NutritionTips

Eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy

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Eating well in your third trimester: 37-40 weeks

Some women do not prefer eating at all at this stage but there are women who face the first stage for very long period; so, they need snacks and drinks from time to time. Here are few tips that can help you through. Eating Healthy With Your Baby In The First Two Weeks Once the baby is born, it’s not over yet. You still need to continue to have healthy food to recover and to breastfeed your baby. However you cannot cook alone; so, take help of your relatives or cook and keep it in your fridge. You can use it for a week and eat in batches. If you don’t have enough support or you are living just with your husband then you may want to hire a cook and a maid. Let them look after the kitchen till you recover and are able to do the household works. Some also prefer to order food from reputed restaurants. So, think about it and choose an option appropriate for you. Breakfast As always keep your breakfast simple yet healthy. Prefer a bowl of milk with cereal like cornflakes or sandwiches with lots of veggies. Salads are also good to start but make sure to have a glass of milk for energy. Keeping your breakfast simple will help you a lot by saving time and energy. Lunch Soups can be a good idea to go for. Beetroot is rich in folate, magnesium, potassium. Avoid adding cream or yogurt while preparing beetroot juice and freeze it so that you have it in batches. You need beetroot, carrot, celery, potato, onion, olive oil, vegetable stock, bay leaves, etc. to prepare this. Once you peel the beetroot grate it or process it and cut carrot into small pieces. Add celery and potato pieces and blitz it. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and stir in some chopped onion. Once it turn light brown add vegetables, stock and bay leaves. Boil and cover the lid. Let it boil over low flame for 25 minutes and then blend it to smooth liquid using food processor. If you add cream or yogurt then do not store it. Snack Try having fruity flapjacks in the evening as oats present in it is rich in fibre. It can be stored in the freezer for few days. You will need sunflower margarine, demerara sugar, golden syrup, porridge oats and chopped dates. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and heat margarine and sugar till they melt completely. Stir in the golden syrup, oats, dates and mix the ingredients well. Take a greased baking tin and press into it and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until it turns golden brown. Remove and keep it aside to cool down. Cut the flapjacks and leave it to cool down. You can also have fresh fruit juice, smoothies like mango smoothie, tomato apple juice, baked banana chips, etc. Dinner Have you ever tried ragu sauce before? On freezing it, ragu sauce will can be stay for a couple of days. Have it with pasta, lasagne sheets and cheese sausage. You need lean minced beef, finely chopped onion, crushed garlic clove, smoked bacon pieces, chopped tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, red wine and oregano. Take the beef in a non-stick pan and heat it; keep stirring while breaking up this mixture. Add chopped onion, bacon, garlic and heat it to fry. Keep stirring and cooking till onions turn soft. Chop the sundried tomatoes and add them to the pan along with chopped canned tomatoes, herbs and some wine. Let this boil for some time and then reduce the flame. Cover the lid and leave it for 35 to 40 minutes and then stir well. Alcohol in the wine you added will cook off slowly. Take it out and let it cool down before you have it. This was easy to prepare this; similarly, you can try many simple yet healthy recipes to get nutrients from the food.   Feature Image Source  

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12 Benefits Of Drinking Coconut Water During Pregnancy

Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, prevents dehydration, lowers the acidity of the body, and is simply loaded with nutrition as well. It’s no wonder that many doctors encourage their patients and pregnant women to drink coconut water. There is some evidence that coconut water may help build up immunity, improve kidney function, prevent urinary tract infections (UTI) and lower high blood pressure, but more research is needed before we can say for certain.  Here are some more benefits of the humble Coconut that will interest you: 1. Healthy Breast Milk Drinking coconut water (and eating fresh coconut meat) will help you to produce plenty of healthy breast milk for your baby. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a single meal containing coconut oil will affect the fatty acid makeup of a woman’s breast milk for as long as 3 days, with the maximum concentration occurring within the first 10 hours. 2. Improves Immunity Coconut water is naturally sterile since it is kept safe from contaminants inside the shell. Coconut water contains anti-viral, antibacterial, and antifungal compounds that can help to prevent you from becoming ill or catching the flu while you are pregnant. 3. Natural Relaxant One of the great things about coconut water is that it naturally relaxes the muscles and nervous system because it contains magnesium. Coconut water can help to relieve joint pains and the itching sensations that often come with pregnancy. 4. Zippo Cholesterol Coconut water contains absolutely no cholesterol, which makes it a heart-healthy drink. Yes, plain water also has no cholesterol, but it also has no magnesium or other nutritious compounds. Consumed regularly, coconut water can even increase the good (HDL) type of cholesterol in the body. 5. Improves Energy Levels Carrying around the extra weight of pregnancy can leave you feeling tired a great deal of the time. Coconut water can help to restore energy levels by increasing the metabolism and stimulating thyroid function. 6. Improves Amniotic Fluid If you would like to improve the overall environment and health of your baby, coconut water can help to improve, and boost the levels of, amniotic fluid. 7. Stops Heartburn Many pregnant women complain about indigestion and heartburn. Drinking coconut water lowers the acid level of the stomach, preventing heartburn, indigestion, and sour stomach before they start. Enjoy half a cup of coconut water before meals. 8. Prevents Constipation You can’t beat coconut water while looking for what to take for constipation. This delicious drink is a natural but mild laxative that can help to prevent the constipation that tends to plague pregnant women. 9. Great Nutrition Coconut water improves blood circulation and is a great source of fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C improves the immune system and fiber is important for the prevention of constipation. Coconut water has potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Both potassium and electrolytes are important for pregnant women. Coconut water and other coconut products are a great source of lauric acid, which can help to protect your body from disease and viruses. 10. Natural Diuretic For treating and preventing urinary tract infections, coconut water can come to your rescue. Since it is a mild diuretic, coconut water can help to prevent these painful types of infections. Coconut water also has antibacterial compounds that can stop urinary tract infections when they are caught early. Drinking coconut water on a regular basis can also help to prevent kidney stones. 11. Low Calorie Drink Packed with healthy electrolytes that the body needs, coconut water is a great low-calorie drink as well! Since this refreshing drink has healthy amino acids and other enzymes, coconut water can help to fight the dehydration and exhaustion that are common problems for pregnant women. 12. Can Lower Blood Pressure Consuming coconut water on a regular basis can help to lower blood pressure levels due to its high level of potassium. Potassium binds with salt and helps to remove it from the body. Lower sodium levels in the blood mean lower blood pressure. Always remember that moderation is the key. Clean, filtered water should always be your main drink. Don't substitute it with coconut water or other drinks at all times. Always pick fresh, clean, green coconuts and make sure they are cut in front of you. Drink the coconut water as soon as the coconut is cut so that it is fresh and nutrient rich. Use a clean straw or pour the coconut water into a clean glass. Skip drinking coconut water if you feel you don't like the taste or if it doesn't agree with you.   Content Source  

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Second month diet guide (5-8 weeks)

So, you have got to know you are about to become mommy. One of the biggest confusion you are about to face is what to eat, and what not to eat. We will help you sort this out beforehand only. In this section, we will talk about what you should eat during the second month of your pregnancy. It’s an important period since your baby’s organs are developing right now for which various key nutrients are required: Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Iodine, and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) - a type of omega-3 fatty acid (healthy fat) are some important nutrients for this phase. Folic acid is required for the baby’s strong brain and spine development. Deficiency of folic acid at this stage often leads to congenital disorders in babies like spina bifida. Your doctor must have or will put you on 400 mcg of folic acid supplement soon. All you need is to consume it daily, and eat foods rich in folic acid. Rich sources of folate include vegetables like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, lettuce, sweet corn etc, all citrus fruits especially orange, breakfast cereals like whole wheat bread, oats, nuts and eggs. Zinc is required for proper placenta development, avoid intra-uterine infections, keep immune system strong, and promote proper growth of baby’s cells and boosts baby’s DNA production and functioning. Rich sources of zinc are nuts and seeds- til seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, mutton, curd, pulses and lentils like rajma and chana. Iron is another crucial nutrient from the bunch. Doctor usually starts iron supplements when you are starting with your second trimester since first trimester is already over loaded with anxiety, nausea and vomiting which can worsen with iron supplements. So, go natural on iron during first trimester to prevent and combat anemia. Egg yolk, mutton, green leafy vegetables like amaranth, cauliflower greens, colocasia leaves (arbi leaves) and garden cress seeds (halim/aliv), til seeds, bengal gram etc are some of the rich sources of iron. Make sure that while consuming vegetarian sources of iron, always take vitamin C (lemon juice, amla, orange juice etc) with them for better absorption of iron. Iodine is another essential nutrient that is required for proper brain development of the fetus. If you use senda namak or rock salt, like in many traditional Indian families, you need to shift to iodized salt immediately. DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain.  And since a baby’s brain starts to form between 6 and 7 weeks of pregnancy, DHA is needed from the first trimester itself.  DHA intake is crucial for this period to ensure adequate levels for you and your baby. Most pregnant women do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids because the major dietary source, seafood, is restricted to 2 servings a week. For you to gain enough omega-3 fatty acids, a variety of sources should be consumed: vegetable oils, 2 low-mercury fish servings a week, and supplements (fish oil or algae-based docosahexaenoic acid). Morning sickness and vomiting are very common during this time. It is important to stay hydrated right now since vomiting may deplete your fluid stores. So, it is advisable to keep drinking water, and other fluids throughout the day. Morning sickness can be relieved by taking crackers, rusk, or roasted murmura early in the morning. Image Source

