Indian cuisine is a treasure house of some hidden gems that are amazingly healthy for pregnant women, and growing babies. These foods are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients.
Secret Indian Superfoods for a Healthy Pregnancy
- Jaggery (Gur): Jaggery is a natural sweetener from sugarcane juice or date palm sap. It's rich in iron, which helps prevent anaemia during pregnancy. It also has minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are crucial for maintaining healthy bones and muscles, preventing muscle cramps, and strong immunity. Jaggery's sweet taste provides a natural remedy for nausea in some women.
- Makhana (Fox Nuts): Makhana is a light and nutritious snack. It's a good source of plant protein, folate, and a low-calorie snack for expecting mothers. Makhana contains dietary fibre, which can help prevent constipation, a common issue during pregnancy. Makhana is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for pregnant women with gluten sensitivities
- Sabja Seeds (Basil Seeds): Sabja seeds are similar to chia seeds and are rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the development of the baby's brain and eyes. The gel-like texture of soaked sabja seeds can help soothe the digestive tract and reduce symptoms like indigestion and heartburn, which are common during pregnancy. Their cooling effect helps pregnant women experiencing hot flashes or other discomforts associated with increased body temperature during pregnancy.
- Ragi (Finger Millet): Ragi is a whole grain that's high in calcium, iron, and fibre. It's particularly beneficial for pregnant women due to its nutritional density. Ragi contains folate (folic acid), a B vitamin that is vital for preventing neural tube defects in the developing baby. Ragi contains antioxidants that can help protect cells from oxidative stress and support the immune system.
- Ghee (Clarified Butter): Ghee is a rich source of healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E. It can aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from other foods. Ghee is suitable for pregnant women with lactose intolerance, as it contains minimal to no lactose.
- Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla is exceptionally rich in vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption. It also provides immune support and has various health benefits. Amla has natural digestive properties and can help in relieving constipation, indigestion, and heartburn, which are common during pregnancy. Some studies suggest that amla may help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health. This is important for maintaining cardiovascular health during pregnancy.
- Sprouted Pulses: Sprouted pulses, such as sprouted lentils, chickpeas, and mung beans, can be a nutritious addition to a pregnant woman's diet when prepared and consumed safely. Sprouted pulses provide plant-based protein, which is essential for the growth and development of the baby and for maintaining the mother's health. They're easier to digest and can be added to salads, curries, or snacks.
- Coconut Water: Fresh coconut water is an excellent source of hydration and contains electrolytes, making it a great choice during pregnancy.
- Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Including turmeric in your diet can help manage inflammation and promote overall well-being. Curcumin in turmeric acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from oxidative stress. Antioxidants can support overall health.
- Methi (Fenugreek): Methi is a good source of various essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6), minerals (like iron, calcium, and magnesium), and dietary fiber. Some studies suggest that methi may help regulate blood sugar levels, which can be especially important for women with gestational diabetes. Fenugreek leaves and seeds are known to increase milk supply in breastfeeding mothers.
- Curd (Yogurt): Curd is rich in probiotics, which promote a healthy gut. Curd is an excellent source of calcium, a mineral vital for the development of the baby's bones and teeth. Pregnant women have increased calcium needs, and curd can help meet those requirements. It can help with digestion and provide calcium and protein. Curd has a high water content, which can contribute to overall hydration during pregnancy.
- Kesar(Saffron): contains compounds like riboflavin (vitamin B2) and thiamine (vitamin B1) that may aid in the body's absorption of iron from other food sources. Some studies suggest that saffron may have mood-enhancing properties and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Pregnant women may experience mood swings, and saffron's potential mood-regulating effects might be of interest.
- Sattu/ Besan: Sattu, a traditional flour made from roasted gram (chickpea) or barley, can provide several potential benefits for pregnant women when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Sattu is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These minerals are important for both the mother's health and the development of the baby's bones and teeth.
- Dates are a nutritious and beneficial fruit for pregnant women. The natural sugars in dates provide a quick energy boost, which can be especially helpful during periods of fatigue or low energy that often occur during pregnancy. Dates contain iron, which is essential for preventing iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy. Some studies suggest that consuming dates in the weeks leading up to labour may help shorten the duration of labour and reduce the need for labour-inducing medications. However, more research is needed in this area.
- Lentils (Dal): Lentils are rich in protein, iron, and fibre. They provide essential nutrients for both the mother and the growing baby. Lentils are low in fat, making them a nutritious option for maintaining healthy weight gain during pregnancy.
Always consume everything in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Also, consult with your healthcare provider or a nutritionist for personalized dietary recommendations during pregnancy to ensure you meet your specific nutritional needs.
LOVE AND SUPPORT ALWAYS...!!