pieces and add to the batter.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

    Nutrition Facts (Per serving)

    Calories: 198

    Protein: 5 grams

    Carbs: 24 grams

    Fat: 11 grams

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

  • Are you Tired or Iron Deficent?

    As summer steams up, many of us start feeling a little lethargic. If you are living in a hot and humid area, it is easy to get the pregnancy doldrums that make our maternity weight feel like it is double, even if you aren’t expecting twins. For many women the hot weather is not the only cause of pregnancy fatigue, it may also stem from a lack of sufficient iron in your diet.

    Research shows that only one in five women begin their pregnancy with sufficient iron levels. No matter the geography, iron is the most common and widespread deficiency in women around the world and the leading cause of fatigue in women. Other symptoms from low iron are poor concentration and quick mental fatigue as well as a low tolerance for exercise and physical exertion.

    During pregnancy women’s iron requirements double and without the proper diet and supplementation iron reserves can continue to deplete with each subsequent pregnancy. Studies show that as many as 50% of pregnant women are iron deficient and 20% of non-pregnant women. Clearly we all need to be getting more iron in our diet or at least supplementing more.

    If your diet has 15mg of iron and 30mg of iron supplementation you are probably meeting your iron requirement during pregnancy. If you are not meeting your iron requirement, an easy way to add more iron to your diet is to eat more iron-enriched cereals and grains (read the labels) as well as snacking on dried fruits such as raisins and prunes. Also, foods in the bean family such as lentils, chick peas and soybeans are all high in iron as well. We all know that dark leafy greens like Popeye recommends such as spinach and collards are rich in iron and very good for you.

    Other foods high in iron are red meat and egg yolks. But even if you are a vegetarian or a vegan there are still plenty of iron rich food options for you. Talk to your doctor about a supplement (or have a blood test) if you suspect you may be low on iron in your diet, particularly if you are pregnant.

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