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Effective tips to prevent preterm labor

Along with the joy of pregnancy, a first-time mother also experiences anxiety and fear about labor and delivery. She wants her pregnancy to be smooth and uneventful. She is scared that something might go wrong during her pregnancy and her baby might be harmed. At times, a mother is unable to carry her baby for the entire nine months and has a delivery before the full term. A baby who gets delivered before the 37th week is termed as a preterm baby. A preterm baby may or may not be completely developed and are at a high risk of various diseases and infections. Although the causes of preterm labor are not exactly known, experts point to a number of factors can trigger preterm labor- Smoking, alcohol and drug use: Short interval between pregnancies Uterine and vaginal infections Pregnancy complications Structural anomalies of the uterus and/or cervix Gum infections Stress levels Occupational factors Carrying multiples Maternal age A previous preterm birth If you were preterm yourself Although, many of the above factors are beyond a mother’s control, there are still a few precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent preterm labor – Eat healthy – A healthy diet goes a long way in ensuring that you have a healthy baby. Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C, in order to provide your growing baby all the essential nutrients and build his/her immune system. Avoid alcohol – Consuming alcohol during pregnancy has often been linked to preterm labor so quit drinking for the sake of your baby. Alcohol may also harm your baby’s growth adversely. Say no to smoking – Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to go into preterm labor and their babies are more likely to have low birth weight. Stop smoking immediately to ensure the well-being of your baby. Exercise and yoga – Staying active, exercising regularly and practicing prenatal yoga not only ensures a smooth delivery but also helps to improve the chances of carrying your baby full term. Take prenatal vitamins – Vitamin deficiency is one of the main factors responsible for preterm labor. Make sure that you take all your prenatal vitamins timely. Keep an eye on your weight – Maintain a healthy weight as prescribed by your doctor. Adding too many kilos can lead to gestational diabetes and this might lead to early labor. Being underweight may also be a cause of preterm labor. Stay hydrated – Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, simple it helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Maintain adequate gap between two pregnancies- If you’re planning another baby, ensure that you conceive after a minimum of 18 months after your first baby is born. If the mother’s body is weak, the chances of a preterm labor are higher. Do not hold on to urine – Urinate whenever you have the urge to. Holding on to urine can not only lead to urinary tract infections but also put unnecessary pressure on the bladder and lead to preterm labor. Get adequate rest – Getting adequate rest is of utmost importance in ensuring that you have an uneventful pregnancy and are able to carry your baby to the full term. Maintain good oral health – This might sound surprizing but good oral health goes a long way in ensuring that you carry your baby to the full term. Keep flu at bay – Research has shown that women who catch a flu often are more likely to go into preterm labor. Make sure that you are vaccinated against the flu and are getting enough rest even if you get it. Featured Image Source

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25 Foods to increase your breast milk: How your body produces nature's perfect baby food

After you become a mother, all you are worried about is your baby's food. That is, breast milk. Some women are lucky, while some struggle to produce the right amount of breast milk. But thankfully, there are certain foods that increase breast milk and enhance lactation. Breast milk contains all the prime nutrients required for an overall growth and brain development of a newborn. Here is a list of the top 25 foods that you must include in your diet to increase breast milk and also keep you healthy. 1. Oatmeal: Oats are easy to prepare as a meal. 2. Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds boost the quantity of your breast milk. 3. Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply. 4. Unripe Papayas: Unripe Papayas are part of the South Asian cuisine. 5. Spinach And Beet Leaves: Spinach and beet leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid. 6. Garlic: Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk, as it is well-known for boosting lactation in nursing mothers. 7. Black Sesame Seeds: Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and believed to increase milk supply. 8. Carrots: A glass of carrot juice with breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation. 9. Water And Juices: Drinking water and juices is supposed to boost lactation. It increases the total milk volume per feed. 10. Barley: Barley not only boosts lactation, it also keeps you hydrated. 11. Asparagus: Asparagus is considered a must-have food for nursing mothers. 12. Brown Rice: Brown rice enhances breast milk production. It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation. It also gives nursing moms the extra energy that is required post delivery.  It also helps increase the appetite so as to enable the mother to eat nutritious food. 13. Apricots: During and post pregnancy, there are hormonal imbalance that takes place in your body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in your body. 14. Salmon: Salmon is a great source of EFA (Essential Fatty acids) and Omega-3. 15. Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds boost milk supply. Make sure you have them in moderation though. 16. Basil Leaves: Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants.   17. Dill Leaves: Dill leaves look like a bunch of fine, dark green, silky hair. They have a distinct odor. 18. Bottle Gourd: Bottle gourd is generally not a preferred vegetable, but is high on nutrition. 19. Sweet Potato: Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrate which is needed to fight the fatigue. 20. Almonds: Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E. 21. Chickpea: Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing mommies. 22. Drumstick: Drumstick has high iron and calcium content. 23. Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus): It is very important for nursing mothers to relax completely during lactation. Poppy seeds have sedative properties that help you relax and calm down. 24. Cow Milk: Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk. 25. Oils And Fats: It is recommended to keep fats and oils in your diet to a minimum, post pregnancy. All the above foods have been traditionally used to improve milk flow in new moms. However, while some have scientific backing the others don’t. Consume the foods in limited quantities, and note the side-effects, if any. Also, go for organic products as the pesticide residue in the foods and herbs can increase the lead content in your milk. Feature Image Source

