July 25, 2024

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Best Foods for Postpartum – NTI School

3 min read
Best Foods for Postpartum – NTI School

After nine months of anticipation, you’ve finally met your baby. Suddenly your love has become a new person, and the whole world is oohing and aahing at the gift you’ve given it. Weeks pass, and the lack of sleep has caused your mental health to take a toll and you’ve noticed the baby weight’s still there. What is a mama to do? You are certainly not alone. With so many hormonal, physical, and lifestyle changes during and after pregnancy, the body needs time to re-adjust. Here are some of the best foods to prioritize postpartum to help you gain energy, mental health, and a healthy physique.

Eat Your Peas

Whether you’re new at motherhood or have donned mom jeans for several years, the phrase holds true. Not only eating peas but also all nutrient-dense foods will significantly help balance your hormones and your weight. Think: organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and pasture-raised meats. Avoiding foods that cause prolonged blood sugar spikes and insulin responses such as sugar and processed foods will also help balance hormones and help combat weight gain. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to eat at least 500 more daily calories than normal to support quality milk production.

Nutrients for Postpartum Mothers Infographic

Mental Health and Energy

B Vitamins: Folate, Biotin, B6 and B12 help provide energy and improve mood. Here are some great food sources:

  • Folate (“foliage”):
    • Raw, leafy green vegetables
    • Liver
    • Legumes
    • Seeds
  • Biotin:
    • Liver
    • Egg yolks
    • Soybeans
    • Fish
    • Whole grains
    • Almonds
    • Pumpkin Seeds
    • Tomatoes
    • Root vegetables
  • B6:
    • Liver
    • Meats, fish, poultry
    • Squash
    • Potatoes
    • Legumes
    • Bananas
    • Avocado
    • Whole Grains
  • B12:
    • Meat, poultry
    • Fish, shellfish
    • Milk, cheese
    • Eggs

Vitamin D can help prevent depression and increase energy. Sources include:

  • Egg yolks (from pasture-raised chickens)
  • Cod and cod liver oil
  • Fortified dairy

Iron is a hot commodity both during and after pregnancy since your blood stores increase to nurture another life. Low iron can also cause low energy. Heme iron can be easier for the body to absorb and can only be found in animal sources. You can still benefit from non-heme iron, which is found in plants. Sources include:

  • Beef/beef liver
  • Mussels and oysters
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Legumes
  • Tofu

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – can help prevent depression and anxiety by decreasing inflammation. It also helps the body absorb other nutrients, and supports overall brain, skin, and immune health. Sources include:

  • Fish (salmon, anchovies, sardines)
  • Olives
  • Olive oil and avocado oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado

Choline – supports memory and cognition. Sources include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Beef & beef liver
  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken breast
  • Fish
  • Potatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Legumes

Labor Recovery

As your body recovers from giving birth, increasing your levels of protein and collagen will help promote muscle and tissue repair. If you’re breastfeeding, protein will help increase your milk supply. Here are some sources:

Protein:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Beans and rice
  • Tofu/tempeh

Collagen:

  • Bone broth
  • Supplemental powders

Nutrition for Families

As you continue to journey into motherhood, you likely have already learned that the term “baby steps” can still apply to you. In that patience of becoming, keep in mind that there are certain signs to indicate a need for greater support. Starting this season with proper nutrition will not only set a great foundation for yourself but also for your growing family.


About the author: Lisa (Driscoll) Lopes is a certified Nutrition Therapist Master through NTI’s Nutrition Therapist Master Program. Having studied journalism and vocal performance in undergrad, she enjoys using her voice to share the benefits of living a holistic, integrated lifestyle in writing. You can find more of her writing in the Baltimore Sun, Classical Singer MagazineCapital News Service, and FOCUS blog.

Images:

  1. Silhouette Photo of a Mother Carrying Her Baby at Beach during Golden Hour by Pixabay from Pexels
  2. Infographic by Lisa Lopes on Canva
  3. Couple and a Baby Lying on Bed by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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