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Spinach is a leafy green vegetable and is considered very healthy. It is very nutritious as it is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Eating spinach may help prevent cancer, lower blood pressure levels, and improve eye health. This leafy vegetable can benefit the health of a pregnant woman greatly. If you are pregnant, you know it well that you need to consume everything healthy there is for your baby’s healthy growth and development. Spinach is one such vegetable that can provide you with enough and more nutrients required during pregnancy. Read this article to find out how spinach can benefit your health during pregnancy.
Nutritional Facts of Spinach
A single serving of spinach (100 grams) will provide you with the following nutrients.
|Nutrient||Value Per 100 grams|
|Folic Acid||194 mcg|
Apart from these nutrients, spinach is also loaded with different Vitamins such as Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and magnesium – thus playing a major role in the growth and development of the foetus during pregnancy.
Benefits of Consuming Spinach During Pregnancy
Spinach is very healthy and can offer many nutrients. Find out why you should include it in your diet during pregnancy.
1. Helps in the Cognitive Development of the Baby
Spinach is a rich source of folic acid (also known as folate or Vitamin B9), which is essential for a pregnant woman as it prevents miscarriages. It contributes towards spinal and cognitive development of the foetus. Being a rich source of iron, spinach also helps in the production of red blood cells, thus lowering the risk of anaemia, which is a common problem during pregnancy.
2. Helps Improve Mood
The presence of Vitamin B in spinach can help improve your mood during pregnancy. If you experience morning or afternoon blues too much, consider adding some spinach in your diet. Your brain and body will thank you! Eating spinach can help prevent depression and lower stress and anxiety.
3. Helps in the Growth of Bones and Teeth
Calcium is an important mineral for bone health and for the proper growth of the teeth. You get approximately 99 mg of calcium in a 100 gm serving of spinach. Besides bone development, calcium also helps in preventing blood clots in the arteries and is responsible for improving nerve/muscle functions too.
4. Helps Balance Cholesterol Levels
Vitamin E can help fight free radical damage, improve your vision, and balance cholesterol levels in your body during pregnancy. You can eat cooked spinach during pregnancy to get optimum Vitamin E.
5. Promotes Lung Development
Spinach is rich in Vitamin A which promotes proper development of the baby’s lungs. Besides this, it also boosts metabolism too. Eating spinach can also prevent age-related macular degeneration and diabetes in children and adults alike.
6. Provides Relief From Pain
Spinach contains anti-inflammatory compounds known as ‘glycolipid’ which provides relief from pain during pregnancy. As a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy, you might feel fatigued and experience body pain. But by eating spinach, you can get relief to a great extent.
7. Boosts Immunity
During pregnancy, your immune system will be weak but the little one growing in your womb will require extra protection against various infections. Luckily, spinach contains ample amounts of vitamin C which is known to strengthen the immune system and ward off diseases. By eating spinach during pregnancy, you can also say goodbye to the common cold and frequent ailments. Spinach will also aid digestion!
8. Regulates Blood Pressure Levels
The nitrate in spinach is known for regulating blood pressure levels in the body. High blood pressure is a common problem during pregnancy, but by including spinach in your pregnancy diet, you can control your blood pressure levels. The high potassium content in spinach helps blood pressure and brings it to normal levels.
9. Helps Improve Vision
Spinach is a rich source of Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2. Both these vitamins play a major role in the development of vision and the nervous system of the foetus. A lack of Vitamin B1 in your pregnancy diet can lead to a condition termed as ‘peripheral neuropathy’. Vitamin B2 helps in the development of reproductive tissues and organs inside the body. So include spinach in your diet and get enough of B vitamins.
10. Gives Glowing Skin
Spinach is a good source of protein too. Protein is required for repairing cells, producing amino acids in the body, and for maintaining good skin, muscle and bone health. And spinach can meet your protein requirements. So what are you waiting for? Include this leafy green vegetable in your diet and stay healthy!
Side Effects of Eating Spinach During Pregnancy
Spinach is very healthy and can be included in the pregnancy diet, it can lead to certain side effects. If you consume too much, it can lead to the following side effects.
1. Interferes With Mineral Absorption
Spinach is high in oxalic acid, a compound that binds 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, which can result in stunted growth and development of the baby.
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 too much spinach, you may experience constipation, gas formation in your digestive system, bloating and abdominal cramps, thus making your pregnancy even more uncomfortable.
3. May Lead to Diarrhoea
Yes, if you include too much spinach in your diet, you can either suffer from constipation or diarrhoea. Taking in too many high-fibre based foods, such as spinach, may put your digestive system under distress which may cause loose motion or frequent bowel movements – in short, diarrhoea. Fever and abdominal pain may also accompany bouts of diarrhoea when spinach is consumed in excess.
4. May Cause 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. To prevent the formation of kidney stones in your body, do consume spinach in moderation.
1. How Much Spinach Should You Include in Your Pregnancy Diet?
While pregnant, you can include half a cup of spinach in your pregnancy diet. Make sure you keep the amount limited as too much of spinach can lead to complications during pregnancy.
2. Can I Have Spinach Salad During Pregnancy?
Yes, you can have spinach salad during pregnancy as long as you make sure that the spinach leaves you are using are fresh and do not have marks or holes in them. Also, before you add spinach leaves to your salad wash them properly and eat the salad fresh.
Although spinach isn’t your ultimate vegetable for all pregnancy ailments, it can provide you with enough and more nutrients that you will need during pregnancy. If you are 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.
Also Read: Eating Lady Finger while Pregnant