Fine tuning your diet during pregnancy ensures a happy and healthy pregnancy. Put aside all the junk food and fatty stuff, and grab the tapered, elongated and green color versatile vegetable – the okra.
Discovered nearly 3,500 years before in Ethiopia, okra is still considered an important vegetable in pregnancy in different corners of the world. This veggie is said to have plenty of health benefits that offer necessary nutritional benefits to you as well as the unborn child.
Nutritional Benefits Of Okra During Pregnancy:
You can keep at bay several health problems and disease by daily intake of okra in pregnancy.
- Vitamins contained in okra help prevent spinal bifida a type of birth defect and ensures healthy growth of babies in the womb.
- Okra is particularly suggested in the 4th and 12th week of pregnancy when the neural tube develops in the fetus.
- Okra rich in folic acid aids development of the tube.
Let’s take a closer look into the benefits of eating okra during pregnancy
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a. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C helps in proper absorption of iron, which is very essential for the growing baby.
- One cup of okra contains 13 mg of vitamin C that meets most of the daily requirements of a pregnant woman.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that reduces hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
- Okra containing vitamin C strengthens immune system of the baby and aids development of blood vessels, bone and skin.
b. Dietary Fiber:
Half cup of okra contains 2 gm of dietary fiber. Okra contains insoluble fiber as well as soluble fiber.
- A pregnant woman must get 25 gm of fiber daily to keep at bay problems like constipation that are highly acute in pregnancy.
- Mayo Clinic research findings state that soluble fiber helps in lowering blood cholesterol and prevents diabetes.
- Insoluble fiber helps regulating the digestive system well.
[ Read: Constipation During Pregnancy ]
Half cup of okra contains 37 mg of folate. Folic acid or folate helps metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein. A pregnant woman must get at least 400 mg folic acid every day.
- It helps in synthesis of genetic materials like RNA, DNA and red blood cells.
- Folate is very crucial for the proper development of the baby.
- According to research findings of Maryland Medical Center, women who consumed folic acid regularly were less likely to give birth to babies with birth defect particularly neutral tube defects.
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According to reports published in “African Journal of Biotechnology” and “Nutrition Journal” in 2011 and 2010, okra is said to be a good source of antioxidants compared to other vegetables rich in antioxidants.
- Antioxidants play important role in inhibiting the ability of free radicals that damage cell tissues and DNA.
- Deficiency of antioxidants like manganese, zinc, copper results in poor pregnancy outcomes, restricts fetal growth, increases the chances of diseases as the child grows like type2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- As you can see from the information given above, okra contains plenty of health benefits. You can thus discuss with your doctor about your required daily consumption of the green vegetable to enjoy a diet rich in nutrients.
- Okra is easily available everywhere, but do try to choose organic ones. Always wash them well before cooking. You can try out new recipes and add variety to your diet.
- Make sure to limit your consumption, as too much of anything is never good, especially at this delicate time in your life.
[ Read: Soybeans During Pregnancy ]
Consulting your gestational nutritionist or your doctor will also free your mind from all probable concerns.
Do let us know what you prepared with okra today. It will surely excite the other expecting moms too! Wish you all the best.
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