Nutrition & Mental Health: Can Diet Improve Your Mood?

Diet and mental health

Author – Motherhood Medical Team

A healthy and balanced diet concurs to the healthy physical life of a person. Besides having this benefit, a well-balanced diet can also affect our mental health in a positive manner. It has been observed that a good food can have positive impact on the overall mental wellness along with being productive in managing mental illness like depression and anxiety.

When a healthy diet is consumed that is rich in nutrients, it can help to better the mood along with increasing the required energy levels. When the body is having a nutritious diet, it gains the tendency to think well with the elements that compromise our regular intake.

Importance of good food for sound mental health

  • When the food rich in carbohydrate is consumed, it contains the energy derived from the blood glucose which is used for the functioning of the body, of which 20% energy is devoured by the brain. Thus, having less carbohydrates tends to less energy which leads to the feeling of weakness, tiredness and vague thinking. Besides, fluctuating glucose levels can impact on the mood leading to the feelings of lowness, irritation etc.
  • Proteins are also required by the brain to regulate the thoughts and feelings.
  • Vitamins and minerals can also affect the physical and mental health where the lack of iron and vitamin B can lead to the feeling of tiredness, irritation, lowness etc. Besides, deficiency of folate and selenium can lead to the increased chances of depression and negative mood states.
  • Staying hydrated is also important to concentrate and think clearly.

Therefore, eating a balanced diet full of nutrition can help in the improvement of your mood, provide you more energy and also help you in thinking clearly.

At Motherhood Hospitals, we have a team of experienced super specialists backed by the latest in infrastructure and facilities. We have the best Nutritionist customized diet plans for pregnant women and monitor their health throughout the period of pregnancy, in consultation with gynaecologists.

Do take an appointment with the best women and childcare hospital at a centre closest to you. Meet with our doctors who will carry out the required investigations, diagnose the issue and recommend the most appropriate treatment, enabling you to lead an active life.

If you wish to get in touch with our doctors, please book your appointment here.

Health Tips For Women Living With PCOS

Author – Motherhood Medical Team

PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), a hormonal condition, is becoming common in India as every 1 out of 5 Indian women in the reproductive age group is diagnosed with PCOS. Though the exact cause yet to be known, there are some changes that if adopted can help in managing the symptoms.

Lifestyle changes that can help a woman with PCOS

  • Healthy eating and PCOS: Foods rich in fiber are beneficial for people with PCOS as they help in decreasing the effect of sugar on the blood for such people are at a risk of developing health conditions like type 2 diabetes. Some high fiber foods include broccoli, cauliflower, green and red peppers, beans, almonds, brown rice, buckwheat, oats, poha, lentils, chia seeds and barley. Besides high fiber diet, foods rich in protein are suggested as they are nutritious, like tofu, sprouted hara chana and moong.
  • Avoiding food for PCOS: While the above foods are recommended for better nourishment, there are some to resist when you are having PCOS, as processed foods and sugary foods like white bread, muffins, sugary deserts etc. Moreover, beverages like soda and juice, and inflammation causing foods, like fries, or processed meats should also be avoided.
  • Physical activity: Exercising regularly can be effective in improving insulin resistance as it is one of common causes of the symptoms of PCOS. The ideal thing to aim is getting involved in any type of physical activity for 30 minutes every day which can help to prevent weight gain and stay healthy.
  • Healthy choices and confidence: Make healthy choices that will help to develop your confidence while shopping, eating, cooking etc.
  • Seeking help: It’s always better to seek an advice from the practicing dietician to help you further in choosing the best options.

Nutritional support during pregnancy

How can nutrition help with pregnancy?

Pregnancy pertains to the physical and hormonal changes in the body where the needs of the person also alter. The growing fetus inside the womb requires sufficient nutrients during the stage of development. For coping the nutritional requirements that correspond to the healthy lifestyle, appropriate weight gain, a balanced diet, exercising regularly, vitamin and mineral supplementation should be considered.

Calorie intake during Pregnancy

During the course of pregnancy, 300 extra calories are required for maintaining the healthy body and suffice the needs of the fetus. To incorporate these calories, a balanced diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be consumed. Besides, it is better to limit the intake of sugar and fats as a balanced diet can help in relieving the symptoms of pregnancy.

