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Should You Avoid Eggplant (Brinjal) During Pregnancy?

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Eggplant is called the king of vegetables. Also known as brinjal, aubergine, garden egg, melongene, or guinea squash, eggplant has dietary fiber and is low in calories.

But there is a mixed opinion on its consumption during pregnancy. While some people say it is safe, some others say it might be harmful to pregnant women. In this post, MomJunction tells you if brinjal is safe to eat during pregnancy, its benefits, and side-effects.

Can You Eat Brinjal During Pregnancy?

Brinjal or eggplant may be eaten during pregnancy but in moderate quantities. It contains fiber, folate, and potassium that could be beneficial for fetal development (1). But you may have to avoid taking it frequently since it is believed to be a heat-producing food and could cause abortion (2).

Nutritional Profile Of Eggplant

Eggplant is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. It contains dietary fiber, vitamin K, thiamin, folate, pyridoxine, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

According to the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), about 100g of eggplant contains the following nutrients essential during pregnancy:

NutrientRDA (3)Per 100g of eggplan (1)
Total folate600µg22µg
Dietary fiber28g3g
Potassium2900mg229mg
Magnesium350-360mg14mg
Phosphorus700mg24mg

The vitamin composition is around 0.039mg thiamin, 0.084 pyridoxine, 22mcg folate, and 3.5mcg vitamin K (1).

How Eggplant Might Be Beneficial During Pregnancy

Eggplant is nutritious and could provide the following health benefits.

  1. Contains folate: It provides folate, which is important for the development of the brain and cognitive abilities in the baby. It could, therefore, reduce the risk of neural tube defects and helps in the development of red blood cells (4).
  1. Helps regulate sugar levels:  Eggplant is said to control the rise in sugar levels. This could help, especially if you have a risk of gestational diabetes (5).
  1. Supports digestion: The dietary fiber in eggplant could help in relieving constipation and improve nutrient absorption (6).
  1. Reduces bad cholesterol: It is believed to reduce the harmful cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels in your blood.
  1. Regulates blood pressure: Bioflavonoids present in eggplant are likely to control blood pressure, promote good heart health, and prevent the risk of health complications during pregnancy (7).

Despite its benefits, sometimes eggplant may not be the best vegetable to have during pregnancy. Let’s see why.

[Read: Benefits Of Okra During Pregnancy]

Reasons To Avoid Brinjal During Pregnancy

Ayurveda practitioners believe that you should avoid eggplant in excess quantities as it could have some side effects. However, there are no research studies to support most of the below claims.

  • Eggplant contains phytohormones that have menstruation-stimulating properties. Eating brinjal in excess amounts is believed to induce labor, write Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra in their book The way of Ayurvedic Herbs.
  • In areas where eggplants are cultivated, the soil is thought to contain toxoplasmosis that could pass to the pregnant woman and her baby through the vegetable. Toxoplasmosis could increase the risk of premature delivery.
  • It may also trigger allergic reactions such as itchiness on the lips, arms, and legs, diarrhea, hives, stomach pain, and cough.
  • Raw or undercooked brinjal may cause digestive issues and allergies (8).

Brinjals are better and tastier when cooked and eaten fresh. There are a few more things to consider while picking the veggie.

Things To Consider While Choosing Eggplant

Choose fresh eggplants as stale ones may ruin your meal.

  • Take the small eggplants as they are tastier and fresh. Mature ones turn bitter.
  • The skin should be smooth and shiny.
  • Avoid the ones that have cuts, blemishes, shriveling, wrinkles, or uneven color.
  • Eggplants with holes are likely to have worms – so check thoroughly and avoid them.
  • When you press the vegetable, if it forms depression, it means the eggplant is not fresh.
  • The stem should be bright green and firm.
  • Wash them thoroughly before you cook to avoid bacteria or parasites that may reside on the surface.
  • Cook the vegetable thoroughly as undercooked brinjal could lead to digestive problems.

Eggplant is one vegetable that can be cooked in multiple ways.

Ways To Include Eggplant In Your Pregnancy Diet

When eggplant is cooked properly, it could be really palatable. You can add it to your diet in many ways.

  • Stuff the brinjal with your favorite puree to make a curry and eat with rice.
  • Stir fry along with other vegetables.
  • Cook as a filling for a sandwich.
  • Roast, peel, and serve over pasta or bread.
  • Bake and serve with other vegetables.
  • Make pickles or add to soups.

[Read: Eating Cabbage During Pregnancy]

Fresh and tender brinjals are mouth-wateringly tasty and can be cooked in several ways. Medical experts do not suggest you avoid the vegetable during pregnancy, but it is good to eat it in moderate amounts to prevent any adverse effects.

Do you like eating eggplant? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.

References:

1. Eggplant, raw; Basic Report; USDA
2. Sreetama Chakrabarti and Abhik Chakrabarti; Food taboos in pregnancy and early lactation among women living in a rural area of West Bengal; J Family Med Prim Care (2019)
3. Pregnancy and Lactation; Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
4. Folate; The National Acadamies Press
5. National guidelines for diagnosis & management of gestational diabetes mellitus; Maternal Health Division | Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2014)
6. Elyse Cloeter; 4 ways fiber benefits your health; The University of Michigan School of Public Health (2017)
7. Excellent reasons to eat eggplant; North Carolina Cooperative Extension
8. Bheemanapalli N Harish Babu and Yeldur P Venkatesh; Clinico-immunological analysis of eggplant (solanum melongena) allergy indicates preponderance of allergens in the peel; World Allergy Organ J (2009)Recommended Articles:
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