The baby blues: 5 mood-boosting foods to include in your postpartum diet
Being pregnant and giving birth is a major job for your body.
You have grown and birthed a human, and now your body is trying to heal itself and return to its pre-pregnancy state – both physically, hormonally and emotionally.
If you are also breastfeeding right now, on top of healing, your body is also busy producing enough milk for your baby to grow – is it any wonder you are feeling a little tired and moody at times?
However, food is a powerful medicine, mama, maybe the most important one we got, and below are five seriously mood-boosting (and very healthy) foods that will all provide essential nutrients right now, many of which are compromised through pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding:
Salmon, and other cold water fish like sea bass and halibut, are rich in DHA and EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EFA’s).
Making sure you get enough Omega 3s is essential for new mums, as both pregnancy and breastfeeding deplete the body of these truly essential nutrients, and Omega-3 depletion is actually linked to postpartum depression.
Eggs are high in Protein & Choline, which nourishes brain function. Eggs are also a complete protein and contain optimal proportions of all nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for neurotransmitters, growth, and rejuvenation.
Protein is essential in healing postpartum depression, as is feeding your brain. Choline boosts both nerve & liver function, along with fostering healthy metabolism and better energy levels.
Spinach and other dark, leafy greens like chard and kale are high in iron, and iron, as we all know, plays a major role for our blood levels. Pregnancy increases the blood volume, which diminishes dramatically at birth, which is why many postpartum women are prone to low iron levels.
Several studies have linked postpartum anemia caused by iron deficiency with an increased risk of postnatal depression, not to mention fatigue, exhaustion, reduced quantity & quality of breast milk, and increased risk of UTI’s.
4. Dark Chocolate
Yes, new mama – treating yourself to a little bit of of dark chocolate here and there can actually do wonders for your health and mood. Cacao stimulates the production of endorphins, the chemical in brain which triggers the feeling of pleasure and euphoria. Chocolate is also a dietary source of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin which can act as an anti-depressant.
Just remember, milk chocolate is no good, and full of sugar. You need to opt for dark chocolate with a high percentage of coca (at least over 70%) to get the most out of your delicious snacks.
5. Brazil Nuts (and other nuts)
Brazil nuts are one of the richest foods in the mineral selenium, which is responsible for maintaining mood and preventing depression, and research has found that those who are deficient in this mineral have a tendency to be more irritable and hostile and more likely to feel anxious.
Walnuts are also great Omega-3 alternative for mamas avoiding fish.