Useful information and local resources concerning health and nutrition for new mothers.

Health and Nutrition


We now know that all the bacteria and microbes that line our GI tract (called the gut microbiome) are extremely important for our health. Your gut health impacts your weight and your health in general including your immune system and your cardiovascular system. Improving your gut health will also improve things like your cholesterol.

Here is a list of ways to improve your gut health:

  1. Eating a diverse diet rich in whole foods can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is beneficial for your health.
  2. Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Fiber promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including specific types such as Bifidobacteria. Examples include:
    • Green peas
    • Broccoli
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils
    • Beans
    • Whole grains
    • Bananas
    • Apples
    • Blueberries
  3. Fermented foods can benefit the microbiome by enhancing its function and reducing the abundance of disease-causing bacteria in the intestines. Examples include:
    • Yogurt (containing “live active culture”)
    • Kimchi
    • Sauerkraut
    • Kefir
    • Kombucha
    • Tempeh
    • Sourdough bread
  4. Prebiotics promote the growth of several types of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacteria. Some studies suggest that prebiotics could also reduce risk factors for certain health conditions by decreasing levels of insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Examples include:
    • Garlic, Onions, Leeks
    • Asparagus
    • Bananas, apples
    • Barley
    • Oats (steel cut or large flake rolled oats best)
    • Flaxseeds (ground)
    • Wheat bran
    • Seaweed
  5. Breastfeeding helps an infant develop a healthy microbiome, which may help protect against certain health conditions later in life.
    • Breastfeeding also reduces the cardiovascular risk factors and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in the mother.
  6. Whole grains contain nondigestible carbohydrates that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gut microbiome. These changes to the gut flora may improve certain aspects of metabolic health. Examples include:
    • Whole wheat, barley, rye
    • Oats
    • Brown rice
  7. Eat a (mostly) plant-based diet.
    • Vegetarian and vegan diets may improve the microbiome. However, it is unclear if the positive effects associated with these diets can be attributed to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may be involved.
  8. Polyphenols can’t be digested efficiently by human cells, but they are efficiently broken down by the gut microbiota. They may improve several health outcomes related to heart disease and inflammation. Examples include:
    • Green tea
    • Almonds
    • Onions
    • Blueberries
    • Broccoli
    • Dark chocolate
    • Red wine (no more than one to two glasses per day)
  9. Probiotics do not significantly change the composition of the microbiome in healthy people. However, they may improve microbiome function and help restore the microbiome to good health in those with certain health conditions.
    • Probiotic-rich foods are listed in #3. Probiotic supplements available through health stores are not all created your homework before purchasing.
  10. Things that do not help your gut microbiome include:
    • Highly processed food 
    • Alcoholic drinks (exception is moderate amounts of red wine which contains polyphenols) 
    • Artificial sweeteners (eg. Diet sodas)
    • Foods high in saturated fats (eg. Cheese, fatty meat, butter) 
    • Antibiotic use 
    • Lack of regular physical activity 
    • Cigarette smoking 
    • Lack of sleep 
    • Stress

Sources for more information:

  1. 9 Ways to Improve Your Gut Bacteria, Based on Science (
  2. Zoe Science and Nutrition (good podcasts): The gut microbiome (


Staying active

What is physical activity?

Physical Activity includes all types of movement or exercise and can vary from low to moderate and high intensities. Here are a few examples:

  • Low Intensity

    • Walking

    • Light Stretches

    • Household chores

  • Moderate Intensity

    • Speed walking

    • Yoga

    • Casual biking

  • High Intensity

    • Running

    • Aerobic classes

    • Uphill biking


Tips to stay active:

  • Go for a walk with your baby in a stroller  

  • Put some music on and dance with your baby at home  

  • Sign up for “Mom and Baby” fitness programs available in your community such as yoga, swimming or dance


Benefits to Physical Fitness

  • Maintains a healthy body weight

  • Gives you more energy

  • Improves sleep

  • Reduces stress

  • Builds muscle

  • Lowers risk of heart disease


For more information about staying active, click here