So, you are pregnant. Congratulations and best of luck for the journey ahead. Are you ready for all the changes awaiting you? What about changes in your eating habits?
When you are pregnant, every morsel counts. That is why it is also very important to be aware of what you should stay away from when you are expecting a baby.
Bitter Gourd is not a popular part of any diet. But a minority of women do enjoy it. But is it safe to eat bitter gourd during pregnancy? If you are a bitter gourd fan, you need to read this article!
Benefits Of Bitter Gourd During Pregnancy:
Even if you are not into bitter gourd, it may be time to rethink. Bitter melon, as it is also called, is filled with a number of health benefits. Some of the positives you can expect from this green vegetable include:
1. Great Source Of Folate:
You need folate or folic acid during pregnancy. Folate is essential to prevent neural tube defects in your unborn baby (1). Bitter gourd is a great source of folic acid and can fulfill about a quarter of its daily requirement.
2. Keeps Digestion Healthy:
Many women experience digestive problems during pregnancy. An over dose of hormones and an expanding uterus can lead to problems like bloating, flatulence, etc. Bitter gourd contains a good amount of fiber, which can help keep these problems away (2).
3. Prevents Constipation And Hemorrhoids:
The high fiber content in bitter gourd also plays a big role in preventing problems like constipation and hemorrhoids. These two problems are very common during pregnancy (3). But that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. So, just add a little bitter melon to your diet to stay free of these nasty pregnancy fall-outs!
4. Fights And Prevents Gestational Diabetes:
Many women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Fortunately, bitter gourd can easily help prevent and treat this problem. It contains nutrients like charantin and polypeptide-P that can help balance your blood sugar levels (4).
[ Read: Benefits Of Kale During Pregnancy ]
5. Boosts Immunity:
During pregnancy, the smallest of illnesses can cause a lot of problems. A simple cough and cold can take a toll on your body when you are pregnant. What you need is to boost your immune system. Bitter gourd contains vitamin C, which is popular for its antioxidant properties. This property helps bitter gourd boost your immune system and fight common illnesses (5).
6. Great Source Of Nutrients:
Both you and your unborn baby require extra nutrients when you are pregnant. Bitter gourd contains vitamins and minerals like iron, niacin, potassium, pantothenic acid, zinc, pyridoxine, magnesium, and manganese. All these nutrients are essential for the health of your baby.
[ Read: Is Spinach Good During Pregnancy ]
7. Helps You Gain Healthy Weight:
Yes, you need to gain weight during pregnancy. But you don’t need to fill yourself up with junk food! What you need is to gain healthy weight (6). Bitter gourd, with its high fiber content, can fill you up while providing essential nutrients. This will give you a feeling of satiety. No need for high-calorie foods that can bloat you up!
Side Effects Of Bitter Gourd During Pregnancy:
So, where is the hitch? What stops you from making bitter gourd a part of your pregnancy diet? Well, it makes sense to hesitate! Here are some risks you should be aware of before eating bitter gourd in pregnancy:
1. Can Lead To Digestive Problems:
If you are a fan of bitter gourd, you may be tempted to have a little too much of it. But be moderate. Excessive bitter gourd in your system can lead to digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and gas (7).
2. Can Cause Toxicity:
Eating bitter gourd during pregnancy can cause toxicity in some people. This is because of the amount of Momordica charantia in bitter gourd (8).
3. Can Cause Premature Labor:
Bitter gourd consumption can also disturb the uterus and cause premature labor (9).
Bitter gourd is something that should find a place in your pregnancy menu. But do talk to your doctor before you add bitter gourd to your meals.
The bottom line is to have a balanced diet. Don’t let the taste of this nutritious vegetable put you off. Cooked right, bitter gourd can turn into a gourmet delight!
So, do you have a favorite bitter gourd recipe? Share with us, right below!
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