Best Foods for Breastfeeding from Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers dietary guidance for breastfeeding mothers that aims to support lactation, provide essential nutrients, and promote overall postpartum recovery. Here are some of the best foods to include in your diet from a TCM perspective:
Warm and Nourishing Foods: TCM emphasizes the importance of warming foods to promote Qi (vital energy) circulation and balance. Foods like rice, oats, quinoa, and warm soups or stews made with lean meats (chicken, turkey, and beef) or plant-based proteins (tofu, tempeh) are recommended.
Bone Broth: Bone broth is highly regarded in TCM for its nourishing qualities. It's believed to strengthen the Spleen and Kidney meridians, which are important for digestion and overall vitality.
Ginger: Ginger is a warming spice that is often recommended in TCM to aid digestion and improve circulation. You can add fresh ginger to soups, teas, and stir-fries.
Black Sesame Seeds: Black sesame seeds are rich in nutrients, including calcium, iron, and healthy fats. They are considered beneficial for lactation support. You can incorporate them into porridge or sprinkle them on dishes.
Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root): Dang Gui is a commonly used herb in TCM for postpartum recovery and lactation. It's believed to nourish the blood and improve milk production. It can be consumed as a tea or in herbal soups.
Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek is used in both TCM and Ayurveda to boost milk supply. You can brew fenugreek tea or include it in your diet in various forms.
Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, which is essential for both mom and baby.
Dates and Goji Berries: These are often added to postpartum soups and porridges in TCM for their nourishing properties and ability to support blood and energy levels.
Garlic: Garlic is believed to improve circulation and stimulate milk production. It can be added to soups, stir-fries, and other dishes.
Millet: Millet is a warming grain in TCM and is considered beneficial for lactating mothers. It's rich in nutrients like iron and B vitamins.
Water: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for milk production. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, herbal teas, or warm water with lemon.
Avoid Cold Foods: In TCM, cold or raw foods are generally discouraged for breastfeeding mothers as they are believed to disrupt the flow of Qi and blood. Opt for warm, cooked meals instead.
Remember that individual needs may vary, and it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a TCM practitioner for personalized guidance on your diet during breastfeeding, especially if you have specific health concerns or dietary restrictions.