Eating Pumpkin During Pregnancy
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- Nutritional Value of Pumpkins
- Is It Safe to Eat Pumpkin While Pregnant?
- How Much Pumpkin Can You Eat While Pregnant?
- Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkins During Pregnancy
- Benefits of Eating Pumpkin Seeds During Pregnancy
- Side Effects of Eating Pumpkins While Pregnant
- How to Include Pumpkins in Your Pregnancy Diet?
- Pumpkin Recipes You Can Try During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a delicate time, and maintaining a healthy diet during this time is of prime importance. If you are pregnant, your body will require additional nutrients (vitamins and minerals included) for the proper growth of your baby. If you’re a healthy eater, you won’t have to make big changes in your daily diet (except for including supplements and a list of foods suggested by your gynaecologist.), but that won’t stop you from questioning whether or not everything that you eat is safe. In this article, we will talk about one particular fruit – pumpkin – we will tell you whether or not you can eat them during pregnancy.
Pumpkins are one of the most nutritious fruits out there. Yes, pumpkin is a fruit, at least scientifically, as it contains seeds. However, the nutritional profile of pumpkins is more similar to veggies than fruit. But the question is if they are safe for consumption by a pregnant woman. Let’s find out!
Nutritional Value of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are highly nutritious and a great source of essential Vitamins, like Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C and minerals like iron and zinc. They are packed with antioxidants too. Pumpkin seeds also offer immense health benefits to a pregnant woman. Let’s take a look at it’s nutritional value:
|Energy||49 kilo calories|
|Dietary Fibre||2.7 grams|
|Vitamin A REA (retinol activity equivalents)||706 micrograms|
|Vitamin C||11.5 milligrams|
Is It Safe to Eat Pumpkin While Pregnant?
Pumpkin is highly nutritious and loaded with health benefits for pregnant women. Therefore, you can easily make pumpkin a part of your pregnancy diet.
How Much Pumpkin Can You Eat While Pregnant?
Pumpkin makes for an excellent addition to your pregnancy diet, but over-consumption of the same could cause side effects on the pregnancy too. Therefore, you must check the quantity of pumpkin that is safe for you with your doctor.
Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkins During Pregnancy
As mentioned above, pumpkin offers various nutrients, so you can incorporate this fruit in your pregnancy diet. A storehouse of various vital nutrients, pumpkin provides ample nutrition not only to you but also to your baby. It is loaded with proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Some of the benefits are mentioned below:
1. Helps Keep Blood Sugar Levels in Check
Pumpkins are very effective in keeping your blood sugar levels during pregnancy. But in order to reap maximum benefit from pumpkins, you should eat them plain, i.e., without adding extra sugar.
2. Keeps Constipation at Bay
Many women complain of constipation during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may hamper with your digestive system and you may experience constipation. To treat this problem, eat pumpkins. As pumpkins are an excellent source of protein and fibre, eating this fruit will ensure that your digestive system works fine and thus you won’t feel constipated.
3. Helps With 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.
4. Aids in the Prevention of Diarrhoea
Stomach disorders like diarrhoea are quite common during pregnancy. Eating pumpkin can lower your chances of diarrhoea and eczema besides removing worms from your intestine and cleaning your spleen, which decreases the chances of stomach infection when pregnant.
5. Helps to Improve Immunity
Pumpkin is rich in zinc, which supports metabolism and immunity in pregnant women. Pumpkin also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, which helps to speed up the recovery process from common infections like colds during pregnancy.
Benefits of Eating Pumpkin Seeds During Pregnancy
Just like pumpkin, pumpkin seeds too offer various health benefits. Read on to know what health benefits you may derive by consuming pumpkins seeds in pregnancy.
1. Helps Keep Mood Swings in Check
Zinc is very beneficial for a pregnant woman, and pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc. Eating pumpkin seeds will help keep your mood swings in check and even help strengthen your immune system.
2. May Keep Your Heart Healthy
Eating pumpkin seeds can be very good for your heart. Including them in your pregnancy diet will help your heart to pump blood properly. Apart from this, they will also help in the formation of your baby’s bones and teeth.
3. May Help You Sleep Better
If you have trouble sleeping during pregnancy, eat pumpkin seeds. Eating a few pumpkin seeds before bedtime may help you sleep better. Tryptophan, an amino acid in pumpkin seeds gets converted into melatonin, a sleep hormone, and thus helps a person sleep better. So try this trick if you have trouble falling asleep at night.
4. Helps Control Gestational Diabetes
Pumpkin seeds are great for keeping insulin levels of the body in control and thus controlling gestational diabetes in pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes – eating pumpkin seeds may help control it.
5. Helps in the Brain Development of the Foetus
6. A Good Source of Nutrition
Pumpkin contains a variety of essential nutrients that are rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, iron, calcium, niacin and phosphorus. These help in the overall health of the mother and baby.
