Pregnancy is a news that every woman is excited to hear. Many factors have to be borne in mind to have a smooth sail throughout this phase. Of which two most crucial one’s are nutrition-healthy eating practices & emotional/mental well-being. Food has a prime role to play not only for physical nourishment but also emotional /mental nourishment. Both these factors have a long term impact on a person’s quality of life and well-being. WONDER FOODS are those that offer maximum nutritional benefits. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also have a role in keeping up the hormones which uplifts positive feelings like a sense of happiness, contentment & excitement.
Mental health problems also have biological manifestations and that is where these super foods come handy. These foods help handle mental health issues like anxiety, depression, panic attacks and stress which some women face during pregnancy. Inclusion of these healthy foods in the quantities recommended on a regular basis definitely has a positive impact on mental wellbeing and improving mood. Sneha Sanjay, Senior Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru (Jayanagar) told us about a few miracle food items that will elevate your mood during pregnancy.
Pregnancy mood swings can be caused due to different reasons
- Fatigue- During pregnancy, women become more tired easily. Lack of sleep and energy can affect the mood.
- Hormonal changes- Estrogen and progesterone and other hormone levels change throughout pregnancy can affect the neurotransmitters and change the way the mother feels.
- Stress- Pregnancy may add another layer of stress. Constantly worrying about the baby or worry of being a good parent can put a damper on the mood.
The following are the miracle foods that help elevate mental wellbeing in a pregnant woman:
- The first ingredient on the list of foods for a pregnant woman.
- Helps to tackle mood fluctuations & improves the sense of “feel good”.
- Add just about 2-3 strands to a glass of warm milk to reap the best out of it.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- It is one of the key mood busting nutrient that is not produced by one’s body. Inclusion of fish (Salmon/Sardines/Anchovies/oysters) in steamed/pressure cooked forms twice a week proves to be helpful.
- Vegetarian sources can be from walnuts, chia seeds & flax seeds.
- They are best known for their role in digestive health while also promising on uplifting mood & helping to deal with mood swings in pregnancy.
- Consuming varied range of probiotics like fermented food, fresh curd & it’s based recipes (Buttermilk/Lassi), fermented rice, tempeh & kefir.
- Unrefined whole grains are vital sources of B-vitamins.
- B1, B5, B6 & B12 are crucial for keeping up the mood in pregnancy.
- Whole grains in any recipe preparation like oats, brown rice, millets, and whole wheat should be on the list over refined cereals.
- Yes, you heard it right; chocolate is good for you but it has to be dark chocolate.
- Consuming a dark version once or twice a week reduces the stress hormone-Cortisol & other stress related hormones & makes the mother feel good & happy.
- Try to swap a cup of sugar laden beverage with a warm & soothing sips of chamomile tea or any herbal tea. A specific naturally occurring component in this refreshing beverage is researched to improve mood swings for a pregnant woman. Having one cup of this in a day eases mood disturbances.
- Popularly known as sunshine vitamin is responsible for increasing the serotonin levels that greatly influence the mood in pregnancy.
- Sun exposure is the prime way but apart from that even fortified food (Egg yolks, Mushrooms, Soy milk, Orange Juice) do help to handle the issue.
So, always reach out to these foods rather than binging on deep/shallow fried food, sweets, sugar based beverages & fast foods. For this wise choice not only the mind thanks & feels happy but also the body does.
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