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A good diet of fresh vegetables can make a great difference to your body, especially during pregnancy. With the number of changes your body is going through, it is important that you provide it with enough nutrition to sustain and accommodate these changes. Vegetables like okra can be ideal for your pregnancy diet. Let’s find out about all about okra, or lady’s finger, benefits during pregnancy.
Nutritional Value of Lady’s Finger
Okra stores a lot of nutritional components in its tiny frame. Here is a chart with the nutritional value of the vegetable:
|Nutritional component||Value per 100 grams|
|Vitamin A||11.52 mg|
|Vitamin B9 or Folate||63.68 g|
|Vitamin C||22.51 mg|
Health Benefits of Okra During Pregnancy
Okra extends several benefits to pregnant women. It is a low-calorie vegetable, and is rich in folate and riboflavin, which are essential for the healthy development of the baby. Some of the benefits of eating okra during pregnancy are:
1. Packed with Vitamin C
Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron in the body, which promotes your baby’s growth. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C also prevents cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. It further promotes immunity and the development of skin, capillaries, and bones in your baby.
2. Rich in Folate
Okra is a good source of folate: folic acid can help prevent the risk of birth defects in babies. Consuming okra is especially recommended between the 4th and the 12th weeks of pregnancy, as this is when the neural tubes in your baby develop. Folic acid in okra aids this development.
3. Good Source of Antioxidants
Okra has an abundance of antioxidants which can build your baby’s immune system, promote foetal growth, and lower the risk of ailments and cardiovascular diseases or diabetes in the baby.
4. Packed with Fibre
A rich combination of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre makes okra an excellent choice to prevent constipation during pregnancy. The soluble fibre reduces the risk of diabetes, and even cuts down cholesterol in the blood.
5. Promotes Good Sleep
Essential amino acids like tryptophan are present in okra, along with oils and proteins that are known to improve mental well-being, and aid in getting quality sleep.
Apart from these benefits, okra can also remove toxins from your body, as the mucus and the fibre in okra stabilise the glucose in the blood. Pregnant women can also consume okra to maintain their skin and hair, especially if they are affected by rashes and hair fall.
How to Include Okra in Your Pregnancy Diet
With this multitude of benefits, adding bhindi in your pregnancy diet is something on which you shouldn’t miss out. Here are some tips on how to add okra to your diet, and some precautions you need to follow while doing so:
- Ensure that you wash the okra thoroughly with water before cutting or cooking it. This helps prevent any risk of infection.
- Try to cook okra on low heat to prevent losing out on essential nutrients.
- You can try a simple recipe: clean the okra, slit into vertical halves, coat them in gram flour, and fry them. This can serve as a delicious finger food.
- You can also coat the sliced okra with egg and breadcrumbs, and fry it.
- You can also make okra soup or curry, as per your liking.
Okra is a wonder food that has no harmful side effects to your body during pregnancy. You can consume it every day to improve the health of both you and your baby. However, if you notice any allergic reactions to the vegetable, or feel any physical discomfort after eating it, it is recommended that you consult a doctor to rule out any serious issues.