Confinement food is a special diet that new mothers follow during their confinement period. It aims to balance the yin and yang of a woman’s body by avoiding foods that are considered cold.

The menu consists of nourishing soups made with organ meat and collagen rich meals that aids in tissue recovery. It also involves foods that stimulate milk production and boosts energy.

Meat and Fish

The confinement period is the time for new mothers to heal their wounds and prepare themselves for breastfeeding. This includes eating a healthy diet that is high in iron and protein to build up their muscles. In addition, they need to consume lots of dairy products and fish to boost their immunity.

These foods also contain essential nutrients for women such as omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health while zinc helps to fight postpartum depression. These nutrients can be found in fish like salmon, tuna, and cod. In addition to these, mummies should also eat foods that are high in antioxidants.

Aside from consuming these meat and fish, mummies should avoid foods that are too cooling during confinement. Some of these foods are bitter melon, radish, tomatoes, cucumber, clams, and crabs. However, if these foods are cooked with a balancing “warming” ingredient such as ginger then they can be consumed.

Another good confinement food to eat is mackerel and black pepper. Mackerel is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and black pepper contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties to help new mummies heal. It also promotes blood circulation, strengthens joints, and increases milk supply. It is best to eat this dish with a bowl of hot rice.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are a good confinement food to help moms replenish the nutrients lost after childbirth. These foods also provide calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and choline which are important for baby’s brain and nervous system development. It is advised that women consume dairy products like milk, curd, cheese and ice cream in moderation after delivery.

It is recommended that mothers should have at least 3 cup equivalents of fluid milk per day. The USDA food patterns have been created to meet the known nutrient needs of the population within calorie constraints. The dairy group includes fluid milk, 1% or lowfat cheese, yogurt and soymilk.

Dairy foods are a source of many nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium and choline and contribute about 52-65 % of the RDI for these nutrients. Replacing dairy with sugar-sweetened beverages would decrease diet quality and put people further away from meeting nutrient recommendations. Dairy foods may also modulate body weight regulation through calcium independent mechanisms and stimulate food intake regulatory responses known to signal satiety and satiation.


A new mom’s body loses a lot of blood during childbirth. Therefore, confinement mothers are advised to eat vegetables which are rich in nutrients and have high energy content. It is also believed that a good confinement diet will help to increase milk production and strengthen the mother’s bones. Some vegetables that can be eaten include radish, spinach, tomato, kalian and cucumber. Other vegetables that are important are sweet potato leaves and green papaya which secrete milk when they are cut up, and turmeric which is a natural antiseptic and prevents infection.

Vegetables are an important part of the Confinement food because they are rich in minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium. They are also high in fibre, which helps with constipation that is often experienced by new mothers.

Various studies have shown that a good confinement diet is vital for post-partum recovery. One study found that a diet consisting of traditional Chinese foods, rhizomes and herbs such as longan and wolfberry is associated with less PPD symptoms. Another study found that a diet consisting of ethnic bread, whole milk and Indian herbs (such as cumin seed and fenugreek) is associated with less PPA symptoms.

Another study found that a diet of soup, vegetables and fruits is associated with less PPD symptoms. This dietary pattern is also high in antioxidants, which may protect against mental health disorders by regulating oxidation damage and providing neural protection.


During the confinement period, new mothers should try to eat as much fruits as possible. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and kiwifruits, help increase collagen production, which in turn helps heal wounds quicker – especially if you’ve had stitches after childbirth. They are also rich in vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron better. Other fruits, such as bananas and papayas, can assist in boosting breast milk supply, while berries have antioxidant properties that can help boost your mood.

Avoid foods that are too cooling, like bitter melon and radish, as they may cause dizziness and nausea. Eating warming foods like ginger, adzuki beans, cinnamon, oats and quinoa can help balance out the coolness of these foods.

In a study on postnatal diets, researchers found that a Soup-Vegetables-Fruits diet high in fish (non-fried), legumes and ethnic bread such as chapatti, thosai, idli and naan was protective against PPD symptoms. The diet is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and calcium, which may contribute to its protective effect.

The findings from the study need to be interpreted with caution, as the sample was small and participants were from an Asian population. However, four dietary patterns emerged that were associated with maternal mental health outcomes: the Traditional-Chinese-Confinement diet, the Eat-Out diet, the Traditional-Indian-Confinement diet and the Soup-Vegetables-Fruits Diet.

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