Vitamins, minerals, calcium, folic acid, iron and Omega 3 are just a few of the nutrients that mothers should have abundantly in their bodies. The question is, how much and how often do you need to take them?
Besides other vitamins and minerals, choline is undoubtedly the great unknown among nutrients. Although we know little about it, it is essential for the development and functioning of the nervous system and the brain from the moment we are conceived.
Nursing mothers are among the population groups that need the highest daily intake -550 milligrams-. But in addition to choline, there are eight other essential nutrients during postpartum, which should not be missing either the mother or the baby.
Mothers and babies need them, whether a mother is breastfeeding or not. Those moms who do not breastfeed require certain nutrients for their personal recovery from the process of pregnancy and childbirth since they can remain with anemia and low levels of minerals and vitamins. And the baby, for its development.
Iron is essential for optimum oxygen levels
Iron is necessary for the growth and development of the organism. It is used to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. It also helps in the production of myoglobin, another protein that provides oxygen to the muscles. In addition, the body needs iron to secrete hormones and take care of connective tissue.
The amount needed by a mother who is breastfeeding her baby is 9 milligrams a day and can be obtained from poultry, legumes or nuts.
Omega 3’s benefits go beyond the heart
Omega 3 helps keep a woman’s heart strong and improves the microbiota of the fetus, according to a study published in the Microbiome Review in 2018. But that’s not all. It serves to promote the development of the brain and the vision of the baby and reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
Healthy fatty acids are abundant in all bluefish, although health authorities recommend that pregnant women and children up to 10 years do not consume species such as tuna due to the presence of mercury. It is best to opt for options such as sardines and other foods such as olive oil, avocado and various nuts.
Strengthen good Memory
Choline serves for the development of the baby’s brain. Specifically, it is necessary for this organ and the nervous system to regulate memory and mood, as well as to control functions such as those of muscles.
Breastfeeding women need around 550 milligrams of choline daily. But do not overdo it. The maximum recommended dose is 3,500 milligrams. More than that can cause liver problems.
Choline can be obtained from foods such as eggs (147 milligrams, per egg), cauliflower (39 grams of choline per 100 grams of steamed cauliflower) or grapefruit (1 serving equals 19 milligrams).
Good genetics is essential for mothers and children
Also called folate or vitamin B9, folic acid helps the recovery of the mother and the development of the infant. The body uses it to produce DNA and other types of genetic material, in addition to performing cell division in the body.
Women who are breastfeeding should consume around 500 micrograms of folic acid and can get it from deep green vegetables such as spinach (140 grams for every 100 grams of spinach), almonds (96 grams of folic acid in every 100 grams).
Strong bones cannot be left unchecked
Calcium serves for ossification or the process of creating bones. Breastfeeding women need about 1,000 milligrams daily, and no, you don’t get calcium from milk as people will tell you. In fact, milk will deplete the bones from calcium and this may affect mothers later in life.
Commercially available milk is enriched with laboratory-made calcium, which is nothing like natural calcium. Powder formulas are not good options either when it comes to feeding newborns, should you have not enough milk to breastfeed. The best option is to look for breastmilk banks, where you can buy real milk for the child.
For mothers, calcium is provided by green, leafy vegetables such as spinach (these vegetables contain between 87 and 114 milligrams of the nutrient for every 100 grams) and sardines (which provide 400 milligrams of calcium with every 100 grams).
Iodine is a mineral necessary for the functioning of the thyroid gland. This gland can produce thyroid hormones which are responsible for regulating the metabolism.
Breastfeeding women need about 290 micrograms of iodine daily. It is obtained through some fish such as cod, which contains 170 milligrams of iodine per 100 grams of cod; apples, which have 11 grams for every 100 grams of the fruit; and rye bread, which offers 8.5 milligrams of iodine for every 100 grams of bread.
Prevent and treat Anemia
Vitamin B12 is essential for multiple functions, among them the formation of DNA, the creation of red blood cells and brain development.
It also prevents a type of anemia called megaloblastic, which causes tiredness and weakness. A breastfeeding woman should take about 2.8 micrograms daily and can get it through poultry meat such as chicken and eggs.
Who hasn’t head about vitamin C? There is a good reason for its popularity. It acts primarily as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. In addition, the body needs this vitamin to produce collagen, a protein that we have in the skin, bones, cartilage and even in the blood vessels.
During the postpartum period, a woman should get around 120 milligrams of vitamin C daily and can do so by eating fruits such as oranges, strawberries or tomatoes, and vegetables such as broccoli.
Strengthen your Immune System
Vitamin D is necessary for bone development, the immune system and also because it reduces the risk of depression. Its concentration is reduced during pregnancy, in addition to the baby’s requirements, which are higher. Few foods contain it naturally. Some fish such as mackerel do have it, but if you cannot get a hold of it, egg yolks and cheese are good sources as well.
Actually, in order to synthesize vitamin D, the body needs sunlight. For that to happen, everyone should spend anywhere between 10-20 minutes exposed to sunlight between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm to obtain the correct levels of vitamin D and D3.
In sum, mothers and everyone else for that matter, need to have a strong immune system, a strong thyroid, a strong metabolism, good memory and rock-solid bones throughout their lives. All of this can be achieved through proper nutrition; that is, the consumption of real food, not artificial supplements and pharmaceutical drugs. Being a mother is not an easy thing, and it starts way before you decide to have a baby.