17 Health Benefits of Fenugreek for Breastfeeding mothers
If you’re a nursing mother, it goes without saying that it's really important you make sure you have proper milk flow for your baby. Not only that, but it’s also important that you do what you can to protect your own personal health.
This is why fenugreek can be such an important ally for breastfeeding mothers. Also known as Bird’s Foot or Greek Clover, this herbal supplement is known to provide mothers with many important benefits, from elements relating to breastfeeding and beyond.
- Increased Milk Production
Taking a daily dose of at least 3500 milligrams of Fenugreek has been shown to improve the amount of breast milk production in nursing mothers. The amount of the increase tends to fluctuate from woman to woman, but it can take up to two weeks for mums to see the boost take place. It must be noted, however, that an increase may not happen at all in some cases.
It is generally regarded that Fenugreek can deploy this benefit without doing any harm to the nursing baby. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the herb on its Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list, and any effects that have been reported have been very rare.
- Reduction of Mouth Ulcers
It’s not uncommon for postpartum oral issues such as mouth ulcers to occur. This can oftentimes be more than just an annoying bit of discomfort. You may end up feeling discouraged to eat because of the pain, which could have an adverse effect on your diet. If you’re nursing, this could translate to your baby not getting sufficient nutrients.
A dose of fenugreek has been shown to lower the kind of inflammation that can cause mouth ulcers to form. It can also provide anti-inflammatory elements to other parts of the body, such as infected tissues below the skin’s surface or boils that may manifest at the skin’s surface. This could ultimately help to quell various levels of discomfort you may be feeling.
- Disease Prevention
It’s important to remain healthy when you’ve had a baby. After all, it goes without saying that your baby needs you, and you’ll naturally feel compelled to do whatever you can to make sure your baby’s needs are met. Obviously, if you come down with an illness or a disease, this could hinder this natural desire.
In some circles, it’s believed that fenugreek can make excellent preventative medicine to help you stave off disease. The reason for this is because fenugreek is considered to be high in antioxidants, which is a natural substance that is believed to prevent or delay certain types of cell damage. This can make it easier for you to stay on your toes – an essential component when it comes to motherhood.
- Postpartum Anemia Alleviation
Postpartum anemia is an issue that is brought about by a chronic iron deficiency in women in the wake of a delivery. This lack of iron in the blood is marked by an increase in fatigue, weakness, and irritability. Unfortunately, the issue may have a tendency to go unnoticed, because people may think that these are just signs of post-delivery recovery.
This, of course, is an unfounded assumption. If anything, the development of the issue seems almost logical in a sense. After all, a woman’s iron requirement increases threefold during pregnancy, and there may be acute bleeding that occurs during the delivery process.
Fortunately, fenugreek has been known to combat anemia due to its high mineral content. The herb is rich in iron, which naturally can be used to replenish iron deficiency. Furthermore, fenugreek contains a lot of other essential nutrients like magnesium, vitamin B6, and manganese.
- Reduction of PMS
Eventually, your body returns to normal after you have your baby. While this can mostly be a good thing, there are a few annoyances that return, such as the return of the menstrual cycle. In some cases, this could also signal the return of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.
Yet according to some studies, it’s believed that fenugreek can lessen the effects of PMS and its associative symptoms. The reason for this is because the herb contains choline, a vitamin that’s said to have unique anti-inflammatory properties, and is thought to have a role in regulating the central nervous system.
Fenugreek also contains compounds like isoflavones and diosgenin. These compounds are said to contain estrogen-type properties which can ultimately help to ease PMS symptoms such as cramps and discomfort.
- Improved Skin Health
During pregnancy, your hormones go through various stages of unorthodoxy that deviates from the norm. One of the ways this outwardly manifests is through skin breakouts like pimples, blackheads, and similar skin blemishes that you had to deal with in high school.
Fortunately, one of fenugreek’s strengths is its ability to stabilize certain bodily reactions when your hormones get out of whack during and after pregnancy. Its ability to fend off the unpleasant blemishes that may crop up can make it an attractive substance if you want to leave physical reminders of your teen years in the dust.
Typically, this particular battle is fought one of two ways. A direct way to do so is to apply a paste of fenugreek upon the affected area for roughly twenty minutes. The other way would be to wash the affected area with water boiled with fenugreek seed tea.
- It Clears Your Sinuses
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s rather important for you to feel as healthy as possible. After all, you don’t need to deal with any sort of ailment big or small on top of caring for your baby. And if you’re dealing with a stuffy head, that can be a cocktail made up of equal parts annoyance, frustration, and despair.
However, a little dose of fenugreek can potentially clear that stuffy head right up. The herb has properties associated with being a natural expectorant, which is a fancy way of saying that it can make it easier for you to cough up phlegm, mucus, and all sorts of nasty stuff responsible for making your head feel like it weighs a ton.
- Improved Blood Sugar Regulation
When you’re pregnant, some women develop what is known as gestational diabetes mellitus, or GDM. This condition is initially caused by the placenta producing hormones that causes a boosted amount of blood sugar. If your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to counteract this boost, then GDM occurs.
Most of the time, GDM will go away after delivery, and the body’s blood sugar levels will return to normal. However, this is not always the case. This sustained increase could end up being the gateway to form Type II diabetes if you’re not diligent.
However, studies have indicated that fenugreek has the ability to lower blood glucose levels, which could in turn keep the development of type II diabetes in check. These studies were conducted by using fenugreek seeds; typically, the recommended daily dose to fend off the condition checks in at about 1,000 mg, split into two 500mg sessions.