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10 Homemade pregnancy drinks to keep you healthy and hydrated throughout

Water- During pregnancy, your body needs more water to cope with the demands of your changing body. Water is essential for healthy blood cells and to keep your body hydrated. Water is also a key component of breastmilk, and essential for good lactation. Coconut water- A natural isotonic beverage, coconut water helps prevent dehydration. It also relieves exhaustion by replenishing the natural salts lost by the body when you sweat. It is an extremely healthy option for quenching your thirst when pregnant. Limeade (nimbu pani)- The eternal favourite! Nimbu pani keeps you hydrated and provides vitamin C that helps your body to absorb iron more effectively. You can sip nimbu pani during the day or with your meal. And, if you're struggling with morning sickness nimbu pani with some mint (pudina), crushed ginger (adrak) and even chaat masala can be a welcome alternatives. Fresh fruit juices- Fresh juices from sweet lime (musambi), oranges (santara), pineapple (ananas), musk melon (kharbuja), and watermelons (tarbooj) are great for hot weather. If you have them fresh, these juices are packed with all the nutrients that fruits bring. If you buy juices from a store, make sure they have the label ‘100 per cent juice’ on them. Otherwise the drink might contain more sugar and artificial flavours than real fruits. Milk based drinks- Milk products are high in calcium, protein and Vitamin B-12. During the summer, chilled skimmed milk, lassi and buttermilk (chhaach) are a great way to keep cool and stay hydrated. Milkshakes or fruit smoothies made with some milk, curd, ice and fruit are packed with minerals and nutrients. All these are great as a healthy snack in between meals.  Traditional home-made drinks- Jal jeera, aam panna and fruit sherbets have a special place in most homes. Apart from providing various nutrients, these healthy drinks are believed to cool, hydrate as well as help cope with morning sickness. Home-made vegetable juices- If you're having trouble getting enough veggies in your diet, try drinking your vegetables instead. In the heat of summer when you are looking for something other than water to quench your thirst, you can have cold vegetable juices. These will be refreshing and provide you with nutrients. Fruit mocktails- Fruit mocktails are a great alternative when you're at a party, holiday, pub or social gathering and looking for a non-alcoholic drink. Fruit mocktails help you get some of the nutrients you and your baby need. Plus, you save money, because non-alcoholic drinks cost less and there are no arguments about who's driving back home. Water with frozen fruits- Make a plain glass of water more refreshing by adding frozen fruit such as orange (santra), lemon (nimbu), kiwi, peach (aadu), apricot (khubani) and plum (aloo bukhara) instead of ice cubes. The frozen fruit looks colourful floating about in the clear water and it chills your drink, giving it a hint of fruity flavour. Do make sure you use filtered water and fruits washed with filtered water. Ice tea- In the heat, iced tea might be more welcome than a cup of hot chai. Slices of lemon added to iced tea can also provide some relief from morning sickness. But iced tea does contain caffeine so you will need to count it in your daily allowance. Find out more about how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy.

