Consuming Drumstick (Shajan) During Pregnancy
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A healthy diet is synonymous with a diet including colourful fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meat, fish, and dairy for the baby’s healthy growth and development. During pregnancy, women may get weird cravings from eating sour foods to having junk foods. While junk food is no good, having a healthy alternative, like soups of different nutrient-rich vegetables like drumsticks, is good. Drumstick, along with its leaves (moringa), comes with loads of benefits for the mother and the baby. Yes, it is a powerhouse of energy and wards off infections. But is it safe to consume drumsticks during pregnancy? Let’s find out.
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 is 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 antioxidants, dietary fibre, carbohydrates, and protein.
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.
Below is the nutritional value of 100 grams of raw drumstick pods.
|Nutrient||Value (Per 100 Grams)|
|Vitamin C||141 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin A||74 IU|
Health Benefits of Consuming Drumsticks While Pregnant
Drumsticks are packed with several vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for our body. Eating drumsticks during pregnancy has several benefits for both the to-be-mom and the growing baby in her womb. Here’s how eating drumsticks during pregnancy can help you.
1. Lowers Morning Sickness
Eating drumsticks 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 drumsticks can make a pregnant woman feel active and refreshed.
2. Prevents Birth Defects
Drumstick leaves contain folate, an essential vitamin for the formation of the baby’s neural tube, which forms the brain and spinal column. The deficiency of folate during pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida, which can cause serious health problems in the baby. Consuming foods that are high in folate, such as drumsticks, can help prevent birth defects during pregnancy.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Drumstick is very effective in regulating blood sugar. Eating drumsticks regularly can help you maintain your blood sugar levels and prevent complications like gestational diabetes.
4. Improves Bone Health
Drumstick contains high levels of calcium, iron, and minerals that help form strong bones and maintain good bone health.
5. Prevents Anaemia
Anaemia, especially iron-deficiency anaemia, is a common problem during pregnancy. Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy, but eating drumsticks during this time can boost haemoglobin in the blood and thus prevents anaemia.
6. Prevents Infections
Drumstick has powerful antimicrobial properties, and it helps thwart infections and strengthen the immune system of a pregnant woman.
7. Provides Relief From Constipation
Most women complain of constipation during pregnancy. If you feel constipated, it is suggested that you include drumsticks in your diet. Drumstick contains high amounts of dietary fibre that helps soften the stools and thus relieve constipation.
8. Provides 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. Helps 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
11. Boosts Immunity
Drumstick pods and leaves are a rich source of essential nutrients that help boost immunity. While pregnant, Vitamin A proves to be a potent antioxidant that dissolves in fat, safeguarding cells and tissues against harm, promoting mucous membrane healing, and boosting immunity.
12. Provides Good Skin Health
Drumstick is a tonic for people who love skincare. It boosts skin health, promoting blemish-free, clear skin.
13. Betters Vision
Drumsticks are helpful in clearing and enhancing vision.
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. More importantly, it is advised to avoid moringa or drumstick in early pregnancy.
- The bark and roots of drumsticks 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 unsafe for consumption by pregnant women and breastfeeding moms as they can contain toxic chemicals.
- Though drumstick pods help with relieving constipation, excess consumption can cause loose stools, as it has a natural laxative compound.
- Similarly, if consumed in excess, there could be a decrease in white blood cells.
- Many women may experience nausea or vomiting as the taste of the drumstick may not suit every pregnant woman, irrespective what trimester it is, whether it is the 1st trimester or the 2nd trimester.
- If consumed on a large scale, it can cause uterine contractions, which could lead to miscarriage.
Hence, one must thoroughly wash all the vegetables before consuming them during pregnancy.
How to Add Drumstick to Your Pregnancy Diet?
If you want to include drumsticks in your pregnancy diet, here are some ways you can try. But make sure you speak to your doctor and nutritionist before including drumsticks 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 drumsticks just like spinach leaves to make a tasty side dish.
Tips to Buy the Right Drumstick
While buying drumsticks, 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 a 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 and 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. In the fridge, they can be stored in an airtight box for 1 to 2 days.
1. Can Consuming Drumstick In Pregnancy Cause Gas?
It is safe to eat drumsticks during pregnancy. However, its excessive could lead to the formation of gas and loose stools as it has natural laxative properties. Therefore, if you already have an issue of heartburn, consuming durmstick during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy should be in moderation.
2. Can You Have Moringa Powder While Pregnant?
Moringa powder also contains the bark of the drumstick tree, which is not so ideal for pregnant women as it could lower blood pressure and cause uterine contractions. It is best to consume fresh drumstick pods and leaves instead. You can also use moringa leaves in the fresh or dried form as the best part of it is that the leaves in either state do not lose their nutritional value.
The benefits of consuming drumsticks during pregnancy are numerous. Regular consumption of drumsticks 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.
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