Postpartum Nutrition: Best Foods for New Mothers
Eating healthy during pregnancy is important, but a well-balanced diet is equally important postpartum. The biggest complaints of women postpartum are exhaustion and changes in mood. Fortunately, eating the right foods can combat these conditions. Superfoods that fight depression and fatigue are the best foods for new moms.
Foods that Fight Fatigue
Protein and Complex Carbohydrates
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Complex carbohydrates increase serotonin levels in the brain. The best ways to fight fatigue through diet is by eating mini-meals in order to regulate your blood sugar.
The best mini-meals are those that combine complex carbohydrates and protein:
- High fiber cereal with milk
- Yogurt with sliced fruit topped with almonds, walnuts, or pecans
- Chicken salad on whole wheat toast
- Hummus and whole wheat pita bread
- Trail mix. (Look for a combination of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds and avoid those with chocolate or added sugar).
- Oatmeal with raisins
Niacin, also known as B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in energy metabolism. Increase your intake of foods like beef, pork, died beans, chicken, and fish like mackerel or salmon to get vitamin B3 in your diet.
This antioxidant increases energy and stamina. Fill up on almonds, asparagus, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and olives.
Foods that Fight Depression
Zinc is important in supporting different processes in the brain and body. Lack of zinc in your diet can lead to irritability and depression. Good sources of zinc include eggs, fish, turkey, oysters, beef, wheat germ, and yogurt.
Vitamin C deficiencies have shown to be linked to depression. Get your vitamin C from citrus fruits, broccoli, green leafy vegetables (especially kale), tomato puree, peas, raspberries, spring onions, and turnips.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown in numerous clinical studies to combat depression as well as bi-polar disorder. Add servings of omega-3 rich fish like herring, sardines, tuna, and salmon to your diet. Walnut and canola oil are also excellent sources.
Adding servings of calcium-rich foods may help ward off depression and anxiety.
Your best bets for calcium are yogurt, cheese, sardines with bones, milk, salmon with bones, sesame seeds, or calcium-fortified juices.
Research from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts found that levels of folic acid (folate) were much lower among people suffering from depression than in people who were not depressed. Folic acid is plentiful in avocados, leafy green veggies, grapefruit, black eyed peas, orange juice, and most fruits. It is important to avoid food that will zap your energy like alcohol, fats, caffeine, white flour products, and simple carbohydrates like sugar, honey, or soft drinks. Remember to include healthy snacks between meals or eat five or six mini meals each day. In addition, keep yourself hydrated as one of the largest causes of fatigue is dehydration.