The Science Behind Confinement Food: How It Can Improve Your Postpartum Recovery
Being a new mom can be overwhelming, and the confinement period can make things more challenging. Your body is recovering from childbirth, and you're learning to care for a newborn.
It's crucial to prioritise your well-being during this time, including your mental health. While the benefits of confinement food have been widely acknowledged, research suggests that it can also positively impact mental health during the postpartum period.
Boost Energy Level
According to a study published in the Journal of Women's Health, women who consumed a higher intake of iron and protein had improved postpartum physical functioning, including better energy levels.
Confinement diet is rich in essential nutrients such as protein, iron, and complex carbohydrates that are crucial for postpartum recovery. Protein aids in repairing tissues, including the uterus, which undergoes significant changes during pregnancy and childbirth.
Iron is necessary for red blood cell production and preventing anemia, which can lead to fatigue and weakness.
Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and whole-grain bread, provide sustained energy, which is essential for new mothers who are often sleep-deprived.
Reduce Stress Level
Ginger and turmeric are two spices commonly used to treat various ailments, including inflammation. Both spices contain bioactive compounds such as gingerol and curcumin, respectively, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Inflammation has been linked to various mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Therefore, consuming ginger and turmeric may help reduce inflammation, which, in turn, may help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Another dietary ingredient that has been shown to have mood-boosting effects is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
These fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining brain function and are essential for the development and function of the nervous system.
A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders investigated the effect of omega-3 supplementation on postpartum depression and anxiety. The study found that women who received omega-3 supplementation had a significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to those who received a placebo.
Enhance Sleep Quality
Some of the foods included in confinement meals are known to promote relaxation and better sleep quality. Take warm milk and chamomile tea, for example. These ingredients are often added to the diet as they contain sleep-promoting compounds that can help you catch some much-needed zzz's.
And that's not all! Consuming whole-grain carbohydrates, like brown rice, can also improve sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that eating more dietary fiber, including whole-grain carbs, was linked to better sleep quality in adults.
Support Breast Feeding
Many new mothers struggle with milk production, and low milk supply is one of the most common reasons for supplementing with formula or giving up breastfeeding altogether.
Confinement food can support breastfeeding by including ingredients that are known to boost milk production.
For example, oats are rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to increase the production of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production. Fenugreek and fennel are other commonly used ingredients in confinement food that are believed to help boost lactation.
Consuming a healthy and balanced diet, such as confinement food, can help ensure that the mother's nutritional needs are met, which can help support her overall well-being and mental health.
Confinement food also often incorporates cooking methods that are gentle on the digestive system, such as boiling and steaming, which can help ease digestive discomfort that new mothers may experience.
This is particularly important as the body undergoes many changes during the postpartum period, and the digestive system may be more sensitive than usual.
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