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Your pregnancy diet guide (week 33-36)

The wait is about to get over and soon you will be holding your baby in your arms. That’s awesome! But since you are in your ninth month, still your baby is completely dependent on you for nourishment. Baby’s growth is almost through except for the brain and lungs which will keep developing post delivery also. Now your baby’s focus is on steady weight gain. Some vital nutrients that are required include: Protein: Responsible for body building and repairing, protein is an energy giving nutrient. It is a must to take enough protein currently since baby is gaining weight and development is still on. Make sure you take enough protein in each meal to ensure healthy growth of the baby. Ignorance here may mean a low birth weight baby. Protein rich sources are Beans, lean meat, whole pulses and legumes, milk and milk products, egg etc. Healthy fat: Since your focus right now is weight gain of your baby, energy dense foods are essential. Take enough fat in diet to help the baby accumulate fat in the body. But over eating of fat is also to be monitored. You may indulge in consumption of unhealthy fats like margarine, vanaspathi etc. which should be avoided since these fats are only calories which will only lead you to gain unnecessary weight. Instead, opt for healthy fats- a combination of ghee 1-2 tsp, mustard oil 2-3 tsp, olive or canola oil 1-2 tsp, vegetable oil 1 tsp can provide you with enough healthy fats essential for your baby’s brain development, and over all growth. You may even like to have healthy nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios as source of healthy fatty acids. Complex carbohydrate: Complex carbohydrates are ones with fiber which is super important at this stage for proper digestion, consistent release of energy, relieving constipation, and healthy weight gain. With so many benefits, complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables with edible peel, whole cereals- dalia, brown bread, whole wheat noodles, bran rich roti, brown rice, bajra etc are your resorts to good health. On the contrary, simple carbohydrates like sugar, refined wheat flour may lead to increased release of glucose and may cause gestational diabetes, unhealthy weight gain and related problems in the baby. Folic acid: Still essential, this nutrient can be derived from dietary sources like green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kiwi, citrus fruits like orange, sunflower seeds etc. Iron: Iron is one essential nutrient at this stage since baby’s circulation is fully developed and additional blood volume needs to be compensated for. Iron supplements are continued by the doctor at this stage, but dietary iron is also essential. Sources include Beetroots, Dark green leafy vegetables, red meat etc. Make sure to have vegetarian sources of iron with vitamin C rich foods like lemon and orange for better absorption of iron in the body. Calcium: An important nutrient for the development of strong bones and teeth of the baby, calcium is also required by your body for avoiding osteoporosis at a later stage. Calcium can be received from milk and milk products, bony fish, meat, spinach, banana, ragi flour etc. Try to consume 3 glasses of milk during this time or and equivalent milk product. Some general dietary tips for 33-36 weeks: Drink a lot of water to prevent or relieve constipation Along with food, exercise is important too. A half an hour normal walk is important for easy labor and for keeping other health problems at bay Having 5-7 servings of lots of colorful fruits and vegetables will help you maintain a healthy weight, provide you with essential micro-nutrients, relieve constipation and give you satiety Fruits like papaya can also be freely consumed for ninth month to induce labor if the baby’s growth is normal Spicy food should be avoided since it may lead to acidity to which body is prone during this time Small frequent meals at a gap of 2-3 hours can help with healthy weight gain, and proper growth of the baby Some dietary restrictions during this time are: Sea food (due to high mercury content in it), unpasteurized milk and milk products like soft cheese, raw egg and undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, food from outside, excessive sugar and salt, saccharin, caffeine (not more than 2 cups coffee or tea in a day), tobacco and alcohol. These items if consumed, may cause harm you and your baby. Some may even lead to still birth, small for date baby, low birth weight baby, mentally and physically retarded baby and worst consequences. So best is to avoid these temptations! Some healthy snack ideas for your ninth month: Recipe 1: Avacado mint smoothie Ingredients: ½ avocado pulp 3-4 mint stems 1 tsp-soaked chia seeds 1/4th cup curd 1 tsp honey Method: Blend all the above listed ingredients to a smooth paste. You may add some crushed ice to it. Nutritional value: This recipe provides enough omega 3 fatty acid, fiber, calcium and protein to you. Recipe 2: Egg pizza Ingredients: 1 egg 1/4th cup Chopped vegetables like capsicum, sauted mushrooms, bell peppers, spring onion 40 g minced paneer Oregano, salt and pepper 1 tsp pomace olive oil Method: In a heated pan, heat olive oil. Once hot, break open the egg into the pan at a low flame. Sprinkle all the vegetables, paneer, and seasoning to it. Cover the egg with a lid and cook for-3 -4 minutes. You may remove the lid to check if the egg is completely cooked or not. Don’t flip the egg. Let it completely cook. Once the yolk is set, turn off the flame and serve it hot with 1 brown bread toast or with your favorite healthy beverage. Nutritional value: This recipe is rich in protein, calcium, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and folic acid. We know your baby is on the way to your arms. Make sure you hold a healthy baby in your strong arms! Eat healthy, be healthy.  

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