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Lactating Indian mothers - Healthy foods

Parentree-editors 2008-08-17 06:51:41

The National Institute of Nutrition, a part of the Indian Council of Medical Research has created Recommended Dietary Allowances during lactation for Indian women. These are shown in the table below.

Lactation recommended dietary allowances Indian women

One other critical piece of data that lactating Indian women need to know is how different this diet is from the diet of a non-lactating woman. The table shows that too.

As you can see, lactation requires Indian women to consume a healthy increment of energy, proteins, fat etc.,  However, the extra energy that is required is only 400-550 kcal/day and any consumption above this will only add empty calories and weight to the mother.  So focus on nutrition, rather than the quantity of the food you eat.

Foods rich in protein

We have listed here some foods that have approximately 20g or more of protein per 100 gms of the food. Local names of many of the foods are also listed.

  • Pulses and Beans (Most are also low in fat)
    • Bengal gram, Chick pea, Chana, Kothukadalai, Sanagalu
    • Black gram, Urad dal, Ulutham paruppu, Minapa pappu, Mashkalair, Udad
    • Cow pea, Lobia, Karamani, Chorap, Barbati, Bobbarlu
    • Green gram, Moong, Payatham paruppu, Pesara pappu
    • Lentils, Masur
    • Rajma, Phanasi, Barbati, Barigalu
    • Soyabean (Highest protein in  this category but has moderate fat)
  • Nuts like almond, cashewnut, groundnut, sunflower, water melon seeds etc., are also high in protein but contain high fat, almost 40 - 50gms of fat per 100 gms of these nuts. So watch how much you eat of these nuts in quest of protein as you can easily overload on fats. Use them in small quantities to complement other sources of protein.
  • Condiments & Spices
    • Fenugreek,Methi, Venthayam, Menthulu
  • Fish (most are also low fat)
    • Bhekti, Pandu chapa, Painnee meen
    • Bhagon
    • Catfish, Shingala, Keluthi, Jellalu
    • Hilsa, Palasa, Oolum (Moderate fat)
    • Mahasole, Naharm, Khadchi, Kuil meen, Pedda-polika
  • Meat & poultry
    • Chicken
    • Lean goat meat
  • Milk and milk products
    • Cheese (high in fat)
    • Khoa, Thirattu pal - (From skimmed milk for low fat)
    • Pasteurised Cow's milk - Skimmed has lesser fat and more proteins

Foods rich in Calcium

Here are some foods that give you more than 300mg of Calcium per 100 gms of that food.

  • Cereals & Grains
    • Ragi, Kezhvaragu, Ragulu
  • Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of calcium
    • Agasth-ka-phool, Agathi, Bak, Agathio, Avise
    • Beetroot greens, Chukandar-ka-sag
    • Drumstick leaves, Saijan patta, Sajna Sag, Saragavo, Murungai keerai, Mulaga akulu
    • Fenugreek leaves, Methi sag, Venthaya keerai, Menthikoora
    • Makoy leaves, Manathakali leaves, Piludi, Kamanchi, Kakmachi
    • Turnip greens, Shalgam-ka-sag
    • Lotus stems, Kamal gatta
    • Curry leaves, Gandhela, Barsanga, Kariveppilai, Karivepaku (use for seasoning)
  • Nuts & seeds
    • Mustard seeds, Rai, Sorse, Kadugu, Aavalu (for seasoning)
  • Condiments & Spices
    • Cumin, Jeera
    • Coriander, Dhania, Kothamalli
    • Cloves, Lavang, Krambu
    • Asafoetida, Hing, Perungayam, Inguva
    • Ajwain, Omum, Ajamo, Joan, Vamu
  • Fishes (Most are high on calcium)
  • Milk and milk products
    • Pasteurised Cow milk (~200 mg of calcium only)
    • Pasteurised Buffalo milk
    • Khoa, Thirattu pal - (From skimmed milk, so it is low fat)
  • Sugars
    • Jaggery, Gud, Gol, Vellam  (from sources other than sugarcane)

Foods rich in Iron

Anaemia is widely prevalent in India with some sources saying that nearly 2/3rds of the population suffers from anaemia2.

Here are some foods that provide ~8mg or more of iron per 100 gms of the food.