Fluid intake should also be taken into consideration during pregnancy as it forms a significant part of nourishing the body. Alongside water, juices and soups should also be consumed in subtle amounts.

Nutritional foods during pregnancy

  • For vitamin A and potassium: Carrots, sweet potatoes, amaranth, spinach, tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, cantaloupe, ragi, jowar, etc. are good source of vitamin and potassium as it helps to maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes.
  • Calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and D: Fat free or low fat yogurt, milk, soya milk etc. should be a part of balance diet as calcium helps build the baby’s bones and regulate fluids.
  • Iron and folic acid: Grains inclusive of cereals reduces the risk of neural tube defects and increase the blood flow.
  • Proteins: Beans, chickpeas, soybean, chia seeds, quinoa, etc. provide proteins to the baby and mother which are required for the proper growth of baby, along with increasing blood supply.

At Motherhood Hospitals, we have a team of experienced super specialists backed by the latest in infrastructure and facilities. We have the best Nutritionist customized diet plans for pregnant women and monitor their health throughout the period of pregnancy, in consultation with gynaecologists.

Do take an appointment with the best women and childcare hospital at a centre closest to you. Meet with our doctors who will carry out the required investigations, diagnose the issue and recommend the most appropriate treatment, enabling you to lead an active life.

If you wish to get in touch with our doctors, please book your appointment here.

Women Health & Nutrition

A balanced diet is a cornerstone of health for Women. Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help to prevent disease. Eating right as follows:

  • At least three servings of whole grains such as whole-grain bread, rice, roti, paratha etc can be taken.
  • Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products including milk, buttermilk, yogurt or cheese, ragi, soya, almond milk etc
  • Five servings of protein such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans or peas and nuts.
  • Three cups of fruits Ÿ?? fresh without added sugar.
  • Three cups of colorful vegetables Ÿ?? fresh without added salt / cooked.

Iron is one of the keys to good health and energy levels in women. Iron-rich food sources include red meat, chicken, fish, kale, spinach, green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils and fortified breads and cereals. Plant-based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. So the wise choice is to add tomatoes to lentil soup or add a pinch of lemon juice in your salads and cooking.

When women reach childbearing age, they need to eat good amount of folic acid to decrease risk of birth defects. The requirement is at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Diet which contains folic acids such as Citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas naturally contain folate. There are many folic acid fortified foods such as cereals, rice and breads can be used.

For healthy bones and teeth, women need to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods every day. Calcium keeps bones strong and prevents osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the bones become weak and break easily. Some calcium-rich foods include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, sardines, tofu (if made with calcium sulfate) and calcium-fortified foods including juices and cereals.

To keep weight in check at any age, women should avoid a lot of excess calories from added sugars, fat and alcohol. Limit regular soft drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods and fried foods. Opt for low-fat dairy and meat products instead of their full-fat counterparts. Eat fewer foods that are high in saturated fat Ÿ?? the kind found in fatty meats, sausages, cheese and full-fat dairy products, baked goods and pizza.

Since women typically have less muscle, more fat and are smaller than men, you need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight and activity level. Moderately active women need 1,800 calories a day.

Exercise is an important part of a woman’s health. Regular daily activity helps with weight control, muscle strength and stress management.

Myths and Facts about Pregnancy by Jasmine

  • Myths and facts about pregnancy
    1. A pregnant mother should be eating for two.
    2. Saffron will make the babyŸ??s complexion fairer.
    3. Pregnant women should avoid fish.
    4. Craving for spicy foods means you are having a boy, and craving for sweet foods indicate a girl.
    5. Pregnant women can catch a flu with cold and sour food items.
    6. Papaya and pineapple can cause abortion or miscarriages.
    7. The food you crave or eat more during pregnancy are going to be babyŸ??s favorites.

