Suffering from postpartum depression? Try these foods to uplift the mood
It is often difficult to imagine that probably the happiest moments in your life, as a woman, might be accompanied by something like anxiety or depression. However, postpartum depression is very real, and it can set in even when you are overjoyed upon seeing your baby for the first time. Also, you might be wondering how you will manage to look after your little one, when you are not easy in your own mind.
Now, accepting that you are suffering from postpartum depression is the first step towards managing it. And the good news is that, apart from getting help and support from loved ones and talking to your doctor about it, you can follow a healthy diet to feel better and happy. To know more, read on.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a term that refers to mood swings that affect many women after childbirth. Women going through postpartum psychosis can experience feelings of sadness, ranging from mild to extreme, as well as anxious thoughts, fatigue and exhaustion. They might find it difficult to even cope with their daily activities. And this might affect the way in which they can care for the new life.
Why do you experience postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression can happen due to several physical and emotional factors. Also, you should know that the level of hormones, like oestrogen and progesterone, which support the pregnancy phase, drop after childbirth. This hormonal imbalance results in alterations of the chemicals in the brain of the mother, often triggering episodes of mood swings. Alteration in glucose metabolism, which is common among pregnant women, is another risk factor as well.
Modifications in the neurotransmitter (chemical messengers in the brain) levels post childbirth is also known to cause depression. Also, changes in the lifestyle of the mother, for instance, changes in food intake, inadequate sleep and rest, lack of exercise and cumulative exhaustion may have an impact on the overall mood. Social support in the form of emotional assistance and motivation can help you fight postpartum depression though.
Can food and diet help in uplifting mood during postpartum depression?
Our brains function all day long, even while we are asleep, and therefore require fuel in the form of food that we eat. So, the food you consume has a direct impact on the brain structure and brain functioning, as well as the mood. So, a slight modification in your diet after delivery can help in postpartum depression treatment.
Healthy food for mother after delivery
Here are a few tips to nourish your brain and uplift your mood during postpartum depression:
- Include sources of omega-3 fatty acid in your daily diet: Specifically include Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). You can get these from foods like fatty fishes and seafood, and nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Ensure adequate intake of vitamins B6 and B12: They not only help maintain the spine and brain (both very crucial for your mood) in a good condition, but also aid in the generation of happy chemicals in the brain. Relevant food sources include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, whole cereals, liver, egg, milk, and seeds.
- Include "good bacteria" in your daily diet: The production of neurotransmitters that are known to mediate mood, is influenced by the presence of good bacteria in your stomach. In other words, a happy and healthy stomach has a big role to play in mediating your mood. So, include probiotics such as yogurt in your diet.
- Avoid processed and refined foods: Include more whole fruits, vegetables, nuts and unprocessed grains for easy digestion and a happy stomach.
- Ensure adequate intake of zinc and selenium: Zinc can be obtained from all food grains, pulses, nuts, fleshy foods, liver, fish and milk. The food sources of selenium include cereals and grains.
- Supplement your diet with antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E: Antioxidants can help your body to fight against the damaging effects of free radicals. These can strengthen your immunity and keep inflammation at bay. So, consume citrus fruits like oranges, tomatoes, berries, milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, fruits such as mango, papaya, and vegetables such as carrot and pumpkin.
The birth of your little one is not only associated with moments of excitement and joy in the family, but it also marks an important milestone in your life. So, don’t let postpartum depression stop you from enjoying motherhood. This issue is very common and often gets resolved within a week, with support and encouragement from the family. By making certain changes in your diet after delivery, as well as consulting your doctor or healthcare provider, you can embrace your new life and newborn with much enthusiasm.