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If you are pregnant, you will have to be very careful about your food choices because what you eat will affect your health as well as your baby’s health. Everything you plan to eat (however little) will have an impact on your baby. So, it is important that you eat only healthy foods.
You will receive ample advice from a lot of people – from your friends and family members to your co-workers and relatives – about the foods you should eat and avoid. But none of them would think of mentioning sesame seeds. So, which category does sesame seeds fall under? Are they harmful or are they good for you and your baby? Read on to know!
Is it Safe to Eat Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy?
The notion that white sesame seeds are not safe for consumption during pregnancy is nothing but a myth. In India, many people believe that sesame seeds are a ‘heat generating’ food, and increase heat in the body and upset the natural balance of the body. Some people also believe that eating heat generating foods like sesame seeds in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or premature labour. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this up. On the contrary, sesame seeds are packed with essential nutrients like iron, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, and potassium that are good for both the mother and the baby. But most doctors suggest that a pregnant woman should avoid consuming them in the first trimester, as it can make her nauseous.
Nutritional Value of Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are enriched with different nutrients and consuming them during pregnancy can do a lot of good to you and your baby. These seeds serve as a great source of iron, calcium, and fibre. You need to consume only a few seeds to get all these nutrients.
Here is a breakdown of the nutrients these seeds offer. Every 10 g of sesame seeds has approximately the following quantities of each nutrient:
- Protein – 2 g
- Fibre – 1 g
- Carbohydrates – 2 g
- Fat – 4 g
- Calcium – 89 mg
- Iron – 1.3 mg
- Calories – 51
Other minerals like magnesium, potassium, and B Vitamins are present in trace amounts.
Health Benefits of Eating Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds (til) are considered a superfood in many parts of the world. They can offer a lot of nutrients that are essential for a pregnant woman and her baby. Some of the benefits of eating sesame seeds during pregnancy are mentioned below.
Sesame seeds serve as a complete package of nutrients offering iron, calcium, and vitamins, all of which are essential for the growth of the foetus.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein and amino acids that are required for the proper growth of the foetus.
Sesame seeds, being a rich source of fibre, can assist in digestion during pregnancy. Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy. If you also have constipation and other digestive-system related issues, you can eat sesame seeds to avoid the same.
Sesame seeds contain oleic acid which can keep your bad cholesterol levels or LDL levels low and improve your good cholesterol or HDL levels. This will ensure a good lipid profile.
Sesame seeds contain Vitamin C which can boost your immune system and keep diseases and germs at bay. During pregnancy, your immune strength tends to be low hence you might be more susceptible to infections and illnesses. But you can avoid these infections by eating sesame seeds. Consumption of sesame seeds can prevent cold and flu.
Calcium is an important nutrient for good oral health during pregnancy. And sesame seeds, being an excellent source of calcium, are just what you need to take care of your teeth. By eating sesame seeds, you can take care of your teeth and bones in pregnancy. They can also aid in the healthy growth of your baby.
As sesame seeds contain folic acid, eating them during pregnancy can help prevent defects related to neural tubes in babies.
Sesame seeds are rich in B Vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine, all of which ensure proper development of the foetus.
Eating sesame seeds is also believed to boost energy and lower mental stress and weakness.
Sesame seeds being a rich source of iron can ensure that your baby gets an adequate supply of oxygen while in the womb.
How to Include Sesame Seeds in Your Diet
Now that you are aware of the immense benefits that sesame seeds offer, you must be wondering how you can include them in your pregnancy diet. Being rich in essential nutrients, they would make a healthy addition to your diet and here’s how you can include them in your regular food.
- Add sesame seeds to your regular bowl of breakfast. Add them in your bowl of hot cereal.
- You can add sesame seeds in salad and stir-fries for some extra crunch and nuttiness.
- Make a sesame seed dip and eat it along with vegetable sticks to curb your afternoon hunger pangs.
- You can add sesame seeds to your regular coriander and mint chutney.
- You can roast sesame seeds and use them to garnish various dishes.
- You can make til ladoos and eat them during pregnancy.
- You can add sesame seeds to soups or raita.
Risks Associated With the Consumption of Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy
In general, eating sesame seeds is not harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby. However, not every woman’s system responds to the same food in the same way. The effects of sesame seeds during pregnancy can vary. If you have an upset stomach after consuming sesame seeds, you should stop eating them. If you feel nauseated, wait until your nausea subsides. It would be best to consult a doctor before including sesame seeds in your diet.
1. Can I Eat Food Cooked in Sesame Oil During Pregnancy?
It is safe to eat food prepared in sesame oil during pregnancy. This oil can meet your requirements for healthy fats during pregnancy and help in the development of your baby’s brain. However, it is recommended that you speak to a nutritionist and your doctor before eating anything cooked in sesame oil.
2. Eating Black Sesame Seeds or White Sesame Seeds – Which Is a Healthier Choice?
Black sesame seeds have a high nutritional profile, hence they are healthier than white sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds contain more calcium than white sesame seeds and would be a better choice during pregnancy if you want to meet your calcium requirements. However, there is nothing wrong with consuming white sesame seeds either. They are good too!
Eating sesame seeds is not harmful to the mother and the baby. But it is best that you avoid including them in your diet during the first trimester of your pregnancy as eating them can make you nauseous. If you are planning to include these seeds in your diet, talk to your doctor once to make an informed choice. Have a healthy pregnancy!