Summer vegetables do more than add color to your plate.
During the early days of summer, you’ll see plenty of articles and blog posts singing the praises of fresh summer veggies. And why not? They’re as healthy as they are delicious and beautiful. June and July seem to infuse those plump tomatoes and strawberries with bold flavor and the bright, glossy shine of the summertime sun.
They’re rich in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and prebiotics, making a picnic spread of sweet peppers, sliced cucumbers, and green bean salad a healthy midday meal. However, fresh summer veggies aren’t just good for you. They’re galactagogues, a fancy Latin word that means “milk-booster.”
Which summer foods really benefit breastmilk production?
You can hardly go wrong when you’re selecting fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market or your local grocer’s produce display. But some do stand out as particularly helpful in boosting lactation.
Dark, leafy greens
Spinach, collard greens, and even dandelion greens are chockful of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and phytoestrogens, a.k.a. plant-based estrogen. The estrogen produced by leafy greens can lead to increased production of prolactin, which in turn boosts milk production.
Colorful, delicious, and full of nutrients, carrots also product phytoestrogens, so keep a supply of baby carrots on hand for an afternoon snack and add shredded carrots to your favorite salad. Check out this simple summertime recipe from Familystyle Food for inspiration.
View this post on Instagram
A string bean teepee can add more than shady charm to your backyard during the summer. Lima beans and green beans are considered milk-boosters. Low in sodium and containing no cholestrol, these beans are high in protein, folate, Vitamins C and A as well as beneficial minerals like calcium and iron. Delicious blanched, sautéed, or even pickled, beans are versatile and healthy.
While we’re on the legume train, don’t forget hummus, especially when it contains garlic, as both chickpeas and the stinking rose are known galactagogues.
A healthy mom is a healthy baby – year-round
While boosting milk production is a concern of many moms, it’s just as important to consider the quality of the breast milk you’re producing. Your milk should be full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other nutrients important to your baby’s growth. That means you’ve got a built-in excuse to indulge in the season’s abundant supply of fruits and vegetables as well as fish and nuts. Bon appétit!