Mothers are the pivot of a family's health and nutrition, often acting as caregivers to their partners, children and ageing parents. Their own health, however, often takes a backseat while prioritising others.
A new survey on women's health from MDVIP and Ipsos reveals that the Covid-19 crisis has been especially trying on women's physical and mental health. Over 2 in 5 admit they've developed unhealthy habits such as overeating and drinking (44 per cent), and over half say they have felt more stressed, anxious or depressed during the pandemic (53 per cent). Many have delayed seeking medical care due to the pandemic.
While lifestyle changes and healthy habits are essential for long-term and sustained well-being, mothers can start with changing what's on their plate.
Leading nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar shares her top magic foods to include in one's diet and live healthier, in her new audiobook "Secrets of Good Health" on Audible.
"Whenever I feel a desire to eat something sweet, I eat dry, sweetened coconut," says Rujuta. Coconut is filled with essential fatty acids that can reduce wrinkles. Not just this, including coconut in the daily diet promotes hair growth.
Madhuri Ruia, nutrition specialist and Pilates expert, suggests adding nutrient-rich almonds as well. "The first food I recommend mothers should definitely add to their daily diet is almonds. Almonds can be eaten during any time of the day, as they are healthy and are also known to be a nutrient dense snack enriched with Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, protein etc. -- each of which are important for maintaining a healthy life. Besides that, almonds are also a rich source of protein. They contain healthy fats and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) which have been shown to impart anti-aging properties," shares Madhuri.
For Madhuri, next comes probiotic-charged yoghurt. "Yogurt is rich in probiotics, which are microorganisms that are known to be good for a person's gut and help strengthen the immune system. Eating yogurt every day can increase the level of good bacteria in a person's gut and can improve the first line of defense against pathogens. Additionally, yoghurt is high in calcium, minerals, and vital vitamins that are important for the body, and help protect one from seasonal flu," adds Madhuri.
Healthy diets can also keep mums' bodies in balance, fight fatigue and slow down ageing.
Raghav Gupta, Founder Of Oateo Oats, names oats, and nuts and berries as quick hacks for optimum nutrition for mums who are short on time.
Self-care and better nutrition can sometimes come simply in the form of a bowl of overnight oats. There have been multiple studies that have proven how diets rich in wholegrains can lower risk of disease, boost immunity and also contribute to overall physical fitness. Oats are one such grain that are packed with essential nutrients – plus they are traditionally known as galactagogues, which means they can promote breast milk production in women who are breastfeeding.
"Nutritionally, 100 grams of oats have as much protein as two whole eggs, a high concentration of Beta Glucan which is a unique dietary fibre and also micro-nutrients like Iron, Magnesium. Oats can specially be beneficial for breastfeeding mothers," says Gupta.
Finally, for a sweet delight on your plates, add berries such as strawberries and raspberries, which are packed with antioxidants and vitamins like Vitamin C, manganese, folate and copper.