The Science Behind Creating Healthier Humans
Good nutrition during the first 1000 days, from conception until two years of age has benefits that may last a lifetime (Cunha, et al., 2015). This time frame consists of 270 days pregnancy + 365 days first year + 365 days second year = 1000 days. Good nutrition during this time provides the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth and a strong immune system (Sullivan and Brumfield, 2016).
In addition to laying the foundations for a healthy development the first 1000 day period is also the time when flavor preferences are formed. Food preferences are formed in infancy and carry into childhood and beyond. Complementary feeding practices are therefore crucial to prevent obesity later in life (Valentina 2017). Exposure to different flavors through amniotic fluid followed with repeated experiences with novel flavors during breastfeeding and complementary feeding increase children’s willingness to try new foods (Valentina 2017). And develop a healthy palate.
Nutrition in the first 1000 days can impact a baby even further into the future by laying the foundations for lifelong health.
A growing body of evidence suggests that nutrition during this time can have a preventative effect on non communicable diseases such as obesity and heart disease (Sullivan and Brumfield, 2016). This is called nutritional programming which is a process through which variation in the quality or quantity of nutrients consumed exerts permanent effects upon the developing baby (Langley-Evans, 2009).
Creating Better Quality Breast Milk
After birth, breast milk provides the ideal form of nutrition to infants as it contains all the nutrients for optimal growth and development (Hennet and Borsig, 2016). Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, and then up to 2 years of age as complementary foods are introduced. There are many benefits related to breastfeeding, such as reduction in childhood morbidity and mortality. In the long-term, it reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia (Cunha, et al., 2015) as these could be programmed during this period of life (Moreno, et al., 2019).
Maternal dietary intake can lead to substantial variations in human milk quality.
Any nutrient deficiency will be carried forward via lactation. It is impossible for a nursing mom to transfer nutrients via breast milk she does not have (Erick, 2018). Optimizing dietary intake will optimize the nutrient benefits delivered to your baby (Erick, 2018).
How Nunona Mama Balls Help
Understanding all of this is only half the challenge, breastfeeding is incredible but it’s also hard work in the beginning. Add to this that you are caring for a new life and ensuring you are able to eat well in this new normal is a daunting task. That’s why we’ve made Mama Balls - to help empower new moms - and make this period a little easier by putting the science into action in order to help new moms feed their bodies, so they can feed their babies!
Our unique ‘pill box’ design puts whole food plant based goodness back at the forefront.
Ensuring you remember to eat with bite size energy balls formulated to help optimize breast milk quality. They also help to ensure you get in the extra energy required for breastfeeding mamas while helping to regulate blood sugar levels (and relieve constipation!).
Mama Balls are made with oats, brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, nut butters and dates. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan helps to reduce postprandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses (Wolever, et al. 2018). In other words, they help to regulate blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber also helps with constipation (Axelrod and Saps, 2018). Flaxseed and dates are also high in fiber content and are thus able to help your bowels return to normal.
Some nutrients passed through breast milk depend on maternal diet, two of these nutrients are B vitamins and fatty acids (Innis, 2014). That’s why we make Mama Balls with nut butters. To ensure fatty acids are in the maternal diet and able to be passed into the breast milk. Babys’ brain growth is dependent on receiving omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from breastmilk (Semba, et al., 2017). Furthermore, B vitamins are essential in closely interrelated roles in cellular functioning. Their collective role plays a role in various aspects of brain function (Kennedy, 2016). We help to ensure new moms consume enough B vitamins by including brewers yeast in our Mama Balls.
By putting whole food plant-based nutrition back at the forefront in a convenient pill-box design we are ensuring new mamas remember to eat, nourishing themselves as well as their babas!
Antonio Jose Ledo Alves da Cunha, Álvaro Jorge Madeiro Leite, Isabela Saraiva de Almeida. 2015. The pediatrician’s role in the first thousand days of the child: the pursuit of healthy nutrition and development. Pediatr (Rio J). 91(6 Suppl 1):S44---S51.
Axelrod, C.H. and Saps, M. 2018. The Role of Fiber in the Treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in Children. Nutrients, 10:1650.
Erick. M. 2018. Breast milk is conditionally perfect. Med Hypotheses. 111:82-89.
Hennet, T. and Borsig, L. 2016. Breastfed at Tiffany’s. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 41 (6).
Innis, S.M. 2014. Impact of maternal diet on human milk composition and neurological development of infants. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(3):734S-41S.
Kennedy, D.O. 2016. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review. Nutrients. 8(2): 68.
Khan, T.M., Wu, D.B., Dolzhenko, A.V. 2018. Effectiveness of fenugreek as a galactagogue: A network meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 32(3):402-412.
Lanley-Evans, S.C. 2009. Nutritional programming of disease: unravelling the mechanism. J. Anat. 215: 36–51.
Moreno Villares JM, Collado MC, Larque E, Leis Trabazo, Saenz De Pipaon M, Moreno Aznar LA. 2019. The first 1000 days: an opportunity to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases. Nutr Hosp. 7;36(1):218-232.
Semba, R.D., Trehan, I., Li, X., Salem Jr., N., Moaddel, R., Ordiz, M.I., Maleta, K.M., Kraemer, K., Manary, M.J. 2017. Low serum v-3 and v-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and other metabolites are associated with poor linear growth in young children from rural Malawi. Am J Clin Nutr. 106:1490–9.
Sullivan L, Brumfield C, 2016, The First 1000 Days: Nourishing America’s Future.
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Vuksan, v., Choleve, L., Jovanovski, E., Jenkins, A.L., Au-Yeung, F., Dias, A.G., Ho, H.V., Zurbau, A., Duvnjak, L. 2017. Comparison of flax (Linum usitatissimum) and Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds on postprandial glycemia and satiety in healthy individuals: a randomized, controlled, crossover study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 71(2):234-238.
Wolever, T.M.S., Jenkins, A.L., Prudence, K., Johnson, J., Duss, R., Chuc, Y., Steinert, R.E. 2018. Effect of adding oat bran to instant oatmeal on glycaemic response in humans – a study to establish the minimum effective dose of oat β-glucan. Food Funct. 9, 1692.