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Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy can go a long way in ensuring the good health of both the mother-to-be and the baby. If you are pregnant, you must have already started eating everything nutritious there is, but there are certain foods which are healthy, which can make you think whether to include them in your diet or not. In this article, we will talk about one of the healthiest root vegetables there is – sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes taste delicious and are very nutritious. But can you eat them during pregnancy? Find out!
Is It Safe to Eat Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy?
Sweet potatoes are a good source of essential nutrients that a woman needs during pregnancy. They can provide energy in the form of starch. While they lack proteins and fats, they are well-stocked with various other nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, fibre, etc. All these nutrients are necessary for the healthy growth of the baby.
Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes
The table below provides the nutritional value of one cup or 200 grams of cooked sweet potato.
|Nutrients||Weight||Daily Required Amount (%)|
|Vitamin A||1.9 milligrams||210|
|Vitamin C||39.2 milligrams||50|
|Vitamin B5||1.8 milligrams||36|
|Vitamin B7||8.6 micrograms||30|
|Dietary Fibre||6.6 grams||27|
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Listed below are a few benefits of eating sweet potatoes during pregnancy.
1. Helps in the Proper Growth of the Foetus
Doctors recommend that pregnant women should eat foods rich in Vitamin A as they need at least 800 micrograms of Vitamin A daily. This can be obtained from less than half a cup of baked sweet potato. Vitamin A is crucial in foetal development as it helps in the growth of the organs like the heart, lungs, liver, blood, kidneys, and so on.
2. Prevents Constipation
Sweet potatoes are a good source of fibre, which is an important nutrient during pregnancy. Pregnant women often complain of constipation, which is a common problem during pregnancy. Your diet should comprise of around 30 grams of daily fibre – a third of this can be obtained from a single cup of sweet potatoes.
3. Helps in the Brain Development of the Foetus
Pyridoxine, also called Vitamin B6, is essential for the formation of a functioning brain and nervous system in the foetus. It is needed to produce blood and has been known to prevent morning nausea in pregnant women. A cup of sweet potato will have around a third of the required daily amount of pyridoxine.
4. Helps in the Bone Development of the Foetus
During pregnancy, a woman’s diet should include around 90 mg of Vitamin C per day. A single cup of sweet potato can provide at least a third of that amount. Vitamin C has various roles, such as promoting enzyme activity, bone and tendon growth, skin development and so on. Further, it also speeds up the absorption of iron, which is required for the formation of red blood cells. A cup of sweet potatoes can also give you nearly half the amount of manganese required per day. Manganese is a rare mineral which also helps in the development of bones and cartilage of the foetus.
Risks of Eating Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy
Everything you eat during pregnancy should be in moderation. If you eat too much, it can lead to complications.
- Overconsumption of sweet potatoes can lead to a condition known as Hypervitaminosis A. It can result in foetal abnormalities, such as physical defects, severe liver damage, miscarriage, preterm births or even stillbirth.
- Sweet potatoes are high in oxalates, which cause kidney stones in the body. This could lead to severe pain and impairment of kidney and gallbladder issues.
- Mannitol, a special kind of sugar present in sweet potatoes can cause stomach ache. It can also lead to gas and diarrhoea.
- As sweet potatoes contain starch in high amounts, eating them can lead to health complications in those who have diabetes or are overweight.
1. Can You Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes During Pregnancy?
No, you should not eat sweet potatoes raw as the outer layer of the sweet potatoes if uncooked can lead to digestive-system related issues like bloating and heartburn. It can also cause nausea.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and healthy treat, however, please ensure that you do not eat them in excess. Follow a balanced diet which includes green veggies, fresh fruits, whole grains, and protein-rich foods and you and your baby will be fine.