Side Effects of Eating Pumpkins While Pregnant
Eating pumpkins while pregnant can benefit your health greatly, no doubt, but as with any other fruit or vegetable, consuming them in large quantities may lead to some complications. The side effects of pumpkin seeds during pregnancy include stomach aches because of the high fibre content in them. Sometimes, pumpkins may also cause an allergic reaction which may lead to 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 include this fruit in your diet in moderate amounts and avoid probable health complications in pregnancy.
How to Include Pumpkins in Your Pregnancy Diet?
You can simply steam, boil or roast pumpkin and enjoy its nutritional value. You can even use it in soups or purees. Roasted pumpkin seeds also make for a good snack.
Pumpkin Recipes You Can Try During Pregnancy
1. Pumpkin and Lentil Soup
If you want an appetizer, there is nothing like pumpkin soup! Plus when it is a combination of pumpkin with lentils, it will be all the more healthy! Here is how you can make pumpkin and lentil soup!
- 1 tablespoon of 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
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- Salt to taste and a pinch of sugar
- Half a cup of fresh cream
How to Make
- Heat some oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry till golden brown.
- Next, add the chopped garlic, pumpkin flesh and lentils, and stir well.
- Add in the vegetable stock, give it a nice stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook for about 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring in between!
- After some time the pumpkin pieces will be tender. Turn off the flame and let it cool.
- Once cool, blend the pumpkin mix, then add in some cream and blend again, then strain.
- Take the soup in a bowl and garnish with some fresh cream.
2. Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
If you love to eat the very healthy pumpkin seeds, we are sure you will love to eat when they are a bit spicy too. Here’s how you can make spicy pumpkin seeds!
- 1 ½ cups of raw pumpkin seeds
- 2-3 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- A pinch of garlic salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt to taste
How to Make
- Preheat the oven to 140° C.
- Mix all the ingredients well and place them well in a baking tray.
- Bake for an hour or till done.
3. Pumpkin Paratha
Here is a very simple pumpkin paratha recipe that you will love to make and eat.
- Pumpkin grated and peeled -250g
- Whole wheat flour -1 cup
- Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
- Ajwain – ¼ tsp
- Roasted cumin powder – ¼ tsp
- Garam masala – ¼ tsp
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- Finely chopped green chillies – 1 tsp
- Finely chopped coriander – ¼ cup
- Ghee – 1 tsp
- Whole wheat flour for dusting the dough while rolling – ¼ cup
- Oil or ghee
How to Make
- Grate the pumpkin.
- Take a cup of wheat flour on a plate.
- Add all the ingredients (except ghee).
- Mix everything and start kneading the dough.
- Now add a spoon of ghee and knead again to make the dough soft.
- Give the dough the rest of 15-20 minutes.
- Make a lemon size ball of dough, dust it in the wheat flour and roll it out in a paratha shape.
- Put the paratha on the tawa and cook using oil.
- Add some ghee and cook again on both sides until the paratha is golden brown.
1. When Should You Not Eat Pumpkins?
If you are allergic to pumpkins, it is best that you avoid eating them during pregnancy.
2. What Pumpkin-Based Foods Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?
Pumpkins are very healthy but if you eat pumpkin chips or pumpkin pie, it may not be very good for your health, especially during pregnancy. So avoid eating pumpkin-based junk food like pumpkin pies, pumpkin candies, or a pumpkin cake.
3. Can Pregnant Women Drink Pumpkin Juice?
Yes, a pregnant woman can drink pumpkin juice in moderation during this time.
4. Is It Safe to Consume Canned Pumpkin in Pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat canned pumpkins during pregnancy. But it is advisable to check labels for added salt, sugar, preservatives, or other additives before consuming.
5. Is It Safe to Eat Pumpkin Leaf During Pregnancy?
Yes, pumpkin leaf is safe to consume when pregnant. It is a good source of iron and potassium and contains some antioxidants as well. Make sure to cook it properly, and cleaned it thoroughly before use.
6. Can Breastfeeding Moms Eat Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is loaded with multiple health benefits and can even help enhance the overall health of both mother and the baby.
Including pumpkin during pregnancy first trimester diet can help meet some of your nutritional requirements. That said, you should eat pumpkins in moderate amounts as eating too much of pumpkins can lead to stomach issues. Have a balanced diet – eat everything that is safe to consume during pregnancy – it will benefit you and your baby. And do consult your doctor or nutritionist before including this fruit in your pregnancy diet!
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2. The Health Benefits of Pumpkin; health.clevelandclinic.org; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/truth-about-the-great-pumpkin-its-good-for-you/
3. Breastfeeding and your diet; betterhealth.vic.gov.au; https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/breastfeeding-and-your-diet
4. Pumpkin, raw; fdc.nal.usda.gov; https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168448/nutrients
5. Pumpkin seeds pack a healthy punch; heart.org; https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/10/25/pumpkin-seeds-pack-a-healthy-punch