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Turmeric and Breastfeeding: A Helpful Relationship

Turmeric, a root spice closely related to ginger, has been used through the ages as an herbal remedy for many ailments. Turmeric has many beneficial effects, and the treatment has a complex history. 


In India, it has been used historically as a medicinal treatment for aching joints, respiratory infections, indigestion, and skin health, among other conditions. The many uses and benefits of turmeric explain why it is often called a “superfood!” 


Among its numerous uses, turmeric has long been recognized as a beneficial herb for nursing mothers. Recent research supports this use. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and the force behind many of its beneficial qualities, such as its antioxidant effects


If you are seeking a natural way to nourish both your mind and body while breastfeeding, turmeric may be the answer. Read on to learn more about the far-reaching health benefits of this herb and discover some easy ways to incorporate turmeric into your own diet.

What Are The Benefits of Turmeric For Nursing Moms?

Redness and swelling are natural processes that repair damage, such as an injury, or ward off infection. Most people are familiar with the sensation of swelling. Maybe you’ve had a fever, experienced swelling, or noticed the sudden hot sensation of your skin at the site of injury.


An anti-inflammatory is an agent that can help reduce this redness and swelling. This is important because while inflammation is normal and healthy, too much of it can be damaging. 


When your body has been under stress, for example – say, from childbirth or the demands of nursing – you may experience more swelling than usual. An anti-inflammatory like turmeric can reduce the adverse effects of inflammation and restore balance within your body.

Temporary Relief For Discomfort

We’re all too aware that the early days of mom-hood are hard on the body. Exhaustion, the lingering effects of pregnancy and delivery, and the physical labor of caring for a little one really add up. It’s essential to care for yourself and your little one, and adding turmeric to your diet can be a great way to help ease your aches and discomfort.


The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it effective as an herbal remedy for temporary relief. Consuming turmeric can help ease swelling in your joints and lessen generalized discomfort, including helping to reduce head and neck tension!

Turmeric Supports Lactation

A galactagogue is a substance that helps support a nursing mama’s milk supply. One of the primary reasons that turmeric is recommended specifically for nursing mothers is its galactagogue activity: this herb helps promote a healthy lactation! 

Mood-Enhancing Effects

Interestingly, the positive effects of turmeric are not limited to physical health. This herb can benefit your mental wellbeing, too! In fact, some studies suggest that turmeric can help reduce stress in adults when consumed regularly.


It’s normal to experience some anxiety during this complicated and possibly overwhelming time of your life. Adding turmeric to your diet can provide a helpful mental boost. Make sure not to be shy about seeking support from your doctor, friends, and family; every mama needs a support system to lean on!

Turmeric Can Help Ease Fatigue

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can also reduce fatigue and help you feel alert. Raising a little one likely makes it difficult to get enough quality sleep. In combination with the tiring day-to-day demands of parenthood – anybody would be exhausted! 


Luckily, turmeric is an herbal remedy that can help replenish your energy levels and enhance your alertness. 

Enhance Mental clarity

Interestingly, turmeric can also support healthy cognition. The herb is thought to help maintain memory, and may even give a boost to your mood. The “baby blues” are, unfortunately, more common than you might think – so taking steps to preserve your mental wellbeing is always a good idea!

Antimicrobial Activity

Turmeric is a great addition to your diet if you’re looking for an antioxidant boost. In fact, pure turmeric powder consists of more than three percent curcumin antioxidants! It effectively boosts your immune system and even has antimicrobial activities! When your little one is small, they are at increased risk of infection. 


The fatigue that motherhood can bring along with the physical challenges of raising a baby can put you at increased risk of infection, too. Making turmeric a part of your daily routine can help you avoid infections and their dangerous effects.

Antioxidant properties

Another property of this golden superfood is its high antioxidant content. An antioxidant is a chemical, like a vitamin, that prevents damage to your cells by removing harmful chemicals from your system. The curcumin found in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant.


During breastfeeding, it’s essential to ensure your body can efficiently filter toxins from your system to avoid passing them to your child. Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants is a great head-start to keep you and your little one healthy. 

How To Incorporate Turmeric Into Your Diet

Food

Turmeric is a common ingredient used to flavor lentils, curries, greens, rice, and soups. Try incorporating the following recipes into your diet to increase your turmeric intake.

Golden Scramble

Turmeric pairs very well with eggs. Try adding up to a teaspoon of turmeric to scrambled eggs while they’re still in the pan, and give them a stir to evenly distribute the spice. Add some antioxidant and fiber-rich veggies to your scramble to increase your breakfast’s nutritional power even more!

Turmeric Hummus

Hummus is a fiber- and protein-filled snack food powerhouse, and by adding turmeric, you can enhance its nutritional benefits even more. 


Thoroughly rinse and drain one can of chickpeas, then add to a blender or food processor along with a tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of tahini, and a pinch of salt. Add two tablespoons of turmeric, and blend until smooth.

Cauliflower with Turmeric

The earthy bite of turmeric is a great addition to any roasted veggies, but the combination of cauliflower and turmeric is on another level! Simply chop and separate cauliflower florets into one-inch pieces and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and two tablespoons of turmeric until evenly coated. Bake at 400 degrees until tender, for about 20 minutes.

Drinks 

Golden Milk

This earthy, spiced beverage is a time-tested and delicious way to add turmeric to your diet. To make golden milk, begin by heating a cup of milk on the stove until it begins to steam. Whisk in one to two teaspoons of turmeric, a quarter-teaspoon of cinnamon, a dusting of powdered ginger, and any other spices you desire – see our post on lactating herbs for inspiration. Enjoy your lactation-boosting latte!


Turmeric Tea

This is a lighter, easier-to-prepare way to introduce turmeric to your diet. To make turmeric tea, simply steep two to three teaspoons of turmeric powder or grated, fresh turmeric root in boiling water for three to five minutes. Then, strain out the excess spices. 


You may choose to flavor your tea with lemon, honey, or another natural sweetener, or simply enjoy its pure earthy flavor!

Capsules

Taking turmeric capsules is perhaps the easiest way to add turmeric to your diet. Doctors recommend 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day. You may find turmeric capsules at your local pharmacy or health-food store, or choose to order them online.

Make Turmeric Part of Your Postpartum Self-Care Routine

Who knew that an herb readily available in your local grocery store could pack such a punch of lactation-friendly health benefits? Lucky for the new mamas out there, reaping the benefits of this superfood is as simple as trying out new recipes or adding a supplement to their diet. 


As you care for your little one during these special, early years, it’s important not to let self-care fall by the wayside. Taking care of yourself is the best way to ensure you can give optimal care to your little one! 


Make sure you are making time for yourself, getting enough rest, and taking care of your body by staying hydrated and nourished. Taking herbs like turmeric for antioxidants is a great option – boost your wellness even more with an antioxidant-rich natural energy drink or a healthy snack!



Sources

Curcumin: A Review of Its' Effects on Human Health | Foods Journal

Management of Mastitis in Breastfeeding Women | American Family Physician

An investigation of the effects of curcumin on anxiety and depression in obese individuals: A randomized controlled trial | NIH 

Curcumin content of turmeric and curry powders | Nutrition and Cancer

7 Health Benefits of Turmeric | Cleveland Clinic

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