Turmeric has made a name for itself in the past few years in the medical community. Known for its golden color (thanks to the primary compound Curcumin), it has been used for centuries to help manage common discomforts and is now being tested for its cancer-fighting properties in recent clinical trials. And now, research is starting to show that turmeric can also provide nourishing and comforting support to new moms.

That’s right, the ancient spice has many properties–including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-depressant qualities–that can benefit new moms in many different ways. Curious to know how? Here are 10 reasons turmeric is a great supplement to your postpartum routine.

Because of its strong characteristics, it is important to consume turmeric in small amounts and incorporate it into meals – throw a teaspoon into soups, sauces, teas, and even milk, and you have as much as you need.

Why use turmeric postpartum?

1. It fights inflammation

Known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties and high fatty acid content, turmeric can help prevent with swollen breast tissue and clogged ducts, which can lead to a painful, flu-like condition called Mastitis.

2. It boosts immunity

When you are short on sleep and anxiety levels are high, your body goes into fight or flight mode, letting your immune system fend for itself. Turmeric has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and is rich in immune boosting magnesium that can help you fight off infections.

3. It promotes digestion

Now that the baby is born, your body is readjusting, and systems are finding their place again. This can sometimes slow down digestion, but with a sneaky high fiber content, turmeric helps keep you regular and minimize gas and bloat.

4. It helps fight postpartum depression

There are many factors that can increase your risk for postpartum depression from lack of sleep to discomfort to anxiety. Turmeric may be able to help as it boosts brain function, dopamine and hormone levels that act as a natural antidepressant.

5. It can diminish the appearance of stretch marks

Turmeric has antioxidants that penetrate and improve the function of the skin membrane cells, which will help prevent and treat stretch marks. You can mix turmeric and curd or olive oil into a paste and apply on the areas where you have stretch marks. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash off.

6. It can promote lactation

While the research is still out on this one, turmeric has historically been used in many cultures as a way to stimulate lactation–likely due to the healing and comforting properties.

7. It’s a natural detoxifier

A wonder-spice for your liver, turmeric boosts enzyme production in the liver that helps your body get rid of toxins.

8. It’s comforting

Much like mom’s chicken soup can magically cure the common cold, turmeric’s warming color and effects can do wonders for the postpartum body and mind. Enjoy in warming soups, tea or golden milk.

9. It helps clear your complexion

Pregnancy and postpartum can come with a whole lot of skin issues–from acne to hyper-pigmentation. Since turmeric is known for lightening up complexion, you can add it to your skincare routine to help clear out your skin.

10. It helps prevent “mommy brain”

High in omega-6 fatty acids, turmeric helps improve blood circulation, brain function and memory, so you keep track of your new mom to-do list and all the feeding, napping and diaper change schedules!

If you would like to know more about how to take proper postpartum care of the new mother, check out this article by the National Library of Medicine:

Postpartum Care of the New Mother – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)

The Benefits of Turmeric for Nursing Moms

  1. Reducing Inflammation and Discomfort: Postpartum recovery often involves aches, pains, and swelling. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate these discomforts by reducing redness and swelling, allowing your body to heal more effectively. Incorporating turmeric into your diet can ease joint inflammation, reduce head and neck tension, and temporarily relieve general discomfort.
  2. Supporting Lactation: Turmeric is well-known for its galactagogue activity, meaning it helps support and promote healthy lactation. As a nursing mom, maintaining a healthy milk supply is crucial for your baby’s nutrition and growth. Adding turmeric to your diet can enhance your body’s ability to produce breast milk, ensuring your little one receives the necessary nourishment.
  3. Boosting Mood and Reducing Stress: The postpartum period can be emotionally challenging for many moms. Turmeric has been shown to have mood-enhancing effects and may help reduce stress levels. Regular consumption of turmeric can support your mental well-being, providing a natural boost to your mood. Remember, seeking support from your healthcare provider, friends, and family is essential during this time.
  4. Combating Fatigue: Fatigue is a common struggle for new moms, as the demands of caring for a baby can leave you feeling drained. Turmeric can help combat fatigue and increase energy levels, thanks to its active compound curcumin. By incorporating turmeric into your diet, you can replenish your energy stores and feel more alert, helping you navigate the challenges of motherhood with greater ease.
  5. Enhancing Mental Clarity: The sleepless nights and constant demands of motherhood can sometimes affect cognitive function and memory. Turmeric has been found to support healthy cognition and memory retention. Incorporating turmeric into your daily routine can enhance mental clarity and promote overall brain health.
  6. Boosting Immunity: As a new mom, your immune system may be vulnerable, and protecting yourself and your baby from infections is crucial. Turmeric’s antimicrobial properties can bolster your immune system, helping you prevent diseases and stay healthy. Consuming turmeric regularly can give your body an antioxidant boost, keeping you and your little one protected.
  7. Providing Antioxidant Support: Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, including curcumin, which helps protect your cells from damage caused by harmful chemicals. During breastfeeding, it’s essential to eliminate toxins from your system to safeguard your baby’s health. By incorporating turmeric into your diet, you can boost your body’s ability to filter out toxins and maintain optimal well-being.

Ways to Incorporate Turmeric into Your Postpartum Diet

Now that we understand the incredible benefits of turmeric, let’s explore some practical ways to incorporate this spice into your postpartum diet. From flavorful recipes to convenient capsules, there are various options to suit your preferences and lifestyle.

