Breastfeeding is recommended for the infants for at least the first six months of their lives as breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients they need for proper growth and development. It is also rich in antibodies from mother which help to build up the immune system and resistance to the infections. Many women are not able to produce enough milk to feed their babies. Breast milk can be increased by certain natural foods, and fenugreek is one of them. Let us understand about the benefits of fenugreek in a nursing mother in this article. While further research continues to evaluate the same, there are several studies that support this idea.1
What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a herb which is native to south and west Asia. India is the largest producer of this herb. Its leaves and seeds are used in various dishes.
Fenugreek serves our body with various nutrients and health benefits. It is popularly used to control blood sugar levels naturally.2 Fenugreek leaves contain potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and the seeds are enriched with vitamin A, C, and B- complex. Also, it is believed to have the potential of a herbal galactagogue. All this makes it a very useful herb for everyone and especially for the nursing mothers.
How To Consume Fenugreek?
There are several ways fenugreek can be added to the diet.
- A teaspoonful of seeds can be chewed daily
- The sprouted fenugreek seeds can be used in salad
- Fenugreek tea can be prepared to enjoy its benefits. Add fenugreek to boiling water and mix honey in it and drink.
- Fenugreek seeds can be roasted and powdered. This powder can be used to flavor dals and curries.
- You can also buy fenugreek capsules which are easily available in the market.
- Leaves of fenugreek can be mixed in chapatti dough to make chapattis or parathas.
- It can be mixed with rice and cooked to make porridge. This porridge really helps in boosting milk supply.
Benefits of Fenugreek for Nursing Mothers
Fenugreek is known to provide nursing mothers with various important benefits, all of which are listed below.
Increases Milk Production
Fenugreek is a well-known herb that can help increase milk production in lactating mothers. This is one of the most important benefits of fenugreek for nursing mothers. Both the leaves and the seeds have been used for a hundred years by the lactating mother to boost the milk supply. It contains several flavonoids and vitamins which are very beneficial for the nursing mother. It also contains phytoestrogen which is similar to the female hormone estrogen which stimulates the milk ducts in the breast to grow. Fenugreek contains diosgenin- a compound which increases milk flow in lactating mothers.
Once the flow has increased it should be stopped. The flow of the milk will be maintained if the baby is fed regularly.
Prevent Postpartum Anemia
After delivery, many women face a chronic iron deficiency which is characterized by increased fatigue, weakness, and irritability. Fenugreek is known to combat anemia due to its high mineral content. It is rich in iron which fills up for the deficiency. This too is a notable benefit of fenugreek for nursing mothers
Reduces Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers are a very common condition which a nursing mother is found suffering from. This postpartum oral issue can be annoying and cause a lot of discomforts. This can have adverse effects on the diet which can affect the nutrient supply to the nursing infant. One of the other benefits of fenugreek for nursing mothers is that fenugreek is loaded with nutrients. Also, fenugreek lowers the inflammation with the anti-inflammatory elements present in it. This reduces the mouth ulcers as well as any other infection prevailing in the body.
Staying on toes is an essential part of motherhood. For this, you need to be healthy and free from any illness, as the illness can affect the infant dependent on you. Fenugreek with its antioxidant properties prevents or delays certain cell damage. It is believed to be an excellent preventive herb to keep off the disease.
Improves Skin Health
During and after pregnancy the body undergoes enormous hormone changes which can lead to breakouts, blackheads, or pimples on the skin. Fenugreek stabilizes the body reaction which can arise due to this change in the hormone levels during and after pregnancy. A paste of fenugreek can be applied on the affected area. It can be kept for 20 minutes and washed with water boiled with fenugreek seed.
Improves Blood Sugar
Many women suffer from gestational diabetes during the period of pregnancy. It goes away after delivery but is not the same in each case. It can lead to type 2 diabetes in nursing mothers and thereafter if you are not cautious. Fenugreek has the ability to bring down blood glucose levels and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. This too is one of the greatest benefits of fenugreek for nursing mothers.
Keeps Hair Healthy
Another thing which badly haunts nursing mothers is hair loss after delivery. This happens due to a decline in the estrogen levels. Although it is a temporary loss which may last up to a year but watching your hair fall tremendously is actually very depressing. Fenugreek contains all nutrients such as nicotinic acid, potassium, protein, lecithin, and others, to boost hair growth.
New mom sleep hassle is actually well known by all the mothers. Insomnia is a part of the postpartum process no matter how exhausted you are. It is really important if you have a few precious moments you would want to fall asleep. Fenugreek is known as a natural sleep aid and helps you sleep better. You can mix fenugreek with honey and take at bedtime.
Nursing mothers may suffer from constipation after delivering the baby. It could be due to the lack of fiber in the diet. Fenugreek is high in fiber, and so is helpful in keeping the digestive system on track. This is a noteworthy benefit of fenugreek for nursing mothers.
Once the menstrual cycle returns after delivery, it can bring along the premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is believed that fenugreek reduces the effect of PMS and the symptoms associated with it. It can be because of the presence of a vitamin named choline, which regulates the central nervous system. Fenugreek also contains isoflavones and diosgenin which contains estrogen-type properties which help ease PMS symptoms.
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