It is that time of the year again when we honour maternal bonds, motherhood and role of mothers in the society as we mark Mother’s Day on May 8 this year but as we celebrate mothers and recognise their selflessness in putting family first, it is important to shine the spotlight on their own health and well-being. While we can treat our moms to the usual breakfast in bed, cards, flowers and gifts; this year, let us encourage women, whether new or future mothers, to focus on their nutrition basis the body changes they experience through different stages of life.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ganesh Kadhe, Associate Director Medical and Scientific Affairs at Abbott’s Nutrition business, shared, “A woman passes many milestones throughout her life and her health should stay top-of-mind every step of the way. Now is the perfect time to think about how women can keep their minds and bodies healthy, whether it’s a new mom navigating motherhood with her day-old daughter or a woman in her golden years.”
He listed 4 advises on fitness and nutrient tips for pregnant moms and also healthy ageing of mothers:
1. Start out young – Growth spurts and changes due to puberty are common during adolescence. As teenagers develop, three critical systems of their bodies are in flux: their muscles mass along with long bones, hormonal maturity and blood along with immunity. To ensure these areas grow properly, girls need the right nutrients.
a) For muscles mass and bone development: Most people think of adequate proteins and calcium when they think of bone development, but vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, collagen and essential fatty acids are also necessary for bone health and turnover. Consuming these nutrients can help lower a teen’s risk for bone fracture now and reduce their chances of developing osteoporosis in the future.
b) For blood: Iron and B vitamins such as B-12 and folate are required for the development of healthy red blood cells. Without adequate iron, teen girls are unable to produce the red blood cells they need to carry oxygen throughout the body. This can cause fatigue, dizziness, and poor sports performance if one becomes anaemic due to low iron stores.
c) For Hormonal maturity: Balanced diet, adequate proteins, high fibers, stress free life, regular exercise, weight control and sound sleep are critical for a successful transition of hormonal foundation monthly cycles and future pregnancy.
2. Eating right during pregnancy: A woman’s diet during pregnancy plays a pivotal role in both the mother’s and baby’s health.
a) Iron is instrumental in building the red blood cells required to deliver oxygen to a growing baby. Foods like dark leafy greens, lean meats, nuts, tofu, and white beans are rich sources of iron.
b) Folate is a B vitamin critical for healthy cell growth and preventing spinal cord abnormalities, known as neural tube defects. The key is to get enough folate before you conceive and throughout pregnancy. This can be found in vegetables including spinach, lettuce, broccoli, sprouts, peanuts, peas and more.
c) Calcium is imperative for the development of fetal bones and teeth, as well as maternal bone health. For those who don’t consume dairy, calcium is found in other foods like soy products, broccoli, canned salmon, dark leafy greens etc.
d) Protein: Adequate maternal dietary energy and protein intake during pregnancy are essential for positive pregnancy outcomes. Protein is not only necessary for healthy growth and development of the foetus, but also for accretion in maternal tissues. Proteins help to build and maintain tissue and muscle mass.
e) DHA, a unique omega-3 fat is known to support the development of baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system. Foods including salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts, and are the top food sources of DHA.
f) Fiber: Many pregnant women experience constipation throughout their pregnancy. To prevent this uncomfortable state, make sure you eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains and drink plenty of water.
3. The importance of prioritising motherhood journey: Mothers of teenagers and youngsters have dual responsibility of their own health and inculcating good dietary habits in their kids. As we age, what we eat can impact our health, so it’s important to put some thought into what we eat and drink.
Key ingredients for future healthy ageing are:
a) Protein is essential at every age, whether you’re trying to build muscle, maintain strength or recover from surgery. One can find protein in meats, beans, dairy products, fish, nuts, seeds, tofu.
b) Fiber is typically regarded as support for digestive health, but roughage does more than simply give your gut a workout. Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains can help with lowering cholesterol and managing body weight simply by keeping you full.
4. Healthy aging is key in golden period: Did you know that people over the age of 40 may lose up to 8 percent of their muscle mass per decade and the rate of decline may double after the age of 70? Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, affects nearly 1 in 3 people over the age 50. Not only are muscles important for everyday physical tasks like picking things up, reaching for something, but healthy muscles are essential for organ function, skin health, immunity and your metabolism. In other words, maintaining muscle mass as you age is essential for prolonging a happy and healthy life.
For aging adults, an even higher protein intake is recommended to support muscle and strength needs.
a) Calcium: As we age, our bones lose some of that calcium, as well as some of their mass, heightening the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. That’s why calcium is important for women over 50. Consuming milk, yogurt and cheese are a good source of calcium uptake.
b) Vitamin D is important for sturdy bones and unlike other nutrients, vitamin D is the only one that we can synthesize when our skin is exposed to sunlight. It can also be found in eggs, fatty fish and vitamin D fortified dairy products.
Choose a balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and probiotics for healthy digestion.