Sweet Pumpkin is a Source of Vitamins During Pregnancy
Good nutrition during pregnancy is highly important for both the expecting mother and baby. A well-balanced diet should include a great variety of fruit and vegetables, and it can become even better if you add pumpkin into your veggies list.
Pumpkins give excellent nutritional and culinary benefits, provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and their seeds are packed with zinc and other micronutrients what makes pumpkins an even more beneficial food.
Pumpkins are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and micronutrients, no wonder why many people call them a superfood for pregnant women. They contain:
- Protein – 1,3 g;
- Fat – 0,3 g;
- Carbohydrates – 9,9 g;
- Vitamin C – 5 mg;
- Vitamin A – 26,908 IU;
- Vitamin B1 – 0,03 mg;
- Vitamin B2 – 0,07 mg;
- Niacin – 0,4 mg;
- Phosphorus – 42 mg;
- Calcium – 32 mg;
- Iron – 1,7 mg.
Health benefits of eating pumpkin during pregnancy
So, what are the health benefits of eating pumpkin during pregnancy?
- Pumpkins are an excellent source of beta-carotene, so they can cover all your needs for vitamin A.
- Beta-carotene contributes to the development of the fetus heart, lungs, bones, eyes, kidneys, nerves and circulatory system.
- Rich in antioxidants, pumpkins help to boost immunity levels and to protect the expecting mother and fetus from infections.
- Iron prevents anemia during pregnancy, carries oxygen to the fetus, and helps to lower the chances of premature delivery.
- Vitamin C helps in iron absorption and boosts the immune system.
- Potassium and magnesium contained in pumpkins are very important for keeping the proper blood pressure level of the mother-to-be.
- This vegetable helps to control the level of cholesterol and thus to maintain the proper lipid levels during pregnancy.
- Pumpkins are believed to have antidepressant effect, so they can reduce the stress level of pregnant women.
- Since this superfood is rich in fiber famous for its laxative property, eating pumpkins helps to relieve constipation and hemorrhoids that expecting mothers face so often.
- Zinc content helps in a proper growth and development of the baby’s brain and in enhancing the immune system of the mother-to-be.
- Pumpkins also help in decreasing the blood sugar level when eaten without sugar, in relief of bronchial infections and in elimination of eczema, edema and dysentery.
- Pumpkin seeds are even more beneficial for pregnant women: the seeds are rich in protein, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and phytosterols that improve the liver function and increase immunity. 1 g of seeds protein contains the same amount of tryptophan as the glass of milk.
- Pumpkin seeds also provide omega-3 fatty acids that participate in the development of the fetus’ central nervous system.
Negative effects of taking pumpkin
Is pumpkin good for pregnancy?
- You can eat pumpkin in reasonable amounts in order to get its benefits, but don not overeat them to avoid any difficulties during pregnancy: consuming too many pumpkins may lead to abdominal discomfort due to the rich content of fiber.
- In some cases allergic reactions may appear with the following symptoms: wheezing, vomiting, short breathing, abdominal cramps, but this effect has to be proved in expecting mothers.
Ways to use
Of course, it’s better to cook the pumpkin to get all its nutritional benefits. Pumpkin pies, soup-puree, pumpkin curry – there’s a great variety of pumpkin dishes and recipes. Or you can just bake the pumpkin in the oven – it’s the easiest way of cooking.
Steamed or cooked pumpkins can help expecting mothers in relief of abdominal cramps.
The fresh-squeezed juice from pumpkin is also very healthy and tastes delicious! You can also make a nutritional pumpkin smoothie: add to pumpkin frozen yogurt, non-fat milk, a bit of cinnamon, and mix everything in a blender.
How to pick a good pumpkin
If you’re choosing a pumpkin not for carving on Halloween but for cooking and consuming as food, pay attention to the following details:
- Many kinds of pumpkins sold in the US stores are decorative, so better ask for “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins” in the farmers market or in the grocery store: they are smaller and usually more squat than round. Or you can use acorn squash instead of decorative pumpkins that are grown up for their shape, size and appearance, not for taste.
- When thumping the pumpkin, you should hear a hollow sound indicating that the pumpkin is ripe.
- Examine the skin out: it should be as hard as shell, with no soft spots or bruises (they can mean that the pumpkin has started to decay inside).
- If the pumpkin goes on a vine, it can be a good indicator of a ripe vegetable: the vine should be dry, and the stem – brown and woody.
Pumpkins are not only safe to eat, they are considered a superfood for pregnant women due to high content of fiber, vitamin A, iron and other nutrients that are essential for robust health of the mother-to-be and the baby. You can incorporate pumpkins into your daily diet, but try not to overeat.
Pumpkins are especially helpful when they are in season, i.e. during the fall: thus you can avoid any pesticides and chemicals disrupting the balance of your body.
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