Good news for August Dourado – nomenclature that alludes to breast milk, considered the “gold standard food” for newborns: breastfeeding rates have been increasing in Brazil. The National Child Food and Nutrition Study (ENANI-2019), commissioned by the Ministry of Health, revealed that more than half of Brazilian children are breastfed for more than 1 year and 4 months. Still, 96.2% of the minors were breastfed at some time and two out of three babies receive breast milk in the first hour of life, which corresponds to 62.4%.
Breast milk is a nutritionally balanced food from both a qualitative and quantitative point of view, and breastfeeding supports healthy brain development and protects both baby and mother against infections. In fact, new data from the scientific literature indicate that breastfeeding is a prevention mechanism against childhood and adult obesity. “Formula-fed children may have higher blood concentrations of insulin compared to those who were breastfed. This higher insulin concentration is related to increased fat deposition and early development of adipocytes, that is, fat cells. Breast milk, in turn, has components that interfere with the growth of these adipocytes”, explains nutritionist and consultant at Jasmine Alimentos, Adriana Zanardo.
As a result, breastfeeding is considered a critical and crucial period, since the baby’s exposure to the components of breast milk induce a more adequate “metabolic programming” in relation to the structure and functions of the body and metabolism as a whole. Also, breastfeeding on demand encourages the child to develop self-regulation of food intake, making him recognize his own mechanisms of hunger and satiety.
To reinforce actions to promote, protect and support breastfeeding, experts from Jasmine Alimentos call attention to the importance of a healthy and complete diet, made up of all food groups, both in terms of macronutrients and micronutrients for the lactating mother. In this context, the diet popularly known as Mediterranean has been widely disseminated due to its role in the prevention and treatment of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity or changes in blood fat levels.
Setting up mom’s menu
The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan based on the habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (mainly southern Italy, Greece and southern Spain). On the menu, priority is given to fruits, vegetables (leaves), vegetables (especially those with plenty of water, such as tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, chayote and cauliflower), unsaturated fats (found in nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut and olive oil). ), complex carbohydrates (from whole grains, such as quinoa and amaranth; and from legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas) and proteins that are low in saturated fats and with higher contents of unsaturated fats (such as fish – salmon and tuna).
Maternal diet directly influences the composition of breast milk, which impacts the health of the baby. “Protein, for example, is essential for the physical growth and brain development of newborns, especially for premature babies who need more protein for their growth and development”, explains Adriana. The nutrients present in the Mediterranean diet have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity, in addition to “good” fats such as fatty acids and omega-3. “Fat is an important source of energy in human milk, with a positive association between dietary fatty acid intake and its concentration in breast milk. Adequate intake is related to central nervous system development, eye health and child growth. In this way, the Mediterranean diet can help in the nutritional support necessary for child growth and development, as it brings together all the essential nutrients for the period. Also, it is worth remembering the importance of individualized nutritional monitoring so that all needs are met, according to each case”, adds the nutritionist.
To get all the nutrients you need, it’s important to balance the amounts of each food group. “In general, we can follow the reasoning of the Food Pyramid with the recommendation of daily consumption of vegetables, such as leafy greens and vegetables rich in water; two to three servings of assorted fruits; roots such as potatoes, manioc, manioc and grains such as oats, quinoa, amaranth. I always suggest prioritizing sources of whole carbohydrates”, he details. Regarding protein, prioritize animal proteins with low levels of saturated fats such as fish and complement with vegetable proteins, such as legumes (beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas). With the adequate intake of the aforementioned foods, the lactating woman will supply the greatest nutrient demands of this period, which are vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D and E; calcium and iron.
Myths and Truths: Foods that give the baby colic and drinks that stimulate milk production
Taking into account the importance of food that can change the composition of breast milk, it is recommended to take some care with the diet. Among the main guidelines, it is indicated to exclude the consumption of teas during lactation due to the lack of reliable data on the relationship of bioactive compounds present in herbs and the baby’s ability to metabolize them. Health professionals also advise avoiding the consumption of refined sugar, processed/ultra-processed products rich in additives, fried foods (especially in immersion, such as breaded and pastel) and foods with a high caffeine content, such as coffee and chocolate. “You have to be especially careful with the coffee. The drink causes cramping, as caffeine stimulates the release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach – known as gastric juice. In the baby, this can lead to discomfort, such as pain and reflux”, explains Adriana.
Regarding raw foods, care during lactation concerns the risk of contamination, since the mother is part of the risk group and the onset of food poisoning can harm her health, as well as that of the baby. Another important contraindication is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. “Black beer does not stimulate milk production. Alcohol can cause harmful effects to the baby’s central nervous system, causing drowsiness and difficulty in eating, reacting to stimuli, in addition to other more serious problems, such as impairment of neurological and psychomotor development”, he warns.
About Jasmine Alimentos
Jasmine Alimentos is a reference company in healthy eating. With products categorized as organic, zero sugar, wholegrain and gluten free, the brand aims to reach the public looking for truly healthy, practical and tasty foods. Jasmine’s operation began in an artisanal way 30 years ago, in Paraná. Jasmine is consolidated throughout Brazil and expanding its operations to Latin America. Since 2014, the brand belongs to the French group Nutrition et Santé, owner of other leading brands in the healthy segment in Europe.
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