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From our youngest years, we’ve been taught that the quantity of food we eat is just as important as its quality, as far as staying healthy and well-nourished is concerned. In Singapore, there is no scarcity of nutritious food supplies. They are all available in major supermarkets. However, in the same supermarkets, you will also find an overabundance of food that either have “empty calories” or food that is not able to provide good nutrients to our bodies.

Why Postnatal Nutrition Matters

Post pregnancy, many women are taken aback by the condition of their bodies. If they had been physically inactive for the most part of their pregnancy, then it’s a cinch that on top of having gained excess weight, they may have also developed loose ligaments, more frail bones, and flabby muscles.

While a personal training program with a fitness trainer can help you effectively manage postnatal weight loss, this program needs to be complemented with proper postnatal nutrition, particularly if you are breastfeeding. If your goal is to lose the weight acquired during pregnancy, that’s very commendable. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice eating a balanced diet for the sake of losing excess poundage rapidly.

When you deny yourself of proper nutrition you are in effect forcing your body to cope with the numerous demands placed on your shoulders post pregnancy, even without having sufficient resources to do so. That’s the main reason that new moms need to have proper nutrition. Remember, while it may seem contrary to be considering the importance of eating sufficiently when you are trying to lose weight, it actually isn’t. On the contrary, being properly nourished is one of the keys to achieving weight loss among new moms.

The Role of Nutrients

Your personal trainer will ordinarily be among the chief supporters of good nutrition as one of the pillars of weight loss. Basically, that’s because personal training can now incorporate modules for making sure that you get a holistic approach to improving the way your body looks, maintaining a good weight, and having sufficient sources of energy to draw from as you perform your workout. This holistic approach could include recommendations from your personal trainer on the role of proper nutrition.

Each person’s dietary needs are different. The amount and kind of nutrition is dependent on factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, occupation, and other considerations, that could have an impact on one’s overall health. The following nutrients listed are highly needed by women who gave birth recently. Pregnancy (and breastfeeding) can easily deplete these nutrients, so, it’s important to get them back in the body to cope with the demands of new motherhood:

Vitamin D

For faster recovery of muscle strength, and for the building of stronger bones, Vitamin D is required. Food only provides trace amounts of Vitamin D. That’s why it’s important to get your skin exposed to sunlight, if you want to have enough Vitamin D to help you comply with you’re the workout program being handled for you by your fitness trainer.

Calcium

When new mothers don’t have sufficient calcium intake, their bones become brittle and are at higher risk for being fractured later on, as they continue to age. Excellent sources of calcium include milk, cheese, yoghurt, fresh or dry figs (avoid the ones preserved with a lot of sugar), and soy milk that is calcium-fortified.  Most nuts and seeds, and some fish, such as sardines and salmon are also good sources of calcium.

Vitamin B12 and Folate

Vitamin B12 is perfect for the development of the nervous systems and red blood cells. It is indispensable for the breaking down of fatty and amino acids, to create energy. It works best with folate, as both are actually dependent on one another to complete their functions. Excellent sources of Vitamin B12 include red meat, seafood, and B12 fortified dairy products and breakfast cereals.

Folate is necessary for the optimum growth of blood and nerve tissues. Lentils, dried beans, spinach, asparagus, folate-fortified breakfast cereals, chick peas, nuts, avocado,  tomato, oranges, cruciferous vegetables, are food that are rich in folate.

Iron

After delivery, a woman’s requirements for iron may vary, depending on whether she is breastfeeding or not. It’s best to consult your obstetrician about the amount of iron that you need to maintain good health.  Lean red meat, fish, and chicken are excellent sources of iron. Other good sources include leafy green vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, nuts and iron-enriched breakfast cereals. All plant-based sources of iron need to be taken with foods rich in Vitamin C for maximum effect and absorption.

Iodine

Iodine is important after pregnancy to regulate your metabolism. It’s also important in maintaining your central nervous system cells. Canned salmon, fortified bread, iodized salt, fortified milk, seaweed and fish are excellent sources of iodine.

Remember that being properly nourished is good for you and your baby, and will help you to achieve fitness as well as lose excess pounds more efficiently.

Yours in health,

Sharm, MSc
sharm@gurufitness.com

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