4 Amazing Benefits Of Okra (Lady's Finger) During Pregnancy

4 Amazing Benefits Of Okra During Pregnancy

Image: iStock

Okra, the power-packed medicinal and culinary vegetable, is a boon for pregnant women. The vegetable is available all around the year, but the best produce is available during the early spring season. Its nutritional goodness has made it a part of pregnancy diet in various regions of the world. Here, MomJunction tells you all about eating okra during pregnancy, and how it will benefit you and your baby.

Is Okra Good For Pregnancy?

Yes, okra, otherwise called lady’s finger or gumbo, is a nutritious pod vegetable that is good to eat during pregnancy. It is rich in fiber, folic acid, calorie, protein, carbohydrate, Vitamin C, B3, and K, beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Whether you eat it boiled, stewed, fried or pickled, you will be able to benefit from the nutrients it has (1).

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What Are The Benefits Of Okra During Pregnancy?

The nutrients present in okra are very beneficial for pregnancy and aid in the healthy development of the baby. Read on to know more about the benefits that okra has to offer.

  1. Rich in Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron, which promotes the growth of the baby. It also boosts immunity of the mother and promotes the development of skin, bones, and capillaries in the baby (2).
  1. High in folate: Okra is a potent source of folate, which lowers the risk of birth defects in the baby. It also boosts the metabolism of carbs, protein and fat, and helps synthesize DNA and red blood cells (3).
  1. Source of antioxidants: The major antioxidants in okra include carotenoids, phenolic compounds, Vitamins C and E. They promote the baby’s immune system, and therefore lower the chances of disease and cardiovascular issues (1).
  1. Packed with fiber: Rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, okra works excellently in abating constipation during pregnancy. Soluble fiber works to lower blood cholesterol and treats diabetes, and insoluble fiber promotes digestion (4).

Okra is not known to cause any side effects during pregnancy, which makes it a vegetable that you must include in your diet during pregnancy.

Keep reading for a breakdown of the nutrients in this vegetable.

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[ Read: How Much Vitamin C Is Safe In Pregnancy? ]

Nutritional Value Of Okra

Nutrients present in 100 grams of okra are as follows (5):

NUTRIENT AMOUNT
Calories 33kcal
Water 89.58g
Carbohydrates 7.45g
Sugars 1.48g
Protein 1.93g
Fiber 3.2g
Fat 0.19g
Vitamins
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 0.200mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 0.060mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3) 1mg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) 0.215mg
Folic acid (Vitamin B9) 60mcg
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 23mg
Retinol (Vitamin A) 716U
Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) 0.27mg
Phylloquinone (Vitamin K) 31.3mcg
Electrolytes
Potassium 299mg
Sodium 7mg
Minerals
Calcium 82mg
Iron 0.62mg
Phosphorus 61mg
Magnesium 57mg
Zinc 0.58mg
Lipids
Total saturated fatty acids 0.026g
Total monounsaturated fatty acids 0.017g
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids 0.027g

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms

In the following section, we tell you how to include okra in your pregnancy diet, along with a few easy recipes that you can try.

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Ways To Include Okra In Pregnancy Diet

Here are some tips and precautions for including okra in your diet.

  • Rinse okra thoroughly before cooking it. It minimizes any risk of infection.
  • Cook on low flame to prevent loss of nutrients.
  • Make delicious finger food by slitting the vegetable in half, coating with gram flour and frying in oil.
  • Frying sliced okra, coated with breadcrumbs, is another way to consume okra.
  • Crush two okras and soak in a glass of water overnight. Consume the water next morning for detoxification and regulating cholesterol levels.

[ Read: Reasons To Take Folic Acid In Pregnancy ]

Some Simple Pregnancy-Friendly Recipes You May Try

1. Okra stew

Okra stew

Image: Shutterstock

Simmered in tomato sauce with cilantro and garlic, this is a flavorful okra stew you will love.

You will need

  • 1 lb okra
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 3 medium-sized onions
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1½ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Red pepper powder to taste

How to make

  1. Boil water over high flame. Cook tomatoes for one minute, and transfer them into another bowl of cold water. Peel and chop.
  2. Add oil to the wide pan, and add onions. Cook until they turn soft. Add tomatoes, water, cilantro, salt and red pepper.
  3. Stir occasionally until the mixture becomes saucy.
  4. Add okra, occasionally stir until they turn tender.
  5. Top with cilantro leaves and you can serve either warm or cold.

Preparation time: 1 hour
Servings: 6

2. Grilled okra

Grilled okra

Image: Shutterstock

A scrumptious yet straightforward okra recipe that makes a great addition to your meal.

You will need

  • 1 pound okra
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

How to make

  1. Put the okra in a grill basket.
  2. Apply olive oil, and place on a grill that is preheated to 450° F
  3. Cook until the peel starts to caramelize, and then turn onto the other side.
  4. Once done, remove and sprinkle salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
  5. Eat when it is warm.

Preparation time: 15min
Servings: 6

Next, we answer a few commonly asked queries about okra while pregnant.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will consuming okra help during labor?

It is believed that okra will increase the chances of easy labor and delivery, but there is no scientific evidence supporting the claim.

2. Does okra cause miscarriage?

No, okra is not known to cause miscarriage and is a safe addition to your pregnancy diet.

3. Is pickled okra safe to eat during pregnancy?

Yes, pickled okra is safe as long as you take in moderation.

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Okra is a superfood with almost no side effects. You might include it every day in your diet with no worry. In case, you notice any allergic reaction to the vegetable, stop its consumption and consult your doctor.

[ Read: Should You Avoid Eggplant In Pregnancy? ]

Have you included okra in your pregnancy diet? Do you know of any easy recipes that our readers can try? If yes, share them in the comment section below.

References

1. Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Okra
2. Trim Healthy Mama Plan by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison
3. Folic Acid factsheet, The university of North Dakota
4. J. Clifford, K. Niebaum, L. Bellows: Dietary Fiber factsheet; Colorado State University

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Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
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