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Pumpkin is a nutritious yellow-orange coloured vegetable that is widely used for its culinary benefits. Pregnancy requires us to make right choices when it comes to food. So, if you are wondering how to include this wondrous vegetable in your diet in pregnancy and gain maximum benefits out of it, then you are at the right place. In the following article, we shall talk about the benefits and probable risks of consuming pumpkin during pregnancy. We will also share some delectable pumpkin recipes to spice up your routine meals.
Nutritional Value of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are highly nutritious and rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants. They may have fewer calories, but pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, Iron and Zinc. Pumpkin seeds also have immense health benefits for a pregnant woman. These seeds are power-packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. 100 grams of pumpkin has approximately 26 calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.
Health Benefits Of Eating Pumpkin in Pregnancy
If you have a question that whether can we eat pumpkin during pregnancy, the following health benefits support the claim of eating pumpkin in pregnancy:
- A Good Source Of Nutrition: A storehouse of various vital nutrients, pumpkin provides ample nutrition not only to the pregnant woman but it is good for her growing foetus too. It is loaded with proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
- Keeps Your Blood Sugar Level In Control: Pumpkins are very effective in keeping your blood sugar levels in control in pregnancy. Therefore, in order to get maximum benefit from pumpkins, you should consume pumpkins without adding extra sugar.
- Helps In Preventing Diarrhoea: Eczema and diarrhea are some of the common pregnancy ailments. Consuming pumpkins is helpful in removing worms from your spleen and intestine, thus reducing your chances of catching any stomach infection during pregnancy.
- High In Protein: Pumpkins are excellent for you in your pregnancy as they are a rich in protein. They are also high in fiber and helps in keeping constipation at bay.
- Helpful In Abdominal Cramps: Pumpkins work really well in keeping pregnancy cramps in check. You may consume pumpkins in any form to get relief from pregnancy cramps.
Pros Of Eating Pumpkin Seeds in Pregnancy
Following are some health benefits that you may derive by consuming pumpkins seeds in pregnancy:
- Good Source Of Zinc: Zinc is very beneficial for a pregnant woman, and pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc. They not only help in keeping your mood swings in check, but they also help in strengthening your immune system.
- Keeps Your Heart Healthy: Pumpkin seeds are very effective for your heart health. They help your heart to pump blood properly. Apart from this, they are also beneficial for the formation of your baby’s bones and teeth.
- Helps You To Sleep Better: Pregnancy may cause disrupted sleep. Consuming pumpkin seeds few hours before bedtime may help you to sleep better. Tryptophan, an amino acid in pumpkin seeds gets converted into melatonin, a sleep hormone in your body and thus helps in better sleep.
- Prevents Diabetes: Pumpkin seeds are great for keeping insulin levels of the body in control and thus helps in preventing diabetes in pregnancy. If you have diabetes or you are at high risk of having diabetes, consuming pumpkins may help.
- Healthy Source Of Fats: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. These help in foetal brain development.
Side-Effects of Taking Pumpkin while Pregnant
Pumpkin has immense health benefits for a pregnant woman. However, if it is consumed in large quantities, it may lead to stomach discomfort or stomach ache because of high amounts of fibre. Consuming pumpkins may cause an allergic reaction which may include shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting or abdominal cramps, though there is not enough scientific proof supporting such reactions in pregnant women. Therefore, it is suggested to consume moderate amounts of pumpkin to avoid probable health complications in pregnancy.
Quick Pumpkin Recipes for Pregnant Women
Here are some easy and sumptuous pumpkin recipes that you may try:
1. Pumpkin and Lentil Soup Recipe:
For those who want to keep things simple
What You Need–
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2-3 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 chopped, medium-sized onions
- 1 small pumpkin (approximately 700-800 grams), without the skin and seeds
- 1 cup or 100 grams split red lentils
- 2-3 tbsp thyme
- A jug or 1 litre of vegetable stock
- Salt to taste, a pinch of sugar
- Half cup fresh cream
How To Make-
- Heat oil in the pan. Add onions and fry till golden brown. Add garlic, thyme, pumpkin flesh and lentils and stir well. Now add vegetable stock and cook with the lid for approximately 20-25 minutes or till the content of the pan turns tender.
- Churn this pumpkin mix in the mixture. Add some cream and blend again.
- Garnish this soup with some thyme and fresh cream.
2. Sage And Pumpkin Spaghetti Recipe:
For those who want an Italian experience
What You Need
- 700-800 grams pumpkin flesh
- 15-20 chopped sage leaves
- 100 grams butter
- 300-400 dried spaghetti
- Juice of a lemon
- 1 tsp castor sugar (golden)
- 50 grams grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
How To Make
- Place pumpkin with sugar and salt in the pan. Add few spoons of water and cover with the lid. Cook until the pumpkin is soft but holds its shape.
- Put butter and sage in a pan. One it starts sizzling, add lemon juice, pumpkin and parmesan.
- Add spaghetti and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spicy Pumpkin Seeds Recipe:
For those who want some spice in life.
What You Need
- 1 ½ cups raw pumpkin seeds
- 2-3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- A pinch of garlic salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt to taste
How To Make
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C.
- Mix all the ingredients well and place them well in a shallow baking dish.
- Bake for an hour or till done.
Eating pumpkins during pregnancy is a good way of getting nutrition. However, it is recommended to consult your doctor before adding pumpkin to your pregnancy diet.