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Health Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers

Puneet Kaur

Puneet Kaur
09 January 2021

This article is written by Puneet Kaur. She is a well-known nutritionist, fitness enthusiast and a lifestyle changer. An army wife, a mom and the CEO of 'Its Healthy Moms', she focuses on the overall wellness of women.

The food you eat when you are lactating does affect your body as well as your growing baby. Breastfeeding diet can be confusing sometimes; How much to eat? Which foods to avoid? How will your diet affect the baby? You might be pondering, why it is so important to stick to a healthy, nutrient-dense diet while breastfeeding. In addition to promoting your overall health, a healthy diet is essential for ensuring that your baby is getting all the nutrients they need for their growth and development.

Diet Tips for Breastfeeding

Methi leaves have a number of nutrients that are crucial for health.

100g of Kasuri Methi gives:

New mothers usually need more calories to fulfil their nutritional requirements while breastfeeding. While women are advised to consume around 350 extra calories per day during pregnancy, this number increases during the time they breastfeed their infants. Thus, lactating mothers require an additional 600 calories per day during the first six months in their diet after delivery, and 520 calories for the next six months as the baby will also be taking other foods. To get all the essential nutrients while breastfeeding, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. The food groups that must be consumed and avoided at this juncture are elaborated ahead.

Whole Grains

Go for a variety of whole grains like oats, barley, quinoa, and whole wheat flour.

FruitsFenugreek Leaves Nutrition

Have two servings of fruit every day. Try to include one citrus fruit in your diet along with banana, mango, and melons. Having apricots and dates can raise prolactin levels. Prolactin is the hormone that signals body to produce milk.

Vegetables

Include three servings of a variety of vegetables, especially leafy greens, peas, sweet potato, pumpkin, and carrots.

Protein-filled foods

Opt for protein-rich foods 2-3 times every day. These can be like eggs, meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, dals and beans like chana and rajma. You may also try the Tata Sampann Jeera Sattu. This is made with 100% unpolished Chana Dal. Also, it does not have any other mix of powders/flours. It is naturally high in protein and minerals like zinc, iron & phosphorus. Also, it is a source of manganese and potassium.

Milk

Both pregnancy as well as breastfeeding can leach calcium from the bones. Milk and milk products are superb sources of calcium. Hence, preferably go for cow's milk, curd, and paneer.

Iodine-rich foods

Iodine supports the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Your little one depends completely on your feed as a source of iodine. Lack of iodine in breastfeeding mothers can be a risk for babies. Thus do have enough iodine rich foods like dairy products. You should also include iodised salts, such as Tata Salt, in your diet.

Water

Drink water whenever you feel thirsty. Your body demands extra fluids while breastfeeding in order to stay hydrated. Best is to drink a glass of water every time you feed. Increase intake of water, even more if the colour of your urine is yellowish.

What to Avoid

Restrict beverages including caffeine and those with added sugars. Caffeine in your milk might bother your baby by interfering with his/ her sleep. There isn't any level of alcohol in breast milk that is considered safe for a baby. The safest choice for breastfeeding mothers is not to have any alcoholic beverages. Limit consumption of fish and seafood that may contain mercury.

Breastfeeding will certainly bring countless challenges and many changes to your life. Hence, stay calm and take care of yourself while nourishing your baby



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

Eat Breakfast

Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

Skin Care

For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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