Can pregnant women eat hummus? This question is a subject of great debate as many consider hummus to be a healthy snack during pregnancy while others suggest its consumption with a word of caution. So why this great debate at all? What nutritional value does hummus provide? What might be its ill effects and what precautions are to be taken before its consumption? Let’s answer all these questions and quash away all your concerns regarding the consumption of hummus during pregnancy.
What is Hummus?
Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dish. It is a mild flavored cream made up of a blend of pureed chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini. It is mainly used as a dip or spread.
Benefits of Hummus
Is Hummus safe during pregnancy? There are absolutely no misgivings regarding the nutritional value of hummus. There are numerous benefits of eating hummus during pregnancy. Some benefits are listed below.
a. Abundance of Protein:
Just a tablespoon of hummus contains 1.2 grams of protein. Protein is essential for the growth of the fetus inside the mother’s body, as it helps in rapid cell division stimulating growth.
b. Abundance of Fiber:
As much as 1 gram of dietary fiber is found in 1 tablespoon of hummus. As constipation is quite common during pregnancy, excess of fiber consumption provides relief. Moreover, it regulates the bowel movement as well.
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c. Abundance of Folic Acid:
Deficiency of folic acid in the fetus may prevent the baby’s neural tube from closing, causing birth defects that include spina bifida. Thus, it is an absolutely necessary nutrient during pregnancy.
d. Abundance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are the building blocks of the fetal brain and retina, and have to be taken aplenty to ensure healthy growth of the child.
e. Presence of Other Nutrients:
Apart from the above nutrients, hummus also contains calcium, iron and potassium. Calcium is crucial for bone development, iron regulates the blood supply and potassium helps in the development of the brain. These nutrients are of utmost importance for fetal growth.
Possible Danger of Hummus Consumption:
Hummus, especially the packaged ones, may contain the bacteria Listeria Monocytogenes. This might cause the dangerous food borne illness Listeriosis, which is the only reason hummus during pregnancy is discouraged by many. Though the bacterium is harmless to most adults, anyone with a weakened immune system or pregnant women or newborns are prone to the bacteria and might develop serious illness. Especially for pregnant women, it can lead to disastrous consequences like stillbirth, miscarriage or premature delivery.
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Thus, it is recommended that pregnant women have homemade hummus. If it has been bought from the store, try to consume it within three days.
General Symptoms of listeriosis:
- Swollen Face
- Cold and Cough
It is highly recommended to consult the doctor in case any of these symptoms are observed, for the sake of well-being of both the mother and the child. Prevention is always better than cure. And the pain of causing damage to the baby will never let you live in peace. So visiting the doctor in time is always the best advice.
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Apart from the possibility of listeriosis due to the contamination of hummus, there is absolutely no problem in eating hummus during pregnant. The benefits of hummus are way more than the drawbacks, and precautionary consumption will ensure that you give birth to a healthy, hearty and happy baby!
Keep your fears and the risk of infection at bay by making hummus at home. Here’s the simplest way to make hummus:
You Will Need:
- 2 cups organic chickpeas
- 1-cup tahini
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Soak the chickpeas overnight.
- Boil the chickpeas for two hours. Strain and leave it aside.
- Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor along with the other ingredients.
- Serve with veggie sticks.
Did you eat hummus during your pregnancy? Share your experiences with us!