Sometimes when I’m in a edu-taining mood, I’ll bravely share – with and “I’m totally serious, believe it or not” nod – that I breastfed for seven (7!!!) years.
It’s usually a satisfying moment, because the look on people’s faces ranges from disbelief to awe, and I have no idea what they’re thinking. Yet, my favorite part is using this personal confession to glide into a seemingly unrelated topic: Dark Leafy Greens!
Why? Folate, AKA folic acid, a compound derived from plant foliage, creates super-nourishing breast milk, and happens to be the most commonly deficient vitamin for people all around the world. Folic acid is especially critical in pregnancy – as most of us have learned – low levels can increase the risk for spina bifida. However, it is essential to have high intakes of folic acid while breastfeeding too. Without folic acid, cells do not divide properly, with rapidly dividing cells such as blood, skin and intestinal cells being affected the most by deficiency.
Wonky cell division… hmmm… seems worth avoiding if possible! Yes! Supporting a fast-growing baby with high levels of folic acid, by eating a variety of fresh dark leafy greens (folate is sensitive to heat, light and oxygen, easily lost from cooking or processing) is indeed super easy and delicious with a blender, a bunch of kale, and a few pieces of seasonal fruit.
My two children were born average sized, but soon grew to ridiculously chunky but healthy proportions-all on green-smoothie enhanced breast milk for the first year. One green smoothie has enough folate to support both baby and mom, plus high levels of yin (cooling) chlorophyll to keep mom cool and hydrated in the heat of summer. Green smoothies are packed with many nutrients in addition to folate, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and even essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Dark leafy greens have good amounts of essential amino acids, making green smoothies a good source of easily digested protein – a happy boost for those days (or weeks) when nursing baby’s growth-spurt can seem like a part-time job.
Greens high in folate:
• Swiss chard
• Beet greens
Please enjoy this simple recipe for your basic everyday…
Enjoy fresh, or pop in the cooler for lunch or a mid-day snack. Try adding ice at the end of blending to make it extra cool and refreshing! Greens have a great preservative effect on the blended fruit, so a green smoothie can last for 24 hours when refrigerated without losing much nutritional value.
To check out more healthy recipes please go to www.bodytemplegourmet.com…Enjoy!
Image Credit: Lychee Therapeutics