The best foods for young mothers: real mood boosters

Food and Mood: How Diet Affects Depression (Mental Health Guru) (March 2019).


Even if your diet is not likely to be your highest priority right now, you should pay attention to balanced eating and drinking, regular meals and some important rules to keep your energy Level and positively influence your mood.

Many mothers feel limp in the first few weeks and months after birth, and that's normal. Even physically, you have to recover, hormonal changes and the new life with your baby, which can be quite exhausting. All of this can help make you feel exhausted, irritable and nervous.

Note: If you suspect that you are more likely to have postpartum depression than a temporary baby blues, then go to your doctor immediately.

Postpartum depression is a serious condition that needs to be treated. A healthy diet can help lighten your mood, but it is not a substitute for professional help. Symptoms of PPD can be: insomnia, a change in your appetite, tearfulness or sadness over a long period of time and thoughts about doing something to yourself or the baby.

Replacing Omega-3 Oil

Experts agree that omega-3s - especially in fish, some nuts and seeds - are important for a healthy diet. They protect against heart disease and help your body to function well. Some studies also showed that in countries where people eat a lot of fish, the overall number of people suffering from depression is lower. There are also fewer young mothers suffering from PPD.

Pediatrician James Sears, co-author of The Baby Book, advises young mothers to eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon, flaxseed and linseed oil, and walnuts. He believes that this leads to better brain function and helps with depression. ""Omega-3 oils help the brain to work better,"" he says.

Many experts recommend taking omega-3 fatty acids daily (1000 mg). Eat sea fish twice a week and once a high-fat fish, go well with it. The following foodstuffs contain the recommended amount:

  • 2 teaspoons walnut oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons rapeseed oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon linseed oil
  • 42 g herring
  • 60 to 80 g boiled salmon (about the size of one Stack of playing cards)
  • 110 g canned tuna
  • 14 g walnuts
Tip: Nursing mothers should not eat more than 340 g of boiled fish and 170 g of tuna per week in oil.

You can also take an appropriate dietary supplement if you do not like fish or worry about taking in too much mercury.Fish-derived omega-3 supplements are allowed for nursing mothers. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, they contain no measurable amounts of mercury. However, cod liver oil supplements are not suitable for nursing mothers because they contain large amounts of vitamin A.

If you want to take a dietary supplement, read on the box first how much Omega-3 fatty acids are in each capsule. If possible, choose a preparation containing between 300 mg and 500 mg per tablet and take two or three to get to either 1, 000 or 900 mg per day. Taking the capsules throughout the day reduces the risk of you having side effects such as diarrhea, bleeding, or nausea. Consult your doctor before taking.

Do not Save Proteins

It's very important that you consume enough protein, says Shoshana Bennett, a psychologist on the Advisory Board of Postpartum Support International (PSI). PSI is a group that supports women with PPD.

Shoshana Bennett says small amounts of protein, eaten throughout the day, help keep blood sugar levels constant and mood stable. And if you eat dairy products, poultry, meat and fish - along with low glycemic index carbohydrates like nuts, wholegrain cereals and legumes - you can boost the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain.

Here are some ideas on how to get more protein into your diet: scrambled eggs for breakfast, a turkey or roast beef wholegrain sandwich for lunch and a yogurt with oatmeal or some cheese with wholegrain crispbread as a snack.

According to D-A-CH reference values, experts recommend 63 grams of protein per day for nursing mothers and 48 grams for non-breast-feeding young mothers (19 to 25 years).

To get an idea of ​​how much this is in food, look at our list:

  • 85g chicken, turkey or beef = 25g proteins
  • 85g fish = 20g proteins
  • 2½ glasses (soy) milk = 20 g proteins
  • 3 large eggs = 19 g proteins
  • barely 60 g Swiss cheese = 15 g proteins
  • 1 solid tofu = 13 g proteins
  • 1 lean yoghurt = 12 g proteins
  • 6 teaspoons peanut butter = 24 g proteins
  • 85 g fat-roasted peanuts = 21 g proteins
  • 1 ½ cups boiled beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, white or black beans = 18 to 22 g Proteins
  • 1½ cups Cooked Lentils = 27g Proteins

Drink Much

Dehydration makes baby blues worse. Fatigue, headaches, tiredness and anxiety can also be triggered by mild dehydration. Therefore, you should empty eight to ten large glasses of water or juice spritzers (3 parts water and 1 part juice) per day - and do not wait until you are thirsty.Because until you realize that, you might already have a shortage of fluids.

This is especially important at the beginning of breastfeeding, because you need extra fluid. Put a large glass of water, fruit tea or fruit spritzer in place before breast-feeding your baby.

Reducing Alcohol

Even if it's encouraging, alcohol tends to dampen your mood, so you should limit your consumption until you're better off. Having a glass of wine every once in the evening for dinner is not a problem, but regular heavy drinking interferes with your sleep and worsens your mood. Depression and alcoholism often go hand in hand, so talk to your doctor if you think your alcohol intake is increasing.

There are other reasons why you should not drink alcohol now: Regular drinking can negatively affect milk production and you may not be as attentive and considerate as a young mother who has to care for a newborn baby should be, In addition, some of the alcohol passes through the breast milk to your baby.

Take Caffeine

One or two cups of coffee in the morning will cheer you up, but if you drink caffeinated drinks (cola, coffee, black tea) throughout the day, you may feel nervous, exhausted and Caffeine is the # 1 enemy of the nation - it promotes anxiety and irritation, ""says Bennett."" It makes people excited, nervous and restless. "" These are also symptoms of a bad state of mind. Anyway, for nursing mothers, experts recommend drinking no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day (about the same amount as two or three cups of coffee) so as not to harm their babies.

Suddenly completely abstaining from caffeine can cause headaches, lethargy and irritability. Therefore you should not make an abrupt cut, but slowly shut down your consumption.

If you have cravings for sweets, go for dark chocolate

It's easy to grab junk food, of course, when you're tired and hungry - but try to stand firm. Junk food may help you for a brief moment, but this short burst of energy is quickly disappearing. If you only have these attacks now and then, then you do not torment yourself. But if it has to be something sweet, then grab dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content - at least 70 percent - can improve your mood by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain. And some studies suggest that chocolate boosts the release of endorphins, substances in the brain that trigger euphoric feelings. Incidentally, you can find these mood-makers in bananas, nuts, seeds or grains.

Do not Forget Your Vitamins

A multivitamin supplement is not a substitute for a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.Nevertheless, during the first exhausting weeks with a little baby, it may not always work out so well with the balanced diet. Therefore, it is better to take a vitamin supplement for a few weeks - that's what you used to take during pregnancy.

Multivitamin preparations for pregnant women contain more and more doses of iron than other products. This is good for you after birth because your iron stores may be quite emptied through pregnancy and childbirth (especially if you had a cesarean section). Too little iron can make you feel tired and tired. In addition, antioxidants - which include vitamins A, C, and E - can improve brain function. By the way: The emergence of depression is said to be related to a lack of vitamin D.

Do not Forget Eating

It's normal to forget about meals with a baby or to eat irregularly in the first few weeks. But if you find that you are rarely hungry and food has become a chore, this loss of appetite could also be a sign of postpartum depression.

Very little to eat can also increase mood swings. Your body needs regular, balanced meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar levels stable. If that's not the case, it can also negatively affect your mood. If you have to force yourself to eat for a long time, then you should talk to your doctor about it.


Nutrient Supply Reference Values ​​D-A-CH DGE Reference Data, PGE, SGE / SVE

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