Six Superfoods for Postnatal Recovery
If you’re like most women, you know postnatal recovery takes more than the prescribed 6 weeks. After all, it took more than 9 months for your body to build that baby. A lot has changed and moved around to make that baby and it’s important to take the time you need to recover. Not only does the average woman face physical difficulties, but many also battle baby blues or postpartum depression. Question is how do you find time to care for yourself while also caring for your new addition? Pure and simple – eat nutrient-dense superfoods. Typically lower in calories and higher in vitamins and minerals; they are perfect for the sleep-deprived mother! Not only will these foods help speed recovery, but they will also increase your energy, help you lose weight, support breastfeeding, decrease stress and prevent disease. Here is a list of the top 6 superfoods to help accelerate your recovery.
1. Maca Root
A member of the radish family, maca root is best known for its mood, libido and energy-boosting benefits. Maca root is extra special because it helps balance hormones as an endocrine adaptogen. Maca itself does not contain any hormones, but it contains all the nutrients necessary for healthy hormone function. Bye-bye, baby blues! It is most commonly available in the form of a powder or capsule. Powder is the more affordable, versatile form of this super food. Some ways to use it are in smoothies, a teaspoon or two on your oatmeal, granola bars or no bake energy chews. Maca is most potent when it’s not baked or cooked which is perfect because when you have a baby on the way or one in tote, you don’t want to bake or cook anyway! As with any supplement, it’s best to consult a physician before use, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. More here: http://www.sarvaasuperfood.com/superfood-blog/adap...
Despite their unassuming size, flax seeds are a nutritional force to be reckoned with. They are loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting lignans. Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins are incredible mood and energy boosters. Flax seed is often suggested to nursing mothers as it can help increase milk production and increase the ALA content of mother’s milk, which when added to infant formula, increases an infant’s DHA levels. The fiber in flax can help with postnatal constipation, as it is rich in fiber. Best of all, flax seeds have a delicious nutty flavor making them a great addition to smoothies! Also great bread recipes, trail mix, yogurt, granola or toast with peanut butter. Plus, if you’re not a fan of eggs, they make a great substitute to most baked recipes. Just take 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and mix with 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit in the fridge for about ten minutes so it can gel and voila! Be sure to fresh grind your own in a coffee grinder or spice grinder, since the oils in flax are some of the most unstable and prone to going stale in days.
3. Ashwagandha Root
Native to Africa, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean, Ashwagandha root, also known as “Indian winter cherry,” is another nourishing adaptogen that helps balance hormones, increase energy, and decrease stress. And not only has Western Science begun to catch on to Ashwaganda, it has stood the test of thousands of years in the incredibly sophisticated systems know and Ayurvedic Medicine from India. Known as a grounding herb, Ashwagandha helps balance your mood (which God knows can feel like it’s all over the place as a new mother), improve stamina and sleep quality, and is said to quell feelings of nervousness. Again, although it is generally considered safe, it is best to consult a physician if you are pregnant or nursing. More here: http://www.sarvaasuperfood.com/superfood-blog/adap...
4. Chia Seeds
Even smaller than the flax seed, chia seeds are incredibly dense in their nutritional value. Not only are chia seeds low in calories, but they are also packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, antioxidants and calcium. Native to Mexico, the word “chia” in Mayan culture meant “strength”. They must have had a good idea about this mighty seed! Knowing how crazy busy most moms are, make-ahead fast snacks are vital to surviving the time demands of babies. Chia seeds absorb up to ten times their weight in water so often make a great addition to coconut water for an energy-boosting drink. Soak the seeds in a liquid of your choosing for 3 hours or more to get the best texture. Some of my favorites are pineapple juice or water with lemon and a little stevia. You can also soak them in your overnight oatmeal for a hearty breakfast or in almond milk with a little cocoa powder for a delicious pudding!
5. Raw Cacao
Easily the most exciting of foods on this list for me is cacao! Cacao is a magnesium-packed mood improver. Magnesium is known to calm you and reduce stress and cacao is one of the few natural food sources that are loaded with it. Cacao also contains anandamide, an essential fatty acid neurotransmitter, often associated with the feeling of bliss. Cacao also boosts the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin. Perfect for when estrogen levels are at an all time low causing unusual moodiness. You can often find cacao is the form of “cacao nibs” which is the cacao bean fermented, peeled and chopped up or added to protein and vitamin shakes. You can also add cacao to water, almond milk or another non-dairy milk and gently heat to have a nutrient-dense “hot cocoa”. Studies show that the addition of dairy can block some of the absorption of the antioxidants. Raw cacao is best as it delivers four times the antioxidants compared to its processed counterpart: dark chocolate. Not to mention processed chocolate is made with roasted cocoa, sugar, milk, and many other ingredients to transform it into a solid. More here: http://www.sarvaasuperfood.com/cacao/
Don’t underestimate the potency of all the Sea Vegetables, especially the humble Kelp. During pregnancy and post-natal, you need lot of extra minerals. And this where Kelp stands supreme. Boasting an average of 200% -300% more minerals than land based veggies, Kelp will nourish your cells from your eyes to your toenails! Simply sprinkle on salads, add to smoothies, stir frys, curries, and any other veggie dish. Keep it on your kitchen table, not in the cupboard where it might get forgotten. Kelp is rich in iron, natural sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. It is also known for its high levels of vitamins, including vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, as well as numerous minerals, trace elements and amino acids. More here: http://www.sarvaasuperfood.com/3-sea-vegetables/
These are just a few of the best super foods to help you feel at your best. Some other fantastic Superfoods for you to consider are: Goji berries, Camu berries, Turmeric, Ginger, Sea Veggies, and avocados. For more information on these and other super foods, please take a stroll though some of the other blogs articles here or on our SuperFood 101 tab in the navigation bar and you'll see a pull down menu of a dozen great little articles on SuperFoods!
All the best to you in your Postnatal Adventure! Love Your Body! Love Everybody!