    1. There is no evidence to show that you need to eat for two. Eating a healthy, balance diet is important.
    2. There is no evidence to support this belief.
    3. Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. E.g. Shark, Sword Fish, King Mackerel and Tile Fish. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage.
    4. Research shows that cravings have nothing to do with determining the sex of a baby.
    5. These foods are loaded with vitamin (citrus fruits) especially vitamin C. ItŸ??s an important vitamin for iron absorption. Curd and butter milk provide probiotics which keep the mothers get healthy and help in digestion along with providing good immunity.
    6. These fruits in their raw form contain certain enzymes, which if consumed in large quantities, can cause uterine contractions.
    7. No real evidence for this but some studies have shown that food choices you made during pregnancy may shape babyŸ??s food preference.

Jasmine, Nutritionist, Sarjapur Road

Checklist of Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, hormonal changes lower your immunity and affect your immune system. Your unborn baby is more susceptible to the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause food-borne illness.

Food-borne illnesses such as toxoplasmosis, salmonella and listeriosis can cause serious illnesses in mother and baby.Toxoplasmosis may cause flu-like symptoms in the pregnant mother. Listeriosis causes few or no symptoms to the mother but can be transferred to the baby and can lead to miscarriage, still birth, premature birth or may make the newborn very ill. You can reduce the risk of listeriosis by taking simple food hygiene steps at home and avoiding certain high risk foods. Salmonella can cause illnesses such as typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and food poisoning.

If you have any concerns about symptoms or illnesses, please consult your doctor. Keep this checklist handy to help ensure that you and your unborn baby stay healthy and safe.

Food to be avoidedReason
Soft CHEESE made from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco, and queso frescoHot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage, and other deli-style meat and poultryMay contain Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella.
Certain kinds of FISH, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (golden or white snapper)Contains high levels of mercury.
Unpasteurized JUICEMay contain E. coli.
SALADS made in a store (unwashed vegetables)May contain Listeria. It is essential to make sure that they are washed thoroughly to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis.
Raw or undercooked SPROUTS, such as alfalfa and moong beansMay contain E. coli or Salmonella.
Raw Eggs/eggnog and mayonnaiseUnder cooked/ raw eggs may contain Salmonella.
Caffeine (Coffee/Tea/Aerated drinks, etc)Although most studies show that caffeine intake in moderation is not harmful but there are others reveal that caffeine intake may be related to miscarriages. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it helps eliminate fluids from the body.
AlcoholPrenatal exposure to alcohol can interfere with the healthy development of the baby. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other developmental disorders.

Contact our Nutrition Department to know more about foods that needs to be avoided and included for safe pregnancy.

Diet tips for a winter pregnancy by Mrs. Edwina Raj

Being pregnant in winter is definitely better compared to summer as the cooler weather balances your naturally high internal temperature. It reduces the increased sweating during the third trimester. Although, winter is also associated with flu, common cold, infections, chills, etc.

Diet for Pregnancy during winter needs to be taken special care of. Your food intake is responsible for boosting your immunity. You must also keep yourself well hydrated and prevent your skin from becoming dry.

Here are some healthy eating tips to keep you and your growing foetus safe during winter:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure a robust immunity.
  • Amla, or Indian gooseberry, is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. Add it to chutneys or drink it as amla juice, or you have it as sweet amla murabba. Vitamin C helps your body fight infection, and acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.
  • Drink kesar (saffron-few strands) milk which is also an antioxidant to help in improving your immune system.
  • To keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Keep a bottle of water handy and sip water regularly. It is important to stay hydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty.

by Mrs. Edwina Raj , Nutritionist.

10 More Vegetarian Superfoods For Pregnant Women

In our earlier blog, we had discussed the top 10 Superfoods for Vegetarians. These are 10 more Super Rich & Nutritious foods that make a remarkable impact on your health. Pregnancy is the most beautiful feeling any woman can ever experience. Throughout the three trimesters, your body floods out various hormones to adjust to bearing and nurture a new life within.

Along with healthy food, regular exercise can prevent the risk of birth defects and depression. Low iron levels can cause lethargy during pregnancy. Hence, Vegetarians need to take efforts persistently to include the below mentioned superfoods to account for the nutrients quintessentially required to meet the needs of the developing fetus as well as the energy requirements of the mother.



