Is It Safe To Snack On Hummus During Pregnancy?

✔ Research-backed

Whether you can eat hummus during pregnancy or not is worth discussing. Hummus is a creamy dip used to make sandwiches and wraps healthy. It is prepared using boiled chickpeas and is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. However, you can tweak its ingredients to make healthy hummus variations. But while it’s generally healthy, can you eat it during pregnancy?

Keep reading as we tell you more about the safety of this Middle Eastern dip for pregnant women, its healthy ingredients, and the possible side effects of hummus that an expecting woman can experience.

In This Article

Is Hummus Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?

Eat fresh homemade hummus during pregnancy

Image: IStock

Hummus is a smooth spread, made with wholesome ingredients such as chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), and olive oil. This sauce is rich in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and low in calories, making it a healthy option for pregnant women (1). The high protein content is helpful for boosting your immunity.

However, it is better to consume fresh homemade hummus, instead of the store-made one. Also, avoid consuming stored or stale hummus that has been refrigerated for too long. Ideally, you should consume it as a dip with healthy snacks and not in huge quantities (2). Consuming hummus in this way also helps manage gestational diabetes.

How Much Hummus Can You Have Per Day?

There is no recommended limit on hummus consumption for pregnant women. However, one to two tablespoons of iron-rich hummus a day would be ideal. You may have it as a spread on a sandwich or as a dip with your vegetable sticks or crackers.

In the next section, we tell you about the nutrients in hummus.

Nutritional Value Of Hummus

Hummus is a nutrient-rich spread

Image: IStock

The nutrient value of hummus is as follows (1).

NutrientValue per 100g
Calories166Kcal
Carbohydrates14.29g
Protein7.90g
Fiber6.0g
Fat9.60g
Vitamins
Vitamin A30IU
Vitamin B9 (Folate)83μg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.2mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.582mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.064mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.180mg
Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic acid)0.132mg
Potassium228mg
Calcium38mg
Iron2.44mg
Magnesium71mg
Zinc1.83mg
Phosphorus176mg
Selenium2.6μg
Manganese0.773mg
Copper0.527mg

How are these nutrients helpful in pregnancy? Continue reading to know about it.

Nutrients In Hummus That Are Good For Pregnancy

The ingredients used to make hummus are rich in minerals and vitamins, so consuming this dip can be good for your health.

  1. Fiber: If you are having constipation, then consuming hummus, which is mainly made with chickpeas that are rich in fiber, might help keep your digestive system healthy (3).
  1. Protein: Hummus is made with chickpeas, a legume rich in protein. High-protein foods like hummus can contribute to your increased protein needs during pregnancy. Besides, they can keep you satiated longer, especially when combined with fibrous vegetables or complex carbohydrates (4). Expecting moms need protein to support the healthy development of the maternal and fetal tissues. The protein also aids in the healthy growth of the fetal brain and other organs (5) (6).
  1. Folate: When you are pregnant, doctors advise you to take folic acidto support your baby’s health and reduce the risks of neural tube defects. Hummus is a good source of folate, which is a synthetic form of folic acid (7).
  1. Calcium: This nutrient is good for the development of bones, nerves, muscles, teeth, and heart. Hummus contains calcium, and consuming it could help add to your daily quota of calcium (8).
Eating hummus during pregnancy could add to your daily calcium intake

Image: IStock

  1. Carbohydrates: Consuming healthy carbohydrates will help in controlling blood glucose levels. According to National Institutes of Health data, gestational diabetes affects around two to ten percent of all pregnancies in the US, and uncontrolled blood sugar levels may lead to health problems for both mother and the baby. As a low glycemic index snack, hummus could help you meet the carbohydrates requirement and manage blood sugar levels (9).

You do not have to eat for two people when you are pregnant. What matters is whether you are eating right. Adding grain foods such as hummus could help you in gaining the extra energy you require as an expecting mom (10).

However, in some cases, eating hummus can result in side effects.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Hummus?

Store bought hummus can be harmful to pregnant women

Image: IStock

If the hummus is not freshly made, has been kept in the refrigerator for too long or has been purchased from a store, then it may have harmful bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria-contaminated hummus can be harmful to pregnant women. In rare cases, there could be health concerns for the babies too. However, with early diagnosis and medications, it is possible to prevent the infection (11).

Eating homemade hummus is the best way to prevent such risks.

protip_icon Point to consider
Chickpeas may cause bloating in some cases (15). Hummus may also have similar effects.

Healthy Hummus Recipe To Try At Home

Making hummus takes only a few ingredients and a little time.

Healthy recipe of hummus during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 125g dried chickpeas (soaked)
  • Lemon juice
  • 2tsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Water as required
  • Salt

How to:

  1. Boil the chickpeas till they become tender.
  1. Drain the water and rest it for a while till it cools down.
  1. Grind the boiled chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor until mixture becomes a smooth paste.
  1. You may add some water for a smooth consistency.
  1. Finally, add some olive oil and salt and give it a final mix.

Foods To Eat With Hummus

Homemade hummus can be used as a salad dressing, dip, or spread with different foods. You can use hummus as a dip with crackers, pita chips, or breadsticks. On the other hand, hummus can be used as a spread to elevate the taste and nutritional value of foods like pita bread/wrap with salad and falafel, sandwiches or tacos, and baked and roasted veggies. Hummus can also complement other foods like cooked meat, eggs, pasta, tofu, and sweet fruits and help make nutritious meals and snacks for expecting women (12)  (13).

Serve it with bread, salad, vegetable sticks, and anything to relish its taste and benefits.

protip_icon Quick tip
Add roasted peppers, spinach, or sun-dried tomatoes to make a tastier and healthier version of hummus (16).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How common is listeria in hummus?

Listeria is very common in hummus. In addition, studies have shown that listeria growth was among the highest in hummus (14).

2. Are carrots and hummus good for pregnancy?

Yes, carrots and hummus provide a great combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and are good for expecting mothers (4).

Hummus is a healthy recipe containing proteins, fiber, calcium, healthy carbohydrates, and many other nutrients like zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Eating hummus during pregnancy is good for you and your baby because it helps to keep your digestion optimal and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Since hummus is a nutrient-dense food, adding it to your prenatal nutrition diet allows you to get extra energy. However, remember to eat only fresh homemade hummus, as the one stored in the fridge for a long time may cause bacterial infections, causing adverse health conditions.

Infographic: Nutrients In Hummus That Are Good For Pregnancy

Hummus made from healthy chickpeas can be the whole package of taste and nutrition for your pregnancy journey. So if you want a delicious dip for your veggies, hummus can be an ideal choice. But don’t have it because we said so, have it because it is full of nutrients that benefit your pregnancy, as listed below.

hummus and its pregnancy benefiting nutrients (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Hummus is a safe and nutritious addition to the pregnancy diet.
  • It is a rich source of folate, calcium, carbohydrates, and fiber that are essential for a healthy pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women should prefer homemade hummus over store-bought hummus to avoid the risk of bacterial infections.
  • The ideal intake quantity of hummus during pregnancy is one to two tablespoons per day.
  • The sauce can be consumed with bread, salads, vegetable sticks, and other snacks.
Hummus During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Are you wondering if you can consume hummus? Get the answer to this important question and learn more about nutrition during pregnancy with this educational video.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. T. C. Wallace, R. Murray, and K. M. Zelman; The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus; Nutrients (2016)
2. What can I eat? – gestational diabetes; Diabetes UK
3. Surprising Health Benefits of a Fiber-Rich Diet; Intermountain Healthcare (2016)
4. 5 Snack Foods to Eat While Pregnant; John Hopkins Medicine
5. Foods That Should Be on Every Pregnant Woman’s Shopping List; HealthyWomen
6. Pregnancy Superfoods: What to Eat for a Healthy and Balanced Diet; Medanta The Medicity(Global Health Limited)
7. Q&A: Prenatal Vitamins; Family Care Health
8. Healthy Eating Guidelines for Pregnancy; Health Link British Columbia
9. Gestational Diabetes Meal Planning; Northwestern Medicine
10. Pregnancy and diet; Better Health Channel
11. Listeria Infection (Listeriosis); Mother To Baby (2018)
12. Healthy eating in pregnancy; Nidirect government services
13. Healthy Eating in Pregnancy; Infant and Toddler Forum
14. Listeria monocytogenes growth kinetics in refrigerated ready-to-eat dips and dip components; National Library of Medicine
15. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans); Harvard School of Public Health
16. Hummus; Harvard School of Public Health

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Celebrity nutrition advisor Dr. Shikha Sharma has founded Dr. Shikha’s Nutrihealth in 1998. Dr. Shikha has done her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College and holds 21 years of experience in the field of health and nutrition. Her organization, Dr. Shikha's NutriHealth, has over 50 Ayurveda experts and nutritionists who provide consultation services to the clients. The Nutrihealth expert team...read full bio