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Spinach is a nutritious vegetable that’s packed with nutrients. When you’re pregnant, your body requires an ample amount of the right nutrients for growth and development of the foetus. If you’re wondering whether you can or cannot eat spinach during pregnancy, then here’s everything you must know.
Nutritional Facts of Spinach
Here’s what you get when you get in a single serving of spinach (100 grams)
|Nutrient||Value Per 100 grams|
|Folic Acid||194 mcg|
Besides the above nutrients, spinach is loaded with different vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, vitamin C, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and magnesium – thus playing a major role in the growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy.
Amazing Benefits of Spinach During Pregnancy
Want to be amazed about the humble spinach? Popeye always ate it for a reason and here’s what it brings to pregnant mothers –
1. Folic Acid
Folic acid is needed for the growth and development of the baby in the womb. It contributes towards spinal and cognitive development and prevents miscarriages. You also increase your red blood cell production and prevent conditions like anaemia due to spinach’s rich iron content.
2. Improves Mood
You prevent any cognitive disorders from occurring in the foetus too and foster the proper development of the brain tissues in the foetus.
That vitamin B in Spinach ain’t there for no reason! If you’ve been experiencing the morning or afternoon blues too much, consider throwing in some spinach to your diet. Your brain and body will thank you. Eating spinach beats depression, reduces stress and anxiety. Spinach juice in pregnancy, anyone?
3. Bones and Teeth
Calcium is an important mineral that’s required for proper growth and development of the bones and teeth; You get approximately 99mg of calcium in a 100g serving of spinach. Besides bone development, calcium is needed for preventing blood clots in the arteries and is responsible for improving nerve/muscle functions too.
4. Vitamin E
Sufficient Vitamin E intake is remarkably linked with the prevention of wheezing and asthma. From balancing hormones to preventing PMS symptoms and fighting against free radical damage, Vitamin E improves your vision and balances cholesterol levels in your body. Where do you get if from? Cooked spinach during pregnancy is your answer.
5. Promotes Lung Development
Spinach is rich in Vitamin A which promotes proper development of your baby’s lungs. Besides this, it boosts your metabolism too and prevents the development of low birth-weights. Here’s a huge bonus – Spinach also prevents age-related macular degeneration and diabetes in children and adults alike, a definite win-win for nutrition.
6. Provides Pain Relief
Spinach contains anti-inflammatory compounds known as ‘glycolipid’ which provides relief from pains and aches in the body. Pregnancy pains are some of the woes of mothers and spinach provides a certain degree of relief for them.
7. Boosts Immunity
Your immune system will stay compromised during pregnancy, and your fetus will require extra protection against various infections. Luckily, spinach contains ample amounts of vitamin C which are known to raise immunity and ward off diseases. Say goodbye to common colds and frequent ailments by adding serving of spinach a day to your pregnancy diet. Your digestion will improve too with the intake of spinach in your daily diet.
8. Regulates / Lowers Blood Pressure Levels
The nitrates in spinach are known for regulating blood pressure levels in the body. Blood pressure maintenance becomes a matter of life and death during pregnancies for both you and the baby and spinach helps you regulate it and prevents high spikes. The high potassium content in spinach lowers blood pressure while the sodium raises in.
9. Vitamins B1 and B2
We’ve talked about how Spinach contains the different Vitamin Bs. Out of these, Vitamin B1 and B2 intake are the most critical since they play a major role in the development of vision and nervous system in the fetus. Lack of Vitamin B1 leads to a condition termed as ‘peripheral neuritis’ while vitamin B2 is crucial for the development of reproductive tissues and organs inside the body.
Spinach contains protein too. Protein is required for repairing cells, producing amino acids in the body and for maintaining good skin, muscle and bone health. You get this from spinach. Period.
Side Effects of Eating Spinach in Pregnancy
Although we’ve been touting the amazing benefits spinach for a while, there are certain downsides to consuming it during pregnancy. No vegetable is perfect, the same stands true for spinach and here’s what you need to know about its cons-
1. Interferes with Mineral Absorption
Spinach is high in oxalic acid, a compound that binds with other minerals such as zinc, calcium and magnesium, thus interfering with the absorption process when consumed too much. Eating too much spinach can lead to mineral deficiencies in the body this way. More mineral deficiencies equate to stunted growth and development.
2. Causes Constipation and Bloating
Spinach is high in dietary fibre, and our body takes time getting accustomed to the high fibre intake. If your stomach is not used to eating too much spinach, you may experience constipation, gas formation in your digestive system, bloating and abdominal cramps, thus making your pregnancy trimesters more uncomfortable.
Taking in too many high-fibre based foods, such as spinach, may put your digestive system under distress which leads to loose motions or frequent bowel movements – in short, diarrhoea. Fever and abdominal pain may also accompany your bouts of diarrhoea when spinach is consumed in excess. Talk about taking so many trips to the bathroom, huh?
4. Leads To The Formation of Kidney Stones
Spinach contains too much of ‘purines’ which is a certain group of compounds that get converted to uric acid inside our body when ingested too much. Too much of uric acid precipitates the calcium in our gout and leads to the development of kidney stones. Besides this, there is plenty of oxalic acid in spinach too which causes calcium oxalate precipitation. If you don’t want to form small to mid-sized kidney stones in your body, eat spinach in moderation and don’t aim for too much.
Although spinach isn’t your ultimate vegetable for all pregnancy ailments, it can lend a helping hand and add a nutritious boost to your diet when added. If you’re considering adding spinach during pregnancy and you are on many medications, talk to your paediatrician regarding how much spinach you are allowed to eat. Add a little bit of it, and you’ll slowly notice its benefits showing up by improving your health and overall well-being throughout your trimesters, thus preparing you for labour and making the transition to motherhood a little bit easier (and pain-free!)
Also Read: Eating Lady Finger while Pregnant