Essential Nutrients: Packed with protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Health Benefits: Essential for normal blood clotting, particularly after the birth, helps in building essential cells that forms vital body organs.


Essential Nutrients: Powered with protein, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, high calories.

Health Benefits: Helps in forming your baby’s brain and nervous system, building up tissues, helps to combat morning sickness. The high calorie helps those who want to gain weight during pregnancy.


Essential Nutrients: Power house of energy, folic acid, fibre and vitamin B.

Health Benefits: Fortified cereals make great for an energetic breakfast. You need energy as you progress through your trimesters to support your child as well.


Essential Nutrients: Wholesome goodness of thiamin, folic acid, vitamin E, A, B6, C, K, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, fibre & iron.

Health Benefits: These vitamins aid in healthy breast-milk production. Chilled cabbage leaves placed in your bra help to soothe sore breasts during & after pregnancy. Magnesium improves blood flow.


Essential Nutrients: Rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc and folic acid.

Health Benefits: Hummous (made from chickpeas) with peta bread makes a tasty snack. Fibre balances glucose levels; iron helps combat anaemia.Folic acid is vital for baby’s development.

6)Oils and Fats

Essential Nutrients: Entails omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants.

Health Benefits: Quintessential for cell function, brain and eye development.Go for the extra virgin olive oil. it lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health by providing protection against heart disease, depression, cancer, high cholesterol and dementia.


Essential Nutrients: Packed with fiber, protein and vitamin B6. It can be fortified with iron & folic acid.

Health Benefits: Whole grains containing complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly after you have eaten it. A bowl of oatmeal or porridge is a great start to the day and will help combat any fatigue which sets in mid-morning.


Essential Nutrients: Contains vitamins A and C.

Health Benefits: Low fat tomatoes have the ability to regulate blood sugar, reduce stress, cure headaches and even protection against gall & kidney stones.

9)Going Nuts over Nuts

Essential Nutrients: Proteins, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, magnesium, Vitamin E.

Health Benefits: They are memory-boosting foods, helps development of child’s brain and eyes, reduced risk of premature baby. Indulge guilt-free in almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, reduced risk of heart diseases.

10)Whole Wheat

Essential Nutrients: Plentiful of iron, fiber, Vitamin B complex and protein.

Health Benefits: Along with energy boost to the body, it releases energy from muscles, iron fights anemia & eases constipation. Brown rice & millets are considered a healthier option.

Top 10 Vegetarian Superfoods For Pregnant Women

They say pregnancy is the most beautiful feeling any woman can ever experience. Throughout the three trimesters, your body floods out various hormones to adjust to bearing and nurturing a new life within. Hence, your diet makes a remarkable impact on your health.

Vegetarians need to take efforts persistently to include the below mentioned superfoods to account for the nutrients quintessentially required to meet the needs of the developing fetus as well as the energy requirements of the mother.

While there are many foods that have tremendous nutritional benefits like Quinoa, Hemp Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Brown Rice, Flax Seeds, etc. which may be difficult to accommodate in your daily diet; these are some simple superfoods that can be made a mandate to your regular diet to ensure your child’s healthy development.

1)Dairy in your Diet Diary

Essential Nutrients: Excellent source of proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamin B.

Health Benefits: Pivotal for development of bones and teeth, reduces risk of under-weight or pre-termed babies, reduced risk of osteoporosis in women at a later stage, production of hormones and enzymes, fights infection.

Include milk, yoghurt, soy milk, fortified products to deal with increased demand of calcium essential for child’s growth.

2)Affectionate Apricots

Essential Nutrients: Rich in folic acid, potassium, calcium, magnesium and 10% of RDA of iron.

Health Benefits: Dried apricots help to combat problems related to constipation and checks to normalize bowel movements.

Tasty for an in-between snack during your hunger pangs.

3)Broccoli For Bones

Essential Nutrients: Great sources of calcium, magnesium, folic acid, Vitamin C, potassium and excellent source of vitamin A, anti-oxidants

Health Benefits: Vital for child’s bone development, aids digestion, helps healing of bruises.

