Are you concerned if you are taking the right amount of vitamins, proteins, minerals and fibre for a healthy pregnancy? Do the calories in proteins worry you? Well, you can make the balancing act easier with right information about healthy foods in pregnancy.
Vegetables, such as lentils, are well-known for the high nutritional values. Lentils are said to contain high levels of folic acid, fiber, iron, protein and Vitamin B9 that are highly essential for pregnant mothers.
[ Read: Pasta During Pregnancy ]
Nutritional Benefits Of Lentils During Pregnancy
The taste, color and size of lentils vary depending on the place they are derived from. Lentils can be categorized into small grains, lentil beans, and larger grains. In this article, explore the nutritional benefits of lentils for a healthy pregnancy:
- Folic acid contained in lentils prevents birth defects like anencephaly and spina bifida.
- Half cup of lentils contains around 179 milligrams of folate that is a B vitamin that aids development of new cells. Pregnant women require around 600 milligrams folic acid every day.
- Folic acid also combats the harmful effects of drugs that body absorbs. If you have a habit of smoking or drinking, folic acid in lentils can help absorb such bad habits.
- Lentils are rich in protein that helps in every stage of pregnancy. Protein helps in development of muscles of your baby.
- High content of potassium ensures proper blood circulation and keeps down high blood pressure as well.
- Fiber contained in lentils help combat intestinal tract disorders. It controls obesity and also keeps down high cholesterol level. Half cup of lentils contains around 8 gm fiber.
- Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy that can be tackled to a great extent by taking lentils rich in fiber.
- Many studies suggest lentils to play vital role in improving biological functions of brain.
- If you have migraines during pregnancy, you can try lentils rich in vitamin B5 that combats stress and migraines.
[ Read: Folic Acid During Pregnancy ]
While lentils are rich in nutrients, you need to take care to retain all the vital properties. Here is what you can do:
- Lentils are rich in iron that helps keeping anemia at bay. They offer around 9 milligrams /100 grams of iron.
- To make sure you get complete advantage of the mineral, you can combine lentils with citrus fruits like tangerines, oranges and lemon.
- Vitamin C contained in citric fruits help in absorption of iron.
- You must not exceed the cooking time of lentils to avoid loss of essential nutrients.
[ Read: Anemia In Pregnancy ]
Lentil Cooking Tips
There are different types of lentils and not just the green ones that you see. Here are some easy cooking tips that might be helpful for you:
- Lentils are not rice and thus you need not submerge them in water. Lentils are more like pastas and cooked best in stock.
- Bring the water to boil and add the lentils.
- Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste it from time to time to see if they are cooked.
- Wait for the consistency you want; if you are having them with salad, make them firm.
- If you are preparing lentil soup during pregnancy, make them softer to relish the taste.
- Add flavors you want in the lentils. Crushed garlic and herbs can alter the taste completely.
- Do not boil them for long as they tend to lose their power and taste.
[ Read: Marijuana During Pregnancy ]
Even if you are not able to follow a healthy diet every single day, don’t feel guilty; the information given above is just a framework for a healthy diet and not a strict curriculum! Follow healthy eating habits as much as you can and enjoy the healthiest pregnancy possible.
Have a different way of preparing lentils in pregnancy? Share it with us.
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