Pregnancy and childbirth put a mother’s body under enormous strain hormonally and nutritionally. After the birth, the skin, hair and nails are the first to show this strain. Their health depends on hormone-balancing, connective tissue-supporting nutrients and non-toxic grooming products. Here are some tips to help you recover your glowing complexion, lustrous hair and strong nails.
Include in your diet foods rich in vitamin C, B vitamins (including biotin), phytonutrients such as astaxanthin and anthocyanidins, oils and minerals including, magnesium, calcium, MSM and silica. Green leafy vegetables, especially cruciferous (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips) are rich in a wide range of nutrients which support hormonal health, skin, hair and nails. Bone and fish broths can offer much needed collagen, calcium, other trace minerals and fats. Oily fish, eggs, cold pressed oils, nuts and seeds feed the body anti-inflammatory Omega3s and fat-soluble, hormone-supporting vitamins (A, D, E and K). Whole grains and legumes (especially pre-soaked or fermented) are powerhouses of B vitamin content. Aim for organic, locally sourced, seasonal produce. Ferment veggies, soak seeds and nuts. Avoid high-sugar, processed ‘beige’ foods, trans-fats, sweeteners, fizzy drinks (they strip your body of much needed calcium) and anything with artificial substances including ‘natural flavourings’. These substances actually strip the body of nutrients, increase the possibility of obesity and pave the way to future ill health.
Something else most of us don’t actually think about: avoid using harsh chemicals on your body. Most mainstream cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, styling products, hair dyes and nail polishes contain toxic and potentially carcinogenic ingredients. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Use gentle, ‘green’, ethical products which do not pollute either your body or the environment.
And last, but not least: as a new mum, you need rest, sleep and a good laugh; nothing helps as much as having down-time, so forget doing chores when baby naps and take a nap yourself. Enlist the help of the rest of the family and friendly neighbours, so you can take a little time to look after yourself.