Supermoms need superfoods

Mother’s Day is usually a day for kids to appreciate the maternal care they receive. But it is also a time for mothers to think about their own nutrition needs to help them multi-task

This weekend, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us worry a little about the health of moms, especially when their kids are growing up. They have crazy hectic schedules, and spend so much time worrying about the nutrition needs of their children that they have little time to worry about themselves.

Being a mother along with managing a full-time practice when my boys were growing up, I know how much energy one needs to be able to multitask and keep healthy at the same time. Mothers need to be superfit and full of energy to cope up with their bundles of joy 24×7.

It all starts when they are pregnant. Their gynaecologists will tell them they need optimum nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and that the quality of their food intake is more important than the quantity – the urging of their mothers-in-law and well-meaning aunts that they should eat “enough for two” is just not true, in the sense that they don’t need to have more wheat, bread or rice. Instead, they have to take care to have enough vegetables and fruits, and of course to exercise, so that their bodies are ready for normal delivery.

In my case, I turned to Superfoods chock-full of nutrients. One of the reasons I made this choice was that there never seemed to be enough time for myself. I knew that what I needed were foods loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, B6, B12, D, E and C. These kept me full of energy and kept my bones strong.

Even if you want to be vegan or pure vegetarian, during pregnancy you could make allowance for eggs, which have lots of essential nutrients. For the next 15 years, while children continue to demand more attention and care from their mothers, do try to include the following foods in your diet:

• Yoghurt (for calcium)
• Salmon and other fish, which have lean protein, Omega 3 fats, are good for reducing inflammation and help you build strong bones
• Beans, i.e. chickpeas, lentils, black beans which are great for pregnant women, as they have folate, calcium, protein, iron and zinc
• Colourful fruits and vegetables such as apricots, berries, grapefruit, oranges, mangoes, red grapes, prunes, grapefruit (for flavonoids) and papaya
• Beets, broccoli, salads, kale (full of fibre and sulphur). These are great for hormone balance in women
• Spinach (folate), tomatoes (beta carotene, Vitamin E) lots of antioxidants, carrots, asparagus (bone building, Vitamin K)
• Nuts: Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds (selinium, zinc, iron, Vitamin E, healthy fats)

Some of the foods highly recommended are easily available in India, like coconut, turmeric and cinnamon. Fresh turmeric is also available in the market, but if you can’t find it during off-season, don’t forget that spoonful of turmeric powder in dal and vegetables. Add ground pepper to whichever dishes you want to, as curcumin is activated with black pepper. It is fat soluble so should be taken with healthy fats.
superfoods. There are also more exotic Superfoods which are currently popular. Among them are:

• Edamame, soyabean pods: they have estrogen-like compounds, good fats and fibre, which are particularly helpful during menopause
• Gogi berries / acai berries strengthen the immune system, have iron, beta carotene, anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids
• Avocado is rich in fibre, Vitamin C, E, B6 and folate. Avocado paste on toast is becoming quite a popular snack in the West
• Raw cacao, unprocessed has essential nutrients, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and potassium
• Spirulina has Vitamin A, K, B12, iron, chlorophyll, sea super food, water algae
• Hemp powder, a plant-based protein, has all the essential amino acids plus Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and Omega 3, 6
• Apple cider vinegar helps balance body ph and has enzymes and potassium. If you can, get an organic brand
• Chia seeds: you just need two tablespoons of chia seeds, which have 100 mg calcium, 7.5 gm fibre, 3 gm protein, high omega 3 and help fight inflammation
• Flax seeds, which come as ground flaxseeds and flax seeds òil
• Fermented foods increase good bacteria in your gut help fight infections, detox the body. They are yoghurt, kefir, pickles and kimchi
• Quinoa has lots of nutrients not found in other grains like thiamine and niacin.
So this Mother’s Day, take a look at your diet and make sure you include in it all the foods you need to be a Supermom full of energy to look after your family.

Dr Reshma is an advocate of wellness, prevention and holistic health n

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