Eating Potatoes During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
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Any food that you consume during pregnancy affects not only your health but also that of your baby’s. Potato is a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and other essential nutrients for a pregnant woman. You should have it in moderation to avoid any potential ill-effects of overconsumption.
Benefits of Eating Potato During Pregnancy
Potato is filled with nutrients that your body requires during pregnancy; hence if you are craving potatoes during pregnancy, you are free to have some. However, it’s best to consult your doctor or nutritionist before consuming it. Here are some of the benefits of potatoes:
1. Reduces Acidity
Potatoes are highly beneficial for those with digestive or acidity issues. A serving of mashed potatoes can help reduce gastric acidity. These are also easier to eat and are easy to digest.
2. Rich in Vitamins B and C
The vitamins in potatoes assist in healing wounds and boost immunity. They also help in the absorption of iron from other foods.
3. Good Source of Folate
Folic acid is significant in the development of the fetal brain and nervous system. Having folate-rich food in the early stages of pregnancy reduces your chances of having a miscarriage.
4. High in Energy
Potatoes are full of carbohydrates and act as a good source of energy for pregnant women. However, it is vital to exercise and stay active to prevent excessive weight gain from potatoes and other starchy carbohydrate-rich foods.
5. Treats Puffy Eyes
Potatoes can help treat the bags under eyes, which are common during pregnancy. Placing some grated raw potato on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes gives a cooling effect and relieves the swelling.
6. Reduces Cardiovascular Disease
The skin of potatoes contains large amounts of potassium, that is known to reduce heart strokes and hypertension as it reduces Blood pressure.
Harmful Effects of Consuming Potatoes While Pregnant
During pregnancy, you need to take care of your eating habits and ensure that you consume healthy food. Although potato is rich in nutrients, it also poses some risks to your health, and some of these risks are listed below:
- Potatoes with green spots indicate the presence of toxic compounds like glycoalkaloids, alpha-solanine, and alpha-chaconine, which can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea and vomiting.
- Eating green potatoes can lead to congenital disabilities like spina bifida and anencephaly.
- Consuming rotten potato may cause food poisoning in expectant mothers.
- Overweight women consuming an excessive amount of potatoes during pregnancy are more prone to becoming obese.
Cooking Methods You Should Avoid
Eating potato chips during pregnancy is not recommended, as it is fried and unhealthy for you. It may trigger gestational diabetes or may lead to unhealthy weight gain. Hence during pregnancy, you should avoid cooking methods like deep frying, baking potatoes with butter or cheese. Instead of frying and baking, boil or steam potatoes and add herbs to enhance the flavour.
Does Frequent Potato Consumption Raise the Risk of Gestational Diabetes?
Potatoes have large amounts of starch, which get rapidly absorbed by the body. This can affect glucose metabolism, thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes. Hence, it is likely that overconsumption of potatoes can lead to a risk of developing gestational diabetes.
How to Choose the Right Potatoes
One needs to be careful when buying potatoes. There are certain things to consider when choosing your potatoes, to avoid their ill-effects. The potatoes that you pick should be:
- Firm and well-shaped
- Having no sprouts
- Having no cuts
- Free from black or green spots
- Thoroughly washed before cooking
Healthy Ways to Include Potatoes in Your Diet
Potatoes are beneficial for pregnant women when taken in moderate amounts and cooked properly. Some of the healthy options to cook potato are:
- Baked potato (without cheese)
- Cooked in combination with other vegetables or meat
- Mashed potato with vegetables and spices
- Steamed potato
Potato Recipes You Can Try
From the above-listed ideas, here are some of the recipes you can try with potatoes:
1. Potato and Onion Soup
Here’s a healthy appetiser to satiate your pregnancy hunger pangs.
- Finely diced potatoes – 1 cup
- Dried mixed herbs – ½ cup
- Thinly sliced onions – ¼ cup
- Butter – 1 tsp
- Salt and ground pepper (to taste)
- Grated carrot (to garnish)
- Put onions and butter in a pressure cooker and saute them on a medium flame for a minute.
- Add potatoes and saute for 2 minutes.
- Pour one and a half cups of water, mix well and pressure cook for up to 3 whistles.
- Once the mixture cools off, blend it into a smooth puree.
- Transfer the mixture to a pan and add dried herbs, pepper, salt and half cup water.
- Stir and cook on a medium flame.
- Garnish with the grated carrot. Your soup is ready to be served.
2. Potato Salad
This easy and delicious recipe is quick to make and will be enjoyed by everyone.
- Cooked and diced potatoes – 8 medium-sized
- Apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Sugar – 2 tbsp
- Mayonnaise – 1 ½ cup
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Yellow mustard – 1 tbsp
- Pepper – ½ tsp
- Garlic powder – 1 tsp
- Blended onion – 1 cup
- 2 celery ribs sliced
- Paprika – a pinch
- Boiled eggs – 5
- Dice the boiled potatoes and put them in a bowl.
- Mix vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, salt, mustard, pepper, and garlic powder in another bowl.
- Add this mixture to the potatoes.
- Add onions and celery to this combined mixture.
- Slice the boiled eggs and add them to the bowl.
- Top the salad with paprika and serve.
Potatoes are full of healthy nutrients for a pregnant woman and should not be excluded from the pregnancy diet. Potatoes are healthy for the overall growth and development of the foetus, and hence should be consumed in moderation and in a healthy way. Also, it is best to avoid fried potatoes and avoid overeating, as it can lead to problems like obesity, gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy complications.