Vegetables – an indispensable source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber that are necessary for correct body functioning and sound health. It is notorious that vegetables should play a significant part in a daily diet of a pregnant woman – they will provide a mother-to-be with essential elements, securing a faultless fetal development.
The following information will help you to understand what kind of vegetables are good for pregnancy and what should be avoided.
First of all, eating vegetables during pregnancy could be a good habit since these products are rich in vitamins:
- cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet pepper and potatoes – vitamin C and A;
- beetroot – vitamin C, PP, P, B;
- carrot – vitamin A;
- beans – vitamin A and B;
- pumpkin – vitamin C, PP, A, B1;
- tomatoes – C and P;
- bunch onion – C,
- spinach – vitamin A.
Vegetables is a real stockpot of healthy microelements:
- potassium (radish, cabbage, beetroot, carrot, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, bunch onion, horse radish, fennel, etc.);
- phosphorus (new potatoes, beetroot, beans, bunch onion, celery);
- calcium (pumpkin, horse radish, celery);
- magnesium (beetroot, pumpkin);
- folic acid (beetroot).
Also, many vegetables contain such necessary elements, as:
- Sugars – starch and glucose (add energy to a body).
- Protein (the crucial “building” element for a body).
- Oxalic, malic and citric acids (improve the process of digestion).
- Pectin (a “building” element for cells).
- Fiber (useful for digestion).
- Phytoncides (antiviral action).
Different vegetables produce various effect on a pregnant: fennel is able to produce diuretic, laxative, carminative and choleretic effects; tomatoes, marrow and cucumbers can solve a problem of edema that is very frequent with pregnant women.
Celery has diuretic and anti-inflammatory effects, carrot is able to save from constipation and other problems with digestion. Now let’s speak about which vegetables to avoid during pregnancy.
Though all vegetables are very healthy, there is a group of them that should be avoided during pregnancy due to some side effects:
- Avoid “spicy” vegetables: eggplant, garden radish and black radish. Also, give up the consumption of spicy kinds of pepper – these vegetables can cause a heaviness in the stomach.
- Avoid consumption of all early vegetables – as a rule, they were grown in artificial environment (in greenhouses). Such vegetables can do harm to a developing fetus and immune system of an expectant mother.
- After 23th-25th week it is advisable not to eat brightly colored vegetables (tomatoes, etc.) because of allergens.
We want to mention that the list of vegetables to avoid in pregnancy could be bigger, everything depends on your specific organism, so please consult the doctor first.
In section above, we discussed vegetables to be avoided during pregnancy but you should also know that there is a list of products that could be limited in consumption. Parsley and fennel have a huge amount of fragrant essential oils and in case of unlimited consumption they can lead to womb overtone that, in turn, can provoke a miscarriage.
Beans (haricot, soya, peas), cabbage, garden and black radish can also provoke a womb overtone because their unlimited consumption (lead to increased flatus).
Vegetables that are very reach in fiber (carrot, beetroot) should be eaten very carefully if they are fresh. A huge quantity of fiber can lead to constipation that is highly undesirable for expectant mothers.
Limit yourself to potatoes if they are not new: old potatoes do not have vitamin C and have a huge amount of carbohydrate that is not very healthy for mothers-to-be and their babies. So, when you have already know about prohibited ones let’s move to vegetables to eat during pregnancy.
There are no such vegetables that can be eaten without limits. Almost all vegetables can cause different side effects if they are consumed in big amounts: cabbages – womb overtone due to increased flatus, carrot and beetroot lead to constipation.
It is possible to list some relatively “safe” vegetables that can be consumed in a slightly bigger amount during pregnancy:
- Broccoli, cauliflower: always cook them before eating. They are possible to steam, roast or in form of puree or broth.
- Cucumbers. They are consisting of water on 90% and poor in vitamins. Four or six medium-sized cucumbers a day will not do harm to an expectant mother and her future child.
- Pumpkin. It is possible to steam, roast or in form of puree or broth.
This list includes the products that are safe enough for pregnant women, now let’s speak about what are the best vegetables to eat during pregnancy.
Healthy vegetables for pregnancy
There is a number of vegetables that can be consumed fresh. There is a rule, that, if a vegetable can be eaten fresh, it should be eaten fresh.
Here is the list of pregnancy vegetables:
- Cucumbers and tomatoes in form of salad or without any cooking.
- Beetroot and carrot in form of salad or without any cooking (such consumption should be carefully limited!). To gain all essential elements from carrot it should be dressed with natural oils or sour cream.
- Marrow and pumpkin can also be eaten fresh in form of salad with grated apples.
- Spinach, parsley and fennel can be added to different salads in form of a seasoning.
- Sweet pepper in form of salad or without any cooking.
To sum up, always remember that eating raw vegetables during pregnancy are much more useful rather than cooked.
In this particular paragraph we will be describing advantages of eating raw vegetables during pregnancy:
- Folate (folic acid). Those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida during fetal development.
- Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
- Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids an iron absorption.
- Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function.
- Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Vegetables rich in calcium (pumpkin) help to develop babies skeleton and helps mother to save healthy tooth and hair.
- “Water” vegetables as cucumbers and tomatoes help to fight edema that is very frequent with pregnant.
Overall vegetables are good for pregnancy but, there are some contraindications that should be taken into consideration.
Side Effects and Contraindication
Side effects and contraindications concerning eating vegetables in pregnancy are allergic reactions (idiocrasy) and problems with stomach and digestion.
When it is Better to eat vegetables and their possible amount? Eggplant, sweet pepper, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes and radish – up to 3-4 p.m. Carrot, marrow, cucumber, pumpkin, beetroot – from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What consider the possible amount, one should find middle ground in this issue, for example: 2 tomatoes, 1 carrot, 100 gr pumpkin, 150 gr beetroot, a small bunch of parsley and spinach.
Do not overload your diet with vegetables! Pay attention on fruits, meat, fish and dairy products. Eating vegetables provides health benefits – pregnant who eat more vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases and are able to bear a healthy child. Remember, that vegetables provide indispensable nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.