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Spice it Up For Postpartum Wellness

By Doula Jen

Some mamas like it hot! If the habanero-infused breast milk doesn’t bother Baby, ROCK ON!

Spicy foods have many health benefits, including cardiovascular support and cancer prevention. AMAZING, of course, but today I’m interested in discussing the benefits that specifically help the postpartum mom:

1.  Weight Loss:  I’m not into Mama worrying about this right away, dieting during recovery, or scrutinizing her gorgeous and powerful postpartum body. However, she will worry and scrutinize and yearn for a parting with that baby weight no matter what I say, so I’d rather the pounds melt away naturally through gradual return to activity and the ready-made metabolism boosters found in yummy spicy food! 

2.  Lower Blood Pressure:  Blood pressure spikes after birth are a real and scary thing! This is a wonderful benefit for the new mama, especially if she struggled with hypertension during pregnancy.

3.  Happy Hormones:  Spicy foods boost the production of serotonin, the feel good hormone. High levels of serotonin help ward off depression and stress. Sound just about perfect for the new mama? Beyond perfect…ALMOST worth a slightly gassy baby if that extra hot Tikka Masala makes Mama happy.

4.  Satisfaction/Fewer Cravings:  After a spicy meal, people are less likely to crave other foods. Because the foods that inspire cravings usually fall on the unhealthy side, this means healthier eating over all. I’m all for giving Mama a treat…or two…or three. I’m also for a balanced diet that isn’t too high in sugar. Why? Sugar highs and lows mean mood highs and lows for the vulnerable new mom. Over-indulging in sugary snacks also stimulates yeast production, which can lead to thrush.

5.  Immune Support:  Chili peppers contain about 5 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange! And much less sugar. Skip the OJ and go for the salsa!

MOST babies don’t react strongly to the foods their mothers eat while breastfeeding. In fact, you can actually think of it as developing a diverse palate at a very young age! Babies might have sensitivities to cow’s milk and caffeine, which pass through the milk as actual substances, but spicy food is almost always fine. Go for it!

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