7 Lactogenic Foods to be included in Pregnancy Diet
Pregnancy Diet is important for both, the mother and baby as it helps in providing all the essential nutrients that are required to stay fit . A proper pregnancy diet plays a vital role during the lactating phase especially for first time mothers.
Breastfeeding is extremely important for a baby’s nutrition, mental development, immunity and overall health, as it lowers the risk of allergies, asthma, obesity, diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorders, respiratory & urinary tract infections and the occurrence of some childhood cancers. Mothers too benefit from it as it strengthens the mother-baby bond, reduces the risk of mothers developing Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis, besides helping them lose the additional weight gained during pregnancy and making the uterus regain its pre-pregnancy status.
Unfortunately, not all women are able to produce enough milk for the baby’s requirement. Besides the need to take adequate rest, consume enough water and keep stress levels low, a pregnancy diet which is rich in galactagogues (lactogenic foods) can immensely help in generating the required volume of milk. Here is a list of foods considered to be galactagogues:
- Fenugreek Seeds: Referred to as methi seeds, these are rich in iron, calcium ,vitamins and minerals. And touted to be the most ancient and potent stimulators of breast milk production. In India as tradition goes, most lactating mothers consume fenugreek seeds and leaves in ladoos, tea and sometimes even savory dishes. And if you aren’t particularly fond of its taste, you could consume fenugreek capsules instead.
- Suva seeds (dill seeds): Apart from increasing lactation, dill seeds are supposed to be highly fibrous and a rich source of Vitamin K. They are also believed to reduce gas and colic. But most of all, including them in a pregnancy diet can help replenish the blood loss that happens during child birth, thus bringing back lost energy to the mothers body.
- Green and gourd vegetables: Dark leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in calcium, iron, vitamins K and A, and folate. This helps during the breastfeeding days, because through them the body receives the lost calories and vitamins that are passed on to the baby. These foods are also considered to be phytoestrogens, which help to promote healthy breast tissue growth as well as lactation –the same effect that oestrogen has. Gourds too help in production of milk. Use them in stir fries, curries or even sweet dishes like halwas.Explore our recipes: Dudhi Raita
- Garlic: Garlic is also considered to be a miracle herb. From increasing the milk supply to helping maintain body heat, healing joints, reducing flatulence and detoxifying the system. It is also instrumental in bolstering the immune system. Be it rasam, chutneys, rice or gravies, garlic ups the flavor level of almost any dish it is added to. Eating it raw, on an empty stomach each morning is another healthy way of consuming it.
- Nuts: Apart from being a rich source of essential fatty acids and proteins, nuts are also high in amino acids, which are building blocks for serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter for lactation. Cashews and almonds are some of the best nuts that help with this.
- Till (Sesame Seeds): These have a high calcium content and are one of the best galactagogues. However, in order to enjoy their benefits to the fullest, they must be crushed before eating in order to release them from the husk. If they are consumed without crushing, the seeds remain in their husk and merely pass through the digestive tract without producing the desired benefits. Sesame seeds can be sprinkled over salads to give them a crunchy texture.
- Milk: Apart from helping in lactation by increasing the milk content in the mother’s body, milk also helps replenish the calcium that gets siphoned off during pregnancy for the baby’s requirement. However, it is important to keep your intake of your milk in moderation because it can cause flatulence and bloating – something you wouldn’t want to go through while breastfeeding your infant.
- Drumsticks: With high levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium, proteins and vitamins A, B, C and K, drumsticks are a powerhouse of nutrients. They stimulate the mammary glands and dilate the veins around the breast, which helps to increase the blood circulation, thereby increasing the supply of milk.
Also read our blogs on 5 Tips for Wellness of Breast for Feeding Mothers
Inclusion of all of the above foods in your Pregnancy Diet can help you not only increase Milk Production but will help to maintain your child’s health as well.