  • Cereals & Grains
    • Bajra, Kambu, Sazzalu
    • Rice flakes, Chewra, Aval, Chira, Pohe, Atukulu
  • Pulses & Beans
    • Cow pea, Lobia, Karamani, Chorap, Barbati
    • Lentils, Masur
    • Soyabean
  • Vegetables
    • Beetroot greens, Chukandar-ka-sag
    • Makoy leaves, Manathakali leaves, Piludi, Kamanchi, Kakmachi
    • Mint, Pudina
    • Parsley
    • Turnip greens, Shalgam-ka-sag
  • Condiments & Spices
    • Turmeric, Haldi
  • Fruits
    • Dried dates, Khajur
    • Water melon
    • Raisins, Kishmish
  • Fish
    • Goggler, Labi, Chamban
    • Ribbon fish, Rupa patia, Savalai, Savala
  • Meats
    • Red meats

Foods rich in Folic acid

Some foods that have moderately high folic acid are:

  • Spinach, Palak, Pasalai keerai, Palang sag
  • Eggs
  • Liver (Goat and Sheep)

Foods rich in Vitamin A

Often your doctor will prescribe a multi-vitamin supplement after you have had your baby. But these foods will also help you get important vitamins into your diet.

  • Green leafy vegetables
    • Agasth-ka-phool, Agathi, Bak, Agathio, Avise
    • Coriander, Dhania, Kothamalli
    • Beetroot greens, Chukandar-ka-sag
    • Drumstick leaves, Saijan patta, Sajna Sag, Saragavo, Murungai keerai, Mulaga akulu
    • Spinach, Pala, Pasalai keerai, Palang sag
    • Turnip greens, Shalgam-ka-sag
    • Mint, Pudina
  • Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Pumpkins, Kaddu, Parangikka, Kohlu, Gummadikaya, Kumra
  • Fruits
    • Fresh apricot
    • Ripe mango

Foods rich in Vitamin B1

The following foods are rich in Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

  • Cereals & Grains
    • Wheat germ
    • Oats
  • Pulses & Beans
    • Most pulses and beans are excellent sources of Vitamin B1 
  • Nuts
    • Cashewnut
    • Walnut, Akhrot
    • Pistachio, Pista
    • Sunflower seeds
  • Condiments & Spices
    • Cumin, Jeera

Foods rich in Vitamin B2

The following foods are rich in Vitamin B2

  • Green leafy vegetables
    • Beetroot greens, Chukandar-ka-sag
    • Makoy leaves, Manathakali leaves, Piludi, Kamanchi, Kakmachi
    • Turnip greens, Shalgam-ka-sag
  • Nuts
    • Almonds, Badam
  • Meats
    • Eggs
    • Red meats
    • Sheep liver

Foods rich in Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid, Niacin) is easily obtained from virtually all food groups.

Foods rich in Vitamin C

This is one of vitamins that we are most familiar with in India. Some sources that are rich in Vitamin C are given below

  • Green leafy vegetables ( a lot of these have high Vitamin C content)
  • Common vegetables Cauliflower, Drumstick, Capsicum, Knol-khol, Bitter gourd and many more
  • Fruits like guava, orange, lemon, papaya, pineapple and many more

Iodine

Iodised salt should be used to ensure that the required Iodine is provided during lactation. Moderate use as required in normal cooking is sufficient.

Vitamin D

It has been assumed that exposure to sunlight will produce enough sunlight. If this is not the case, you may have to get some sun exposure.

Summary

As can be seen, the various food groups each add different critical nutrients to the diet of an Indian mother wh is feeding her baby. It is important to consume a wide variety of balanced meals that use all the groups mentioned above and with the right amount of fats and oils.

This will assure that the right nutrition reaches the mother and through her, the child.

References

1. All the data used for this article was obtained from "Nutritive Value Indian Foods", a publication of the National Instititue of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad. 

Authors: C. Gopalan, B.V. Rama Sastri, S.C. Balasubramanian, B.S. Narasinga Rao, T.G. Deosthale, K.C. Pant

We recommend that a copy of this book be bought by everyone who is interested in understanding the nutritive value of the foods they eat. The information is provided clearly and concisely and the price of the 2007 edition is only Rs. 40/-. It can be obtained at all leading booksellers. If you have trouble getting it, drop us a note.

2. R. Sachdeva, S.K. Mann, "Impact of nutirition counseling and supplements onthe mineral nutriture of rural pregnant women and their neonates", Indian Pediatrics, June 1994, Vol. 31, Number 6


 

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