Food-Based Options

  1. Golden Scramble: Start your day with a nutritious, turmeric-infused breakfast by adding a teaspoon of turmeric to your scrambled eggs. This simple addition not only enhances the flavor but also provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
  2. Turmeric Hummus: Elevate the nutritional content of your favorite hummus by adding two tablespoons of turmeric. The earthy flavor pairs perfectly with the creaminess of chickpeas, creating a delicious and healthy snack.
  3. Cauliflower with Turmeric: Roasted veggies are a staple in many postpartum diets, and cauliflower is an excellent choice. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, pepper, and two tablespoons of turmeric. Roast until tender, and enjoy a flavorful and nutrient-packed side dish.

Beverage Options

  1. Golden Milk: Golden milk, or turmeric latte, is comforting and nourishing. Heat a cup of milk (dairy or plant-based) and whisk in one to two teaspoons of turmeric, a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, and a dusting of powdered ginger. Customize with your preferred sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup, and enjoy the soothing effects of this lactation-boosting drink.
  2. Turmeric Tea: If you prefer a lighter option, turmeric tea is a simple and effective way to incorporate turmeric into your routine. Steep two to three teaspoons of turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric root in boiling water for a few minutes. Strain and savor the warm, earthy flavor of this natural drink.

Capsule Supplements

If you find it challenging to incorporate turmeric into your meals, another option is to take turmeric capsules. These supplements provide a convenient and standardized dose of curcumin. Healthcare professionals recommend consuming 500 to 1,000 milligrams of turmeric per day. You can find turmeric capsules in pharmacies, health food stores, or online retailers.

Safety Considerations and Consultation

While turmeric is generally safe for consumption, it’s essential to exercise caution, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. Always consult your healthcare provider before adding any new supplement or making significant dietary changes, especially during the postpartum period. Your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Embrace the Benefits of Turmeric for Postpartum Health

As a postpartum mom, your well-being is of utmost importance. Incorporating turmeric into your diet can provide many benefits, from reducing inflammation and discomfort to supporting lactation, boosting mood, and enhancing overall health. Whether you experiment with turmeric-infused recipes or opt for convenient capsule supplements, embracing the power of this golden spice can be a game-changer in your postpartum journey. Remember to prioritize self-care, seek support when needed, and consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance. Embrace turmeric’s happy, hidden benefits and enjoy a healthier and more vibrant postpartum experience.

Q&A Section:

Q1: Why is turmeric gaining attention in the medical community, and what is its primary compound?

Turmeric has gained attention in the medical community for its various health benefits. Its golden color is attributed to the primary compound Curcumin. The spice has been traditionally used for centuries to manage common discomforts and is now being explored for its potential cancer-fighting properties in recent clinical trials.

Q2: What are the properties of turmeric that can benefit new moms postpartum?

Turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-depressant qualities, making it beneficial for new moms postpartum. These properties contribute to various positive effects on physical and mental well-being.

Q3: How should turmeric be consumed for optimal benefits, considering its strong characteristics?

Due to its strong characteristics, it’s recommended to consume turmeric in small amounts. Incorporating it into meals, such as adding a teaspoon to soups, sauces, teas, and even milk, is a practical way to enjoy its benefits without excessive intake.

Q4: What are the reasons for using turmeric postpartum?

Turmeric is beneficial postpartum for various reasons: it fights inflammation, boosts immunity, promotes digestion, helps fight postpartum depression, diminishes the appearance of stretch marks, promotes lactation, serves as a natural detoxifier, provides comfort, helps clear the complexion, and prevents “mommy brain.”

Q5: How does turmeric help combat inflammation postpartum, and what condition can it prevent?

Turmeric is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties and high fatty acid content. It can help prevent swollen breast tissue and clogged ducts, conditions that can lead to a painful, flu-like condition called Mastitis.

Q6: How does turmeric support lactation, and what historical significance does it hold in this regard?

While research is ongoing, turmeric has historically been used in many cultures as a way to stimulate lactation, likely due to its healing and comforting properties.

Q7: In what ways does turmeric enhance mental well-being and combat postpartum depression?

Turmeric boosts brain function, dopamine, and hormone levels, acting as a natural antidepressant. This can be beneficial in addressing factors that contribute to postpartum depression, such as lack of sleep, discomfort, and anxiety.

Q8: How can turmeric be incorporated into a postpartum diet, considering practical and enjoyable options?

Turmeric can be incorporated into a postpartum diet through various food-based and beverage options. Examples include a Golden Scramble, Turmeric Hummus, Cauliflower with Turmeric, Golden Milk (turmeric latte), and Turmeric Tea. Additionally, capsule supplements are a convenient option for those who find it challenging to include turmeric in meals.

Q9: What are the safety considerations for consuming turmeric, especially during the postpartum period?

While turmeric is generally safe, it’s crucial to exercise caution, especially if there are underlying health conditions or medications being taken. Consulting with a healthcare provider before adding turmeric or making significant dietary changes during the postpartum period is recommended for personalized advice.

Q10: In conclusion, what benefits can new moms expect from incorporating turmeric into their postpartum routine?

Incorporating turmeric into a postpartum routine can provide benefits such as reducing inflammation and discomfort, supporting lactation, boosting mood, combating fatigue, enhancing mental clarity, boosting immunity, providing antioxidant support, and offering overall well-being. Embracing turmeric in various forms, whether through recipes or supplements, can contribute to a healthier and more vibrant postpartum experience.

A version of this story was first published September 5, 2018. It has been updated.