The confinement period is a time for mothers to recover after childbirth. This includes restoring the body’s blood supply and ensuring sufficient energy to breastfeed the baby.
Traditional confinement foods include hot soups and roasted chicken cooked with herbs. These are believed to purge the body’s “cooling” wind, promote milk production and rebalance the yin-yang.
Meat and fish
The confinement diet in East Asia is based on food that purges “wind” in the body and promotes blood circulation. It also helps boost milk production and strengthens the joints. Avoid foods that cool the body like bitter melon, radish, tomatoes and cucumber. Instead, eat foods that are “warming” and promote blood circulation, such as ginger. Ginger also stimulates the gastrointestinal system.
The high levels of iron found in meat and fish make them an essential part of a confinement meal. They also provide protein and zinc that help to fight postpartum depression. However, it is best to choose lean or grilled meat and fish. Avoid fatty or salty meats, as they will increase the risk of inflammation and blood clots in the new mother.
Mackerel fish is a healthy confinement dish that contains both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a good source of black pepper which is an effective antidepressant and can reduce some symptoms of depression. To prepare this dish, add the fish to a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Let it simmer until the fish and other ingredients are fully cooked. Add spring onions and fried onion on top and serve.
Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, cream) are rich in calcium and important nutrients like protein, potassium and phosphorus. Several foods in the dairy group are also good sources of vitamins A, D and B12 and also choline. Dairy foods have a high energy content, and are a source of protein, which is important for breastfeeding mothers to help them recover from childbirth.
Dairies are an important part of the diets of many people and contribute to meeting nutrient recommendations, particularly calcium. However, the Dairy Group contributes significant amounts of sodium to the diet and is a source of saturated fat and cholesterol. Replacing fluid milk with sugar-sweetened beverages would decrease diet quality, increase calorie intake and leave individuals further from meeting nutrient recommendations.
Whether you are lactose intolerant or concerned about the environmental impact of dairy production, there are many non-dairy alternatives to meet your nutritional needs. In fact, plant-based “milks” have a similar nutrition profile to dairy and are generally lower in sodium and saturated fat.
It is best to eat dairy in combination with other foods that are high in fibre, as they can be hard on the digestive system, especially when consuming large quantities. For example, add a serving of dairy to a meal that includes vegetables that are high in fibre (such as bitter melon and radish) and/or protein-rich foods (such as mung beans). Choose balancing warm ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, oats and quinoa to help with digestion.
Fruits are the mature and ripened reproductive structures (ovary) of flowers that enclose seeds and help with seed dispersal. They have a fleshy outer material that can be sweet, sour or bitter. They are an important part of the diet of new mothers because they provide essential nutrients to the baby, and help in milk supply.
In addition, these foods are also rich in a variety of antioxidants, which protect against postpartum depression. Those who follow the Soup-Vegetables-Fruits dietary pattern were found to be at reduced risk for PPD. The dietary pattern is also high in B-group vitamins, which are necessary for the synthesis of monoamine neurotransmitters that can improve mood and reduce anxiety.
These fruits are rich in vitamin C and folic acid, which are important for breastfeeding. They are also a good source of fiber, which helps the digestive system and reduces constipation. They also contain a large amount of potassium, which is needed to regulate blood pressure and prevent strokes.
For a confinement diet that is rich in fruits, it is recommended to consume bananas and papayas. These foods are a good source of energy and contain potassium, which can help with constipation. It is also important to drink enough fluids during this time, particularly water and herbal tea. It is recommended to add red date tea into the confinement diet, which is a great way to cleanse the blood and promote circulation.
Cereals are grains that contain high levels of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. They are easy to digest and are a great source of energy. They are a staple food for many people and can be easily found in the grocery store. Some of the most common cereals include wheat, barley, rye, millet, corn, and quinoa. These can be eaten on their own or combined with other foods such as fruits, yogurt, and milk.
There are a few important differences between grains and cereals. Grains are the edible seeds of a grass family plant and are rich in nutrients. They are grown in large quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other crop. They are also considered staple crops. The main types of grains are rice, wheat (common and spelt), oats, triticale, buckwheat, rye, barley, and millet.
Cereals are the processed versions of grains and undergo a different kind of processing. They are usually cooked, steamed, or roasted before they can be consumed. They are often fortified with micronutrients such as iron, iodine, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. These are added because they cannot be naturally found in the ingredients that make up cereals. Examples of fortified cereals include oatmeal, corn flakes, and granola bars. These are considered healthy snacks and can be a good addition to a new mother’s diet.