Guest Post by Jaren Soloff, RD, CLE
Whether you are looking to conceive, newly pregnant, or just came home with your precious little one- flaxseed should be a part of your new regimen! Pregnancy and breastfeeding is often a time when mothers increase their awareness surrounding their diet. You already know to boost your intake of lean proteins, whole grains, and calcium rich foods, but have you added flaxseed?
Here are 3 science backed reasons to incorporate flaxseed into your pregnancy and postpartum plan!
1. Easing Constipation + Uncomfortable Digestive Symptoms
One of the least glamorous side effects of pregnancy can be disruption in normal GI patterns. Both the weight of a growing uterus and a shifted eating schedule can impact normal bowel movements and lead to constipation. Adequate fiber is the best recommendation for getting things moving. Mommas need around 25 grams per day. 2 Tbsp of Manitoba Milling’s Smooth Whole-Milled Flaxseed boasts 4 grams and 1 cup of Manitoba Milling’s Flax Milk has 3 grams! Eating on a regular pattern (every 2-3 hours) can also help to ease uncomfortable heartburn, constipation, and delayed gastric emptying.
2. Boosting Brain Health for Mom + Baby
Most mommas know to consume omega 3 rich foods during pregnancy and postpartum because of the impact on brain health. The most commonly recognized sources of this fatty acid are fish oil and fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna. This can make it challenging for plant based mommas or those who dislike fish to get the needed dose of omegas.
Milled flaxseed is one of the richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Plant foods contain ALA Omega 3. Research suggests that ALA Omega 3 is beneficial for a growing fetus, however, since more research has been done on the benefits of the long-chain Omega 3s EPA and DHA for fetal development, mothers who do not consume fish should also take an EPA/DHA supplement to support pregnancy and postpartum health. 1 serving of either Manitoba Milling’s Flaxseed or Flax Milk contains the daily recommended amount of ALA Omega 3s.
3.Can Increase Breast Milk Supply
Maintaining an adequate milk supply postpartum is a concern at the top of most momma’s lists. Whether you are returning back to work, struggling with low supply, or looking to stock up your milk freezer by increasing pumping output- implementing galactogogues into your diet can boost your milk production. Galactogogues are substances that increases milk supply. While not all moms need galactogogues, consuming them can help with the above scenarios. Flaxseed is a galactogenic food that can be easily incorporated in the postpartum diet. Galactogogues are most effective when consumed in addition to frequent nursing.
Jaren Soloff, RD, CLE is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Educator. She is based in San Diego, CA and specializes in eating disorders, pregnancy + postpartum nutrition. You can see more of her work at www.empoweredrd.com and connect with her on instagram @empoweredrd.