- Is it safe to eat broccoli during pregnancy?
- How much broccoli can you eat?
- What are some benefits of broccoli during pregnancy?
- How to select broccoli?
- A word of caution
- How can you include broccoli in your pregnancy diet?
- Easy broccoli recipes
Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable from the Brassica family, is full of nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. It is, therefore, considered a superfood with enormous amounts of nutrients and is known to offer a range of benefits. But can you eat broccoli in pregnancy? MomJunction helps you understand whether or not you should eat broccoli during this sensitive phase of your life.
Is It Safe To Eat Broccoli During Pregnancy?
It is safe to eat broccoli in moderate amounts during pregnancy (1). Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C, K, B6, calcium, folate, fiber, and antioxidant agents. Including this nutrient-rich food in your diet ensures good hemoglobin supply, strengthens bones, prevents skin ailments, birth defects, and boosts nutrient intake.
How Much Broccoli Can You Eat?
You can have about three to five servings of broccoli every day, where one serving equals half a cup of cooked or cut vegetable (2).The serving would ensure that you have the benefit of a day’s nutrition.
Benefits Of Broccoli During Pregnancy:
Here are the main health benefits of broccoli during pregnancy:
1. Prevents constipation:
Constipation is a common concern among pregnant women. The hormonal changes, metabolic changes, and iron supplements play a role in altering the bowel movements. Broccoli is full of both soluble and insoluble fiber that helps retain water and regulates bowel movements, therefore, preventing constipation (3).
2. Controls anemia:
Your iron requirements increase during pregnancy, and a deficiency could cause anemia. Broccoli being a good source of iron and folic acid, can be right for you (4).
3. Regulates sugar levels:
Gestational diabetes occurs if your body cannot produce enough insulin to break down the sugars you consume during pregnancy. Broccoli can help in regulating the sugar levels in your body (5).
4. Improves immunity:
A strong immune system during pregnancy helps avoid infections. The beta-carotene and selenium components in broccoli boost your immunity and keep you safe. (6).
5. Strengthens bones:
During pregnancy, you are susceptible to bone-related disorders such as osteoporosis. Broccoli has all the essential nutrients for healthy and strong bones, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc (7).
6. Protects skin:
Broccoli contains vitamins A, E, B and K that are great for your skin. Therefore, including it in your pregnancy diet can brighten your skin, and protect your skin from harmful UV rays (8).
7. Improves eye health:
Beta-carotene present in broccoli doesn’t just boost immunity, but also improves vision. Beta-carotene along multivitamin A is good for eye health and keeps eye ailments away (9).
8. Prevents cancer:
Broccoli contains large amounts of phytochemicals that are known for their anti-cancer properties. A diet rich in broccoli will help you and your baby stay away from cancer during pregnancy (10).
[ Read: Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Pregnancy ]
9. Prevents birth defects:
Lack of nutrients in the mother’s diet could lead to birth defects in babies. If you include broccoli in your diet, it provides the required amounts of nutrients for the growing baby, and also helps in preventing birth defects (11).
10. Promotes healthy fetal development:
The combination of vitamin C, K, folate, zinc, calcium, and iron in broccoli are required for healthy development of the fetus (12).
You can benefit from eating broccoli only if you choose the right type of the vegetable.
How To Select Broccoli?
Here are some tips for selecting a fresh broccoli.
- Go for fresh, compact, and bright dark-green or purple-green broccoli heads.
- Select firm stems and stalks, and not hollow ones.
- Avoid yellow colored heads as they are over-matured varieties.
- Avoid wilted or dried florets.
A Word Of Caution:
Broccoli contains various powerful compounds that can adversely affect the skin. As a result, some individuals may suffer from allergic rashes when they touch or broccoli. So, it is safe to eat this cruciferous vegetable in moderation, following appropriate serving instructions during pregnancy (13).
And in the next section, we will see how broccoli can be eaten by pregnant women.
How Can You Include Broccoli In Your Pregnancy Diet?
Broccoli can be included in your diet in many ways to get the maximum benefits. Some of them are:
- Combine steamed or chopped broccoli with any fresh salad.
- If you are craving for something simple, you can stir-fry broccoli with other vegetables, herbs, and garlic in olive oil. Broccoli florets can be added to any soup.
- Use steamed broccoli as a pizza or pasta topping.
- You can make dips from broccoli and even use as spread on bread.
- You can also simply sauté broccoli, baby corn, and carrots and make a baked dish out of them.
To make your broccoli diet healthier and tastier, we have included a few recipes, which are easy to make.
Easy Broccoli Recipes:
You can try the following healthy recipes of broccoli to add extra zest to your diet:
1. Broccoli and Stilton soup:
You will need:
- 1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 1 medium-size potato, diced
- 1 lt homemade vegetable or chicken broth (low salt)
- 1 knob butter
- 140g crumbled Stilton or blue cheese
- Put rapeseed oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add onions and cook till they become soft.
- Add leek, celery, potato, and butter. Stir them together and cover it for about five minutes.
- Now add the stock and chopped broccoli and let it cook for five to ten minutes until the vegetables become tender.
- Transfer everything to a blender and liquidize to a smooth consistency.
- Add Stilton, stir it and top it with black pepper before serving.
Preparation time: 40min
[ Read: Fruits To Eat During Pregnancy ]
2. Broccoli cheddar soup:
You will need:
- ½ cup butter
- 16 ounce frozen broccoli, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 14.5 ounce chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 1 loaf processed cheese, cubed
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 cup water
- Put butter in s stockpot and heat it over medium flame. Add onion and cook until soft.
- Add broccoli and chicken broth and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Now reduce the heat and add cheese cubes. Let it melt after which add milk and garlic powder.
- Take a small bowl with corn starch and water. Mix until it dissolves and add to the soup. Stir the mixture until it turns thick in consistency.
Preparation time: 45min
Speak to your doctor before you try these delicious and healthy broccoli recipes. Also, ensure that all the ingredients given in the recipes can be eaten by you.
There could a few question on your mind and in the next section we answer a few of them.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I eat raw broccoli during pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat raw broccoli as long as they are washed properly. They are a storehouse of essential nutrients that are important for you and your unborn baby (14).
2. Can I eat broccoli sprouts during pregnancy?
Research reveals that broccoli sprouts not only improve the mother’s health but also show an improvement in the baby’s health as they grow up. They are known to offer life-long protection to babies against cardiovascular diseases (15). Broccoli sprouts also boost the body’s natural defense from oxidative stress that may cause hypertension and inflammation.
3. Can I eat broccoli rabe during pregnancy?
Broccoli rabe is safe to consume during pregnancy. You should just make sure it is properly washed before eating. It is an excellent source of proteins, and vitamins B, C, and K (16).
Broccoli is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as you are not over-eating it. Restrict it to one dish a day and that will help you add to your nutrient intake. But make sure to check for allergies before you start eating this nutrition-filled vegetable.
Have you tried any broccoli recipes? Tell us about them in the comments section below.
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