Consuming Drumstick (Shajan) During Pregnancy
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A pregnant woman needs to eat healthy foods to ensure that she gets all the nutrients necessary for the healthy growth and development of her baby. Her diet should include fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. Today, we will talk about one vegetable which is considered very healthy and can be beneficial for a pregnant woman. This vegetable is drumstick. Read on to know about the health benefits of drumstick during pregnancy.
What Is a Drumstick?
A drumstick is a long, slender, and fleshy seed pod that grows on the Moringa Oleifera tree. The Moringa Oleifera or drumstick tree is native to north-western India. It is cultivated widely in tropical regions where its seeds, leaves, and young seed pods are used as vegetables. The drumstick is not only used as a vegetable because of the nutrients it offers, but also used for water purification, hand washing, and in herbal medicines.
Is it Safe to Eat Drumstick During Pregnancy?
It is completely safe to eat drumstick during pregnancy. But you must wash it thoroughly to get rid of the dirt and germs before consumption. Like any other nutritive food, it should be consumed in moderation. The leaves, seedpods, and seeds of the drumstick are all edible and full of nutrition.
Nutritional Value of Drumstick
Drumstick contains several nutrients that are beneficial for a pregnant woman’s health and her baby’s health. The leaves of the drumstick are healthy too. Just a hundred grams of drumstick leaves contain high amounts of dietary fibre, carbohydrates, and protein. They also contain 10% of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of folate, calcium (19% of RDA), iron (31% of RDA) and smaller amounts of other essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. The drumstick leaves also contain vitamin A (47% of RDA), vitamin B1 or thiamine (22% of RDA), vitamin B2 or riboflavin (55% of RDA), vitamin B6 (92% of RDA), and vitamins B3, B5, and C.
The long, tender, and fleshy seed pods that give the tree its name are mainly consumed in South Asia. They are cooked by parboiling until soft and added to curries. They contain Vitamin C and are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fibre, magnesium, and manganese.
The seeds of the drumstick can be removed and roasted like nuts or even consumed like peas. They contain Vitamin C and fair amounts of minerals and Vitamin B.
Health Benefits of Consuming Drumstick While Pregnant
Drumsticks are packed with several vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for our body. Eating drumstick during pregnancy has several benefits for both the to-be-mom and the growing baby in her womb. Here’s how eating drumstick during pregnancy can help you.
1. Lowers Morning Sickness
Eating drumstick during pregnancy can help with the symptoms of morning sickness. It can help combat fatigue and lower nausea and dizziness caused by morning sickness. Regular consumption of drumstick can make a pregnant woman feel active and refreshed.
2. May Help Prevent Birth Defects
Drumstick leaves contain folate, which is an essential vitamin for the formation of the baby’s neural tube, which goes on to form the brain and spinal column. Deficiency of folate during pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida which can cause serious health problems in the baby. But by consuming foods that are high in folate such as drumstick, can help prevent birth defects during pregnancy.
3. May Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Drumstick is very effective in regulating blood sugar. Eating drumstick regularly can help you maintain your blood sugar levels and prevent complications like gestational diabetes.
4. May Improve Bone Health
Drumstick contains high levels of calcium, iron, and minerals that help in the formation of strong bones and in maintaining good bone health.
5. May Help Prevent Anaemia
Anaemia, especially iron-deficiency anaemia, is a common problem during pregnancy. Iron-deficiency is common during pregnancy but eating drumstick during this time can boost haemoglobin in the blood and thus prevents anaemia.
6. May Prevent Infections
Drumstick has powerful antimicrobial properties and it helps thwart infections and strengthen the immune system of a pregnant woman.
7. May Provide Relief From Constipation
Most women complain of constipation during pregnancy. If you feel constipated, it is suggested that you include drumstick in your diet. Drumstick contains high amounts of dietary fibre that helps soften the stools and thus relieve constipation.
8. May Provide Relief From an Upset Stomach
Drumstick has medicinal properties that can help soothe or cure stomach upsets in expectant women. Drumstick leaves with tender coconut water are given to alleviate the symptoms of dysentery, cholera, diarrhoea, etc.
9. May Help in Childbirth
Drumstick can improve uterine contractions and lower labour pain, thus helping in childbirth and reducing pre-and-post-delivery complications.
10. Lowers Respiratory Problems
A bowl of warm drumstick leaves soup can help clear congestion and soothe a sore throat and cough. Drumstick is used as a natural preventive for respiratory problems like bronchitis and asthma.
Side Effects of Consuming Drumstick
Although drumstick is full of nutrition and is very beneficial for pregnant women, there are some parts of the drumstick tree which can lead to side effects. Furthermore, over-consumption can lead to complications in the body.
- The bark and roots of drumstick contain toxic chemicals that can lead to a miscarriage. Hence, they should not be consumed by any chance. The roots contain a chemical that can even cause paralysis.
- The moringa flowers are also not safe for consumption by pregnant women and breastfeeding moms as they can contain toxic chemicals.
Hence, one must wash all the vegetables thoroughly before consuming them during pregnancy or otherwise.
How to Add Drumstick to Your Pregnancy Diet
If you want to include drumstick in your pregnancy diet, here are some ways you can try. But make sure you speak to your doctor and nutritionist before including drumstick in your diet –
- You can use the leaves in soup.
- Drumstick leaves and seeds can be dried and ground into a powder that can be sprinkled onto salads or mixed with rice.
- Drumstick seed pods are usually parboiled and can be added to‘sambhar along with other vegetables.
- You can cook the leaves of drumstick just like spinach leaves to make a tasty side-dish.
Tips to Buy the Right Drumstick
While buying drumstick, here is what you should look for –
- The seed pods should be tender, bright green, and should bend slightly. If they are rigid, have big bumps on them and are faded in colour, it means the drumsticks are not fresh.
- The leaves should be fresh and dark green in colour.
- Pick drumstick bundle that has smooth skin. Rough skin means that it is old and may taste bitter.
How to Store Drumstick
Drumsticks should be stored in the fridge wrapped in cling film. It is best to consume them within 2 to 3 days of buying. Leaves should be de-stemmed and washed thoroughly before use. They can be stored in an airtight box for 1 to 2 days in the fridge.
The benefits of consuming drumstick during pregnancy are numerous. Regular consumption of drumstick in moderate amounts can be very good for your health. However, it is suggested that you check with your gynaecologist and nutritionist before you include drumsticks in your diet.
Also Read: Healthy Indian Diet During Pregnancy