4)Blueberries and Strawberries

Essential Nutrients: Packed with Vitamin C and fibre.

Health Benefits: Protection against cell damage and cystitis, regeneration of new cells, a handful meets the RDA for folic acid everyday, prevents serious birthing effects.

5)Sweet Potato

Essential Nutrients: Various nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, energy, vitamin A, copper, iron.

Health Benefits: An antioxidant, vital for bones, skin and eye development, copper helps better absorption of iron, helps in expanding blood volume, maintains healthy immune system.

Tip: Steaming works better than boiling.

6)Go Bananas over Bananas

Essential Nutrients: Rich in potassium, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, energy, tryptophan, pectin.

Health Benefits: Right pick to reduce the common problem of fluid retention and nausea, normalizes blood pressure, promotes digestion and good sleep, shields against ulcers and stomach acids, reduces swelling in the body and improves circulatory system of the body.

7)Beans For The New Genes

Essential Nutrients: Packed with protein, iron, calcium, thiamine, and niacin.

Health Benefits: Includes ease of digestion, development of the placenta, baby’s brain and central nervous system, new blood production.

8)Power Of Pomegranate

Essential Nutrients: Rich in potassium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E and anti-oxidants.

Health Benefits: Reduced risk of anemia, heals hemorrhoids, excellent for immune system, increases bone density, excellent for skin care.

9)Goodness of Orange Juice

Essential Nutrients: Rich in potassium, fibre and vitamin C

Health Benefits: It increases the absorption of iron and calcium from your food, keeps you hydrated, prevent fatigue and tiredness, keeping your muscle function, fighting colds, metabolism and overall health in check, increases blood circulation in the placenta

10)Go Green with the GLV’s

Essential Nutrients: It contains calcium, iron, beta-carotene, lutein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C.

Health Benefits: Helps fight cancer, promotes nutritionally-dense breast milk, vital for normal birthing and child development.



Food cravings start during the early stages of pregnancy, when your body is still in the process of getting used to the new changes and is filled with pregnancy hormones. The urges are sudden and mostly radical and random, or so it seems, ranging from ice to potato chips and pickles to chocolate. But what do these cravings mean? Is it an additional part of healthy nutrition during pregnancy or is it just your body adapting to the changes?

What causes food cravings?

Well, although there is no definite proof about this but it is said that our body knows what it needs or lacks and during pregnancy, it is this inbuilt system that kicks in. Many theories surround this study, however some absurd cravings like cigarette butts or chalk still remain unexplained, or even the fact that some women develop a sudden distaste or repulsion for a certain food, which they may have loved otherwise, like the smell of eggs frying or the smell of rich spices.

To help you understand your cravings, we have listed a few of the top cravings and their probable significance or relevance.

Nutrition benefits from your cravings

PicklesIf you are low on sodium, pickles are likely to be your craving. But the likeness for pickles does not end with sodium; it could very well just be the flavor that you prefer. The same reason you crave for something crunchy and salty and think about potato chips.

Ice Craving for ice could mean an iron deficiency. Although ice does not have a significant amount of iron, women who craved ice during pregnancy seem to have iron deficiency.

Chocolate Women found low on magnesium have often had craving for chocolate. Some other alternative can be whole grains, nuts, beans and green vegetables.

Red meat Red meat is an easy source of protein. A lack in protein may cause a craving for red meat.

Fruits –Some researchers believe that fruits like watermelons and grapes act as cooling agents for pregnant women. It is also a source of Vitamin C for the mother and her child.

Spicy Food Cravings for spicy food can be related to the body trying to cool off by sweating. Pregnancy causes the body to heat up; eating spicy might just help you keep your body cool.

Lemons It’s not unnatural to see pregnant women crave for something sour. Lemons contain many beneficial vitamins but apart from that, the sourness helps reactivate the taste buds occasionally.

Now that you have a brief guide on your cravings, eat up, stay healthy but control your urges on bizarre cravings, we still don’t know what they mean and it is as confusing to us as it is to you!

Disclaimer:The information contained in this issue is not a substitute for medical advice. All content including text, graphics and images are for general information purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.