- Balances Cholesterol Levels
When you become pregnant, you may mentally prepare yourself for your hormones going a bit off the rails. What you may not be prepared for is certain physiological changes to your cardiovascular system. One of these alterations is an increase in your cholesterol – something that may freak you out if you pride yourself on a healthy lifestyle.
While this increase isn’t a horrible thing – it’s considered to be essential for the development of your baby’s brain – it’s much less useful once the baby is delivered. Most of the time, cholesterol levels will revert back normal levels post-pregnancy. However, it’s been determined that fenugreek can make this reduction more proactive.
Studies have shown that the herb’s high level of soluble fiber works to boost the viscosity of the food you digest. This in turn tends to block the uptake of cholesterol, particularly the “bad” cholesterol responsible for forming blood vessel blockages.
- Improved Heart Health
In that same vein (no pun intended), fenugreek can be responsible for boosted heart health. This seems logical; after all, if the circulatory system is flowing freely and without obstruction, this means your heart won’t have to strain as much to pump blood throughout your body.
However, the herb’s capacity to boost heart health goes beyond this. Studies indicate that it acts as a blood thinner that can dramatically drop the risk of the type of abnormal blood clotting that could lead to heart attacks, not to mention strokes.
For post-pregnant women, this benefit can help to fend off a rare condition known as peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM). This condition, which is marked by enlarged heart chambers, can affect women up to five months after delivery. And while it is a rare condition, the fact that the herb can improve heart health can make the instance even rarer.
- It Keeps You Regular
It’s not uncommon to experience constipation after you’ve delivered your baby. It’s estimated that roughly 1 in 5 new mothers have trouble with bowel movements. Of course, this lack of relief could serve to make things even more uncomfortable as you adjust to motherhood.
The beauty of fenugreek is that it is high in fiber, and that particular substance is typically regarded as a strong ally in the fight to keep your digestive system regular. While there hasn’t been much in the way of clinical trials to form an official correlation between the herb and regularity, it’s an ability that is nonetheless held by many people.
- Promotion of Wound Healing
Delivering your precious baby into the world can be a brutal practice; one that could cause wounds during the process. These wounds can cause various pain and discomfort in different ways, depending on how your baby was delivered. Naturally, you’ll want to do what you can to make this wound pain is nipped in the bud as soon as possible.
Because fenugreek has an emollient quality to it – that is, the ability to soften the skin – it is thought by some to have the ability to promote wound healing. This property is one of the driving forces behind its purported ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. As such, it seems natural that the herb would be able to heal body parts affected by delivery.
- Natural Breast Augmentation
When you’re nursing, increasing the size of your breasts is probably the last thing that’s on your mind. Frankly, nobody could or should blame you for this disinterest. However, as you wean your newborn and your breasts return to their normal size, you could find yourself thinking about the possibility of staying slightly more curvaceous.
To that end, it’s thought by some that fenugreek can be used to augment the breast size without having to resort to a plastic surgeon’s scalpel. According to some studies, the herb can boost bust size by altering liver enzymes charged with regulating the breakdown of estrogen. The effects can supposedly be achieved through drinking tea or via topical application.
- Anti-Aging Benefits
When you’re tending a newborn, it’s only natural to sacrifice taking care of yourself in favor of taking care of your baby. After all, your little guy or gal will instantly become your number one priority, and rightly so. However, you may find yourself feeling tired, run-down, and even a bit old.
While fenugreek won’t necessarily dip your toe in the proverbial fountain of youth, it can at the very least make it easier to look more vibrant. It’s said that the high antioxidant quality that lurks within the herb’s seeds can help fight the free radicals responsible for moving the aging process forward.
- Healthier Hair
Another sneaky bad thing that can happen to you after you give birth involves your hair, and its sudden inability to stay on your head. Because estrogen levels decline postpartum, you may experience a certain level of hair loss. While this tends to be temporary, it can last for up to a year, which you may (justifiably) feel is too long.
The good news here is that fenugreek contains all kinds of nutrients that can promote boosted hair health, such as nicotinic acid, potassium, protein, and lecithin. This combination of natural goodness can blend to promote stronger hair at the root, which makes it more difficult for the hair to fall out.
There is a process that needs to be followed to allow fenugreek to do its thing, so don’t expect to just sprinkle some seeds on your scalp and see instant results. Furthermore, you need to have a measure of patience, as the process could end up taking as long as a month before the desired results fully occur.
- Improved Digestion
In addition to constipation issues, you could experience other issues pertaining to your digestive system, from a decreased ability to flush out toxins to feeling bloated. This disruption could be linked to a host of things such as side effects from prescribed postnatal medications to the body’s hormones trying to get back to normal.
Whatever the reason, it’s an unpleasant situation that can make you feel subpar. Fortunately, fenugreek can provide some aid in this in different ways, from its tendency to be rich in fiber to its infusion of Vitamin B. The bottom line is that the herb is thought to dependably flush toxins from the body, which leads to better digestive health overall.
- Improved Sleep
You don’t need to be told that sleeping is at a premium when you’re a new mom. However, it’s important that when you do have those precious moments to lay down, you actually fall asleep. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done, as insomnia can be part of the postpartum process, regardless of how exhausted you are.
However, fenugreek - has a reputation for being a natural sleeping aid that can make it easier for you to get some shuteye. Like some other fenugreek-based remedies, this particular one involves the inclusion of some other ingredients to make it work efficiently. In this case, you’d mix with honey and drink it before bedtime.
(This blog post appears with permission from www.maternityglow.com)