Juicing has become a popular health trend in recent years. It involves extracting the nutritious juices from fruits and vegetables, leaving behind the fiber. Some claim that juicing is an easy way to get a concentrated dose of nutrients. But is juicing actually healthy, especially for breastfeeding mothers?
Potential Benefits of Juicing While Breastfeeding
There are a few reasons why juicing may be beneficial during breastfeeding:
- Increased nutrient intake – Juices are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from fruits and veggies. This liquid form may help breastfeeding moms get adequate nutrition.
- Improved milk quality – The nutrients from fresh juices can end up in breast milk, potentially improving its nutritional quality.
- Boosted milk supply – Some foods commonly used in juices, like spinach, carrots and beets, may help boost breast milk production.
- Convenient – Juicing provides a quick way to get nutrients for busy moms on the go.
- Higher vegetable intake – Juices make it easier to consume more veggies, overcoming the common issue of low vegetable intake.
- Hydration – Juices can provide fluids, helping breastfeeding mothers stay hydrated.
Potential Downsides of Juicing for Breastfeeding
However, there are some potential downsides to consider as well:
- Fiber loss – An important disadvantage is that juicing removes all of the beneficial fiber from produce.
- Rapid sugar absorption – Without fiber, the natural sugars in juices can be absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream.
- Less satiating – Liquids don’t promote feelings of fullness like solid foods do, making it easier to over-consume calories from juices.
- Tooth decay risk – Frequent exposure to sugars in juice can damage tooth enamel over time.
- Oxalate concerns – Spinach, beets and carrots are high in oxalates, which can accumulate in breast milk.
- Contamination risk – Improper cleaning of juicers and produce can introduce harmful bacteria into juices.
Nutrients to Focus On
If you want to include fresh juices as part of a healthy breastfeeding diet, there are certain key nutrients to emphasize:
- Protein – Essential for milk production. Get protein from low-oxalate greens, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy.
- Healthy fats – Boost energy and satisfaction. Choose fats from avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut.
- Iron – Important to prevent anemia. Include iron-rich veggies like spinach and swiss chard.
- Calcium – Needed for you and baby’s bones. Add yogurt, milk, leafy greens, almonds.
- Vitamin C – Improves iron absorption. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries have vitamin C.
- Vitamin A – Supports immunity and vision. Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, mangoes supply vitamin A.
- Choline – Essential for baby’s brain development. Include eggs, meat, collard greens, Brussels sprouts.
Best Fruits and Vegetables for Breastfeeding Juices
When creating fresh juices to drink while breastfeeding, focus on produce that is rich in the key nutrients mentioned above. Some excellent options include:
- Swiss chard
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
These fruits and vegetables provide an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals to support lactation.
Healthy Add-Ins for Breastfeeding Juices
To make your juices more nutritious and balanced for breastfeeding, consider adding these healthy extras:
- Protein powders – Whey, plant-based proteins
- Healthy fats – Avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds
- Yogurt – Greek, regular, plant-based yogurts
- Nut butters – Almond, cashew, peanut butter
- Superfood powders – Cocoa, spirulina, maca, moringa
- Herbs – Mint, basil, parsley, cilantro
- Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, black pepper
Blending in extras like these can help balance out the sugars from the fruits and provide important nutrients for breastfeeding mothers like protein, healthy fats, probiotics, and antioxidants.
Sample Juice Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms
Here are a few nutritious juice recipe ideas to try while breastfeeding:
Green Protein Power Juice
- 1 cucumber
- 5 stalks celery
- 1 cup kale
- 1 apple
- 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 scoop plant protein
Sweet Potato Breast Milk Booster Juice
- 1 small sweet potato
- 5 carrots
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1⁄2 beet
- 1 orange
Iron-Rich Green Juice
- 1 cucumber
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup swiss chard
- 1 green apple
- 1⁄2 lemon
Tropical Milk-Boosting Juice
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 orange
- 1⁄2 cup mango
- 1⁄2 cup papaya
- 1⁄2 banana
- 1⁄2 cup coconut water
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
Tips for Juicing While Breastfeeding
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to incorporate fresh juices into your diet while breastfeeding:
- Drink juices in moderation – Up to one 8oz serving per day.
- Always wash produce thoroughly.
- Mix up produce – Don’t juice high oxalate greens every day.
- Drink juice with a meal or snack – Avoid drinking solo.
- Make sure to get plenty of protein, fat and fiber from whole foods.
- Brush teeth after drinking juice to avoid sugar damaging tooth enamel.
- Store juice in airtight container and drink within 24 hours.
- If baby seems fussy, cut back on amount of juice consumed.
The Bottom Line
Including fresh juices as part of a balanced diet can provide an extra boost of nutrition for breastfeeding mothers. Focus on ingredients that provide key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals to support lactation. Be mindful of limiting high sugar fruits and high oxalate greens. Pair juices with fiber, protein and fat for balanced nutrition. Drink juices in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet.