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For an expecting mother, taking care of her health becomes twice as important as there are more lives to take care of. To ensure safe delivery and a healthy baby, adopting a mindful diet is a must. Making green veggies a part of your diet has many advantages, and one such vegetable is cabbage – also known as patta gobi in India. It provides a number of benefits for the health of the mother-to-be. However, as with each food, there are a few risks associated with consuming cabbage during pregnancy. In this article, we discuss its benefits, and when to avoid it.
Is It Safe to Eat Cabbage During Pregnancy?
It is not only safe to eat cabbage during pregnancy, but also highly recommended by health specialists in a pregnancy diet. However, you should avoid consuming raw cabbage as it is most likely laced with bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. Food-borne illnesses like listeria are very risky since the infection can sicken you and the unborn baby, and it has often resulted in miscarriage, premature delivery, and stillbirth.
If you are consuming patta gobi during pregnancy, make sure that you properly wash, boil, and cook the vegetable before eating it. You may want to avoid items that include raw cabbage, like coleslaw. You can consume cabbage in various forms, thus making it a versatile vegetable.
Nutritional Value of Cabbage
Cabbage is a low calorie, fibre-rich vegetable. This leafy ball is loaded with nutrients which are essential for your body, such as:
- Carbohydrates, protein, fibre, and fat
- Vitamin A, C, K, B6, folic acid, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin
- Potassium and sodium
- Calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus
Health Benefits of Eating Cabbage While Pregnant
The nutrient-rich cabbage provides a lot of health benefits owing to its nutrition content. Some of the health benefits are:
1. Better Digestion
Constipation is a common problem in pregnant women, and cabbage helps in regulating bowel movements on account of its high amount of dietary fibre. If you have gas-related issues, you must avoid consuming large amounts of cabbage.
2. Improves DNA Health
The folic acid in cabbage protects the foetus from neural tube birth defects and facilitates proper replication of DNA.
3. Improves Bone Health
Cabbage is also a rich source of calcium and vitamin K, which make your bones stronger and help make the baby’s bones stronger as well.
4. Regulates Blood Pressure
Electrolytes play a vital role in the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate, and cabbage is loaded with them.
5. Boosts Immunity
As it is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C, cabbage helps improve the immune system.
6. Slows Weight Gain
Since cabbage is low in energy density and rich in nutrients, it plays a key role in maintaining weight. Cabbage can make you feel full, thus reducing your need to consume more calories.
7. Treats Gestational Diabetes
This fibre-rich vegetable aids in the maintenance of blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the risk of developing gestational diabetes, which is quite common during pregnancy.
8. Lowers the Risk of Anaemia
Iron deficiency is a major cause of anaemia. A pregnant woman can benefit from the iron content in cabbage to keep the threat of anaemia away.
10. Treats Swollen legs
Pregnancy oedema is a common condition identified as swelling in certain parts of the body due to a higher volume of blood and fluid. Wrapping cabbage leaves around the swollen area can help relieve the swelling.
11. Helps Relieve Breast Engorgement
Whole cabbage leaves work in a way that is similar to ice packs when it comes to pain relief. Breast engorgement is common during pregnancy, and the soreness that comes with it can be painful. Cabbage plays a role in relieving some of the pain.
What Variety of Cabbage Is Beneficial for Pregnancy?
Purple or red cabbage, although less popular than green, is rich in nutritional value. Although green cabbage is richer in vitamin K, purple cabbage contains comparatively higher amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron. Anthocyanins are present in purple cabbage but absent in the green variety. It is possible to include different types of cabbage in your diet. While buying cabbage in general, look for ones that feel heavier and fuller.
Harmful Effects of Eating Raw Cabbage When Pregnant
Since cabbage is sprayed with pesticides and fungicides, it is prone to be infected with bacteria and other food-borne illnesses. It is best to consume organic cabbage – washing it thoroughly is a must.
Also, it is important not to overeat cabbage if you are vulnerable to gas problems because consuming a large amount of it can increase gas and pain.
When to Avoid Eating Cabbage
Though it is healthy to consume green or red cabbage during pregnancy, some precautions must be taken.
- Always buy fresh cabbage and check for damage.
- Avoid buying pre-cut cabbage as its nutritional value is compromised when it is cut and stored for a long time.
- Do not consume cabbage if you are allergic to it.
- It’s best to limit the consumption of cabbage if you have an underactive thyroid gland.
Things to Remember
For a healthy diet, it’s also crucial to know the dos don’ts.
- Wash, boil, sauté or cook cabbage. Avoid eating it raw during pregnancy.
- Avoid overeating cabbage.
- Buy wisely and make new preparations to keep it interesting.
Considering all the health benefits of cabbage during pregnancy, consume your favourite variety in a safe and healthy way. Consult your doctor for a proper diet, custom-made for your body and for the health of the baby.
Resources and References: WebMD