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Brinjals or eggplants are delicious vegetarian treats that are can be boiled, baked, fried, or even made into chips. Apart from being delicious, it also has health benefits such as boosting immunity and regulating cholesterol.
What Is Eggplant?
An eggplant is more popularly known as aubergine or brinjal. It is a plant that is extensively grown for its fruit. An eggplant is shaped like an egg, looks glossy, and is purple in colour. Eggplants are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and is well-liked by people all over the world for its various health benefits.
Can You Eat Brinjal During Pregnancy?
Whether eating brinjal or aubergine during pregnancy is beneficial can be a question for some women. According to some, brinjal is not recommended to pregnant women as it is believed to contain phytohormones which in turn may lead to menstruation, thus, miscarriages.
On the other hand, some recommend brinjal to pregnant women because of its various benefits. Brinjal helps in the development of the foetus as it provides vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin E. Brinjal also contains folic acid that boosts the development of red blood cells in the new life form. So, what are the health benefits of eating brinjal during pregnancy? Read on.
Health Benefits of Eating Brinjal During Pregnancy
Brinjal is good for pregnancy as it provides several health benefits, some of which are listed below:
1. Enhances immunity
Brinjal is found to be rich in vitamin C which is known to augment a body’s resistance towards various diseases. Brinjal is thus good for pregnancy as it keeps pregnant women away from health problems, keeping both mom and baby safe.
2. Decreases risk of hypertension
A pregnant woman is more vulnerable to hypertension and blood pressure problems, and for this reason, eggplant is a recommended diet option. Eggplant is found to be rich in thiamin, bioflavonoids, and riboflavin which help regulate hypertension. Brinjal helps regulate blood pressure levels, assures a good heart rate and also mitigates the risk of other health problems a woman may experience during pregnancy.
3. Boosts proper development of the baby
Eggplant or brinjal is found to be rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, B complex and niacin. These rich sources together help in the proper growth of the foetus.
4. Helps regulate cholesterol levels
Eggplants are believed to reduce bad cholesterol levels, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and boost good cholesterol levels or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. By regulating the cholesterol levels, eggplants also help in mitigating heart-related issues and boost cardiovascular well-being in a pregnant woman.
5. Helps treat digestive issues
Brinjal is found to be rich in dietary fibre which helps in the easy processing of food and waste in the intestines and mitigates digestion issues in a pregnant woman. Brinjal also ensures normal bowel movements, thus eliminating one major problem a pregnant woman goes through- constipation.
6. Increases the count of RBCs (Red Blood Cells)
Red blood cells (RBCs) are essential for the growth of the foetus as they help in the development of nerves, brain cells, and muscles, and also ensure sufficient iron levels in both the mother and the baby. Brinjal contains folate which transforms into folate acid. Folate acid is a basic source of producing red blood cells, thus making brinjal an essential food for pregnant women.
7. Helps in regulating electrolyte balance
Eggplant is rich in various minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. These minerals together help in regulating the body’s electrolyte balance and in regulating proper blood supply in both mother and baby.
8. Helps keep a check on gestational diabetes
Pregnant women are more vulnerable to gestational diabetes. In such cases, it becomes essential to regulate one’s blood sugar levels, and eggplant does exactly that. Eggplant helps in controlling blood sugar levels by managing any kind of fluctuations in the same.
Side-effects of Having Brinjal While Pregnant
We looked at the benefits, but on the other hand, there also exist several reasons to avoid brinjal during pregnancy, some of which have been listed below
1. May lead to miscarriage
Brinjal is rich in phytohormones which trigger menstruation, leading to a possible miscarriage. However, if brinjal is consumed in small quantities and on an occasional basis, it may not be harmful to pregnant women.
2. May lead to premature delivery
Brinjal grows in the soil which is rich in toxoplasmosis– if it is not properly rinsed before cooking, it may lead to premature delivery. Eggplant is believed to stimulate uterine contractions which can also cause premature delivery.
3. May lead to allergies
In some rare cases, pregnant women may suffer from allergies on consuming brinjal beyond recommended quantities. The reason behind such allergies could also be the changing hormones in a pregnant woman.
4. May lead to acidity
Brinjal is believed to induce high levels of acidity in pregnant women, which may cause them anxiety and discomfort. To avoid high acidity levels, brinjal is not a recommended food item for pregnant women.
Ways to Add Eggplant in Your Diet
Having discussed the pros and the cons, let’s discuss the ways in which eggplant can be added to a pregnant woman’s diet. One should keep in mind the following serving suggestions to make sure brinjal provides more benefits instead of side-effects.
1. One way to consume eggplants during pregnancy is by sauteing thin slices of the vegetable and roasting them with some olive oil. Add in some salt, pepper and other herbs and enjoy.
2. To prepare a slightly fancier dish, you could saute thin slices of eggplant in olive oil after coating them in breadcrumbs and adding in a creamy sauce made of low-fat cheese.
Things to Remember
Some things to keep in mind when consuming eggplant during pregnancy:
- Washing the eggplant before preparing it is highly recommended as an unwashed eggplant may lead to bacteria-borne diseases.
- Eggplant is not recommended for pregnant women who have a history of allergies related to it.
- The brinjal should be cooked well so as to prevent digestive issues.
Brinjal or eggplant has numerous health benefits such as improving the circulatory system and keeping gestational diabetes at bay. However, it can lead to a plethora of health problems such as premature delivery and increased acidity. Taking stock of this, it is best to eat eggplants in moderation. Avoid it entirely if you have had a history of problems associated with brinjal.
References & Resources
Also Read: Is It Safe To Eat Pineapple In Pregnancy