The Hudak family has a wonderful addition with the birth of my beautiful niece, Josephine Rose. Josie is smiling in this picture because her mama, Jessica, took excellent care of herself throughout her pregnancy, resulting in one happy, healthy baby!
A vibrant, healthy diet full of nourishing foods ensures not only that your baby is receiving vital nutrients from your milk, but also that you will maintain good physical and emotional health for yourself. Here are 5 Superfoods that new moms everywhere should be consuming.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collard greens, watercress, etc.) are especially important while pregnant or lactating because they supply so many vital nutrients - phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Vitamins A and C assist in wound healing, so if you've had a C-section or episiotomy, these vitamins can help in repairing these wounds. Spinach and kale are also good sources of Vitamin K, assisting in bone health which is crucial, as often calcium is going to your baby. Be aware however, that certain greens like spinach and Swiss chard are high in oxalic acid, which inhibit the absorption of much of the calcium and iron. Cooking helps to neutralize some of the oxalic acid. Vegetables from the cabbage family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.) are exceptional sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. Dark green leafy vegetables and cabbage family vegetables provide important nutrients that help to promote a plentiful milk supply for your baby.
Carrot Juice: Carrot juice provides many health benefits and is particularly beneficial for breastfeeding moms. Carrot juice contains carotene in the form of pro vitamin A. The body takes this form of the vitamin and converts carotene into vitamin A. Nursing mothers are encouraged to drink carrot juice as it not only plays an important role in an infants vitamin A supply, but it improves the both the quality and quantity of breast milk.
Coconut Oil: Human milk has a unique fatty acid composition of 45-50% saturated fat, 35% monounsaturated fat, and 15-20% polyunsaturated fat. An important component of breast milk is medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA's), principally lauric acid. These MCFA's improve nutrient absorption, aid digestive function, help regulate blood sugar levels, and protect the baby from harmful microorganisms. Unfortunately, many mother's produce very little. If breast milk does not contain enough MCFA's an infant can suffer nutritional deficiency and become vulnerable to illness. Given an ample supply of food containing MCFA's, a nursing mother will produce milk rich in these health-promoting nutrients. While cow's milk and other dairy products contain small amounts, the foods richest in medium-chain fatty acids are the tropical oils, primarily coconut oil. Ideally, preparation by the mother should take place before the baby is born, as pregnant women store fat to be used later in making their milk. After the baby is born, the fatty acids stored in her body and supplied by her daily diet are used in the production of her milk. If she has eaten and continues to eat foods that supply ample amount of MCFA's, her milk will provide maximum benefits to her baby.
Cultured and Fermented Foods: Naturally cultured and fermented foods contain enzymes and bacteria that help digest food and eliminate wastes. They also help build up friendly bacteria in the intestines, which is especially important after taking antibiotics (most hospitals give women antibiotics during labor). It's a good idea to eat plenty of fermented foods during pregnancy when your digestive system may be sluggish. They can help prevent constipation and other digestive problems, and are useful in preventing and treating yeast infections. Cultured and fermented foods include natural, unpasteurized miso, naturally fermented vegetable pickles and sauerkraut and yogurt (be sure to eat full fat so that your body can best utilize the calcium!). Never boil these foods as high temperatures will destroy the beneficial bacteria.
Marine Phytoplankton: Marine phytoplankton makes up one quarter of all vegetation (land and sea) and according to NASA provides up to 90% of the oxygen in the air we breathe. In essence, marine phytoplankton produce more oxygen than all the Earth’s forests combined. Marine Phytoplankton is high in Chlorophyll, an excellent detoxifier and internal deodorizer. It's also is an excellent plant source of the omega 3 fatty acid EPA which improves brain chemistry, cognitive abilities and helps fight inflammation. It is also high in Phospholipids, which assists with the uptake of EPA and other essential omega 3 fatty acids. The nutrients found in Marine Phytoplankton are bound to naturally occurring emulsifiers which enhance cellular nutritional support. Optimal cellular nutrition supports functional health and balanced well being at all levels. This product is great for breastfeeding mothers to consume due to its extraordinary protein and EPA content, as well as it's ability to stimulate milk production.