Inputs by Sheryl Salis, RD, CDE
Mothering is hard work and a constant in a woman’s life. From caring for her children, running a household and most likely striving for professional goals are tasks most mothers juggle with and yet are able to accomplish them with utmost grace. Amidst all the work they do for their families, it becomes a nearly impossible task for them to take care of their own health. With the outburst of this pandemic, it is even more important for her to take care of not just her family’s health but also her own. This would be the best time for every mom to indulge in some self-care as well as in various activities to keep themselves fit and active to ensure optimal health.
Many moms are now motivated to stay healthy for themselves to set a good example for their little ones. So if you are a mother working to become healthier, you are setting a great example to your family especially your kids. Considering the lockdown, embark on a healthy lifestyle with some home exercise preferably in the morning. Regular physical activity helps build muscle strength, balance and flexibility while also helping manage stress better.
While physical activity is important, the intake of nutritious food is equally necessary for overall well- being. It is recommended that we incorporate ingredients called “Superfoods” which confer good
health; superfoods are considered a nutrient powerhouse that provide large quantities of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins for small amounts consumed– they are foods that have bioactive compounds which confer immense health benefits.
Superfood- Virgin Coconut Oil
Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil (VCNO) is recommended for its myriad health benefits. It is obtained from fresh and matured kernel of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, cold pressed & non- refined. It is a rich source of naturally occurring Lauric acid and contains Vitamin E which helps to improve body immunity along with many other health benefits. Several studies show a positive association between virgin coconut oil consumption and how it helps in supporting people affected with Alzhemeir’s.. It also benefits breast-feeding mothers as the MCTs found in the oil are similar to the fats found in breast milk and have a similar nutraceutical effect. It is recommended to include two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil in the diet every day to maintain a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
Calcium for strong bones
Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth, keeping them resilient as we age. Calcium deficiency can lead to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, sleep disorders and depression. Hence it is important to get
enough calcium in the diet in combination with magnesium and vitamin D to support optimal bone health. Calcium-rich foods such as skimmed/toned milk, curd and paneer, cheese, fish, green leafy
vegetables, sesame seeds (til), finger millet (ragi) must be included in the diet.
Iron rich foods
Iron is key to good health and energy levels in women especially prior to the menopause phase. Due to the blood loss in women every month, women require more than twice the amount of iron than men do. Include iron-rich sources like pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), kidney beans (rajma), soybean, turnip greens, and green leafy vegetables. Squeeze lime on food to enhance iron
The importance of folate or Vitamin B9 in women
Vitamin B9 also known as folic acid is another nutrient many women don’t get enough of in their diets. Folate lowers the risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancer. It is also an essential nutrient for women of child-bearing age to reduce the chance of neurological birth defects. Mint, spinach, Bengal gram, black gram, green gram, red gram, gingelly seeds, soya bean are good sources of folate.
As you celebrate Mother’s Day in a lockdown, focus on personal health as a Mother’s health ultimately impacts her family’s well-being.