Post delivery is a very vital phase of your life as you need all your strength and energy to take care of your baby, hence paying attention to your diet is very essential. Eating a rightly well balanced diet can go a long way in helping you to recover your lost strength and energy. In case you are breastfeeding your baby, whatever you eat gets passed on to your baby through your milk. Hence you have all the more reasons to eat well and eat right at the same time. From generations together women have been given high calorie food like full cream milk, butter, dried fruits and sugar etc. You surely need the extra calories in case you are breastfeeding and you can still get the vital nutrients in a way that doesn’t necessarily mean piling on fat as well. Some foods traditionally given during this time that are rich in minerals and vitamins that you need to recover from childbirth and are particularly nutrient rich:
Vegetables and Fruits:
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich sources of micronutrients and Macronutrients. The micronutrients present are minerals (like iron and calcium) and vitamins (like vitamin C, B complex vitamins and carotenoids) whereas, the macronutrients present are complex carbohydrates fibre. They contain abundant amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A) and photo chemicals. Green vegetables are a great source of iron, which you will need to help you recuperate. Consider eating spinach (paalak), beans, lotus stem (kamal kakri), fenugreek (methi) leaves, apple gourd (tinda), and all other seasonal green vegetables.
Pulses and Lentils:
Lentils and Pulses are considered as an essential element of a rightly well balanced diet. They are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Pulses or dals such as masoor and moong are easily digested and you can have them in the form of khichdi or halwa. A bonus with pulses is they help to prevent fat from collecting in your body.
It is considered as perfect source of calcium, fibre, iron, proteins and carbohydrates. And as oats are high in fibre, they also help in keeping constipation at bay. The most common way to have oats is to cook it and have it with milk, nuts and dried fruit or fresh fruits or make savoury versions like oats upma or khichdi.
Turmeric contains vitamins B6 and C, potassium, magnesium, fibre, and manganese. It’s packed with essential vitamins and not only it’s a standard ingredient in Indian cooking, it has also been significantly used for centuries to heal external and internal wounds.
Methi seeds are a great source of minerals, vitamins, iron and calcium. You can make use of it while cooking dal, vegetables, pooris or meats. Its tea is also considered as a popular drink for breastfeeding mums.
Dry ginger powder (saunth):
Saunth consists of iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, manganese, fibre, vitamins B6 and E. It’s a commonly available ingredient who’s supposed health benefits include anti-inflammation. In South India, chutneys are made from it. . In North India, saunth ke ladoos are common. You can also choose to add just a little dry ginger powder to your meals.
Ajwain or Carom seeds:
Commonly believed that carom seeds or also known as ajwain, is a good source of thymol. It not only soothes pain from indigestion and gas, but also cleanses the uterus. There is not much evidence to support this belief, but thymol is known to have antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic and antifungal properties. It can be added to variety of dishes as an extra seasoning; even ajwain water can be consumed every day.
Almonds consist of many nutrients thus it’s an ideal food to have while you are recovering after your child birth. Almonds are rich in carbohydrates, fibre, vitamin B12 and E and contain minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. Almonds can be used in many recipes such as sheera, halwa, badam milk and so on. And they make excellent snack to munch on as well.
Black and white sesame seeds or Til:
These seeds are flat, small which are considered to be high in copper, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron. With all these good nutrients, it helps in replenishing the body of essential minerals. They are also considered helpful in regulating bowel movements. In North India, many popular sweets are made of til such as til ke ladoo, til patti, rewri and chikki.
Ragi or Mandua or Finger millet:
An excellent source of calcium and iron, which is required in plenty after giving birth. It helps you in regaining strength and energy after childbirth, and is a good option for mothers who are allergic to milk and dairy products. It can be used to prepare dosas, idlis, rotis and halwas.
Whatever you choose, make sure to have a rightly well balanced diet with all the required essential nutrients.