Just as eating healthily throughout pregnancy is important, what you eat after baby is born is equally so. You want a well balanced diet to ensure that you are getting every chance to get mind and body back to “normal”.
The most common complaints after giving birth or to give it its medical term “postpartum” are mood changes and exhaustion. You can overcome these by eating the right foods.
Breastfeeding or not, the experts state that eating the right foods rather than supplements is the best way to get the right nutrients. Remember that every individual is different – what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander so if you have any conditions always consult a healthcare professional.
Keeping it simple
It will be much easier to maintain a healthy diet and regime if you don’t over complicate things. The foods that are of most benefit are fresh natural foods such as meat, fish, and vegetables.
We don’t pretend to be professionals in this field; we just want to give you some useful tips and perhaps take you some way down the road to getting your body and mind into tip top shape.
Eating for energy
The most effective way to keep your body energised is by eating smaller amounts more frequently. This is a good way to avoid those energy slumps. The human body was designed to graze, and as well as fending off fatigue, this will also help to keep the metabolism working.
A high fibre breakfast such as oatmeal, bran or any fibre cereal or bread is a good option in the morning, and as constipation is a common complaint after giving birth, a high fibre breakfast will also help to keep your movements regular. Be Warned: this is not a licence to munch your way through chocolate & crisps all day…that can only lead to tears – yours, not your babies.
Vitamin E is a good source of energy and helps build stamina. It is also an antioxidant. Foods containing Vitamin E are for eg. Nuts, seeds, olives and asparagus to name but a few. Nuts and seeds are excellent providers of many of the vitamins and nutrients that you need.
Vitamin B3 is considered good for keeping your metabolism going. Foods such as pork, chicken and fish like salmon or mackerel can help here.
We all know the foods that will deplete our energy levels yet for some reason for many of us, these are the ones we are most attracted to like caffeine, alcohol, and refined flour products – that’s bread and cakes!
Finally try to drink plenty of liquids – dehydration is a high factor in causing fatigue.
Eating for your mood
We’re not talking post natal depression here rather postpartum blues. Many studies have been done on the effects of diet on our mental state. We are not experts in this in any way but only attempt to offer some very loose guidelines. If you are suffering from depression or feeling more than just a little down, please talk to your doctor.
There are some core foods which have been identified as helping to ward off the blues.
Zinc is important in the defence of anxiety, and irritability and can be found in tuna and eggs amongst many other foods.
Persons suffering from depression have often been found to be low In vitamin C.
Green vegetables – spinach & kale, citrus fruits, and raspberries are just the tip of the iceberg.
Omega 3 – for this choose fish like sardines & salmon.
Calcium is usually on the list of must haves for females and is naturally occurring in foods like dairy, seeds and some fish.
Those folic acid supplements that you probably swallowed religiously before and after conception can be dusted off and reintroduced to your diet now, or alternatively you can get munching on leafy green vegetables (especially kale), fruit, avocado to name but a few.