Lentils are a power-packed source of nutrition for the body. Eating lentils during pregnancy can benefit the baby and the mother equally. One of the essential things your body requires when you are pregnant is folate. Lentils are enriched with folate, making them even more desirable. While there are several foods prescribed during pregnancy, mothers should eat lentils when pregnant. Lentils are loaded with nutrients like potassium, calcium, Vitamin K, iron, lean protein and fibres, to name a few. Their size and colour will vary depending on where they come from. However, their nutritional levels remain the same.
What are Lentils, and How is it Useful for Pregnancy?
Lentils are grains that come in different shapes. Some of them are small; some are lentil beans while some are of larger size. Lentils good for pregnancy include any or all of the three. If the calorie intake of yours really worries you and if you are bothered that your body is not receiving the right amount of minerals, fibre and iron, lentils are the answer. They are power-packed and will keep you energized. Lentils also help in improving the biological function of the brain.
Health Benefits of Lentils During Pregnancy:
Lentils are aptly termed as superfood during pregnancy. They are the powerhouse of proteins, essential amino acids and micronutrients. According to the reports published by The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, including lentils in your daily diet considerably reduces the risk of potential medical problems. Take a look at these amazing health benefits that you get by eating lentils during pregnancy.
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1. Prevents Anemia:
One of the best way to prevent anaemia, a very common thing during pregnancy is to have a healthy serve of lentils. They are rich in iron and eating a cup of lentils daily meets 38% of the total iron requirement in women.
2. Keeps blood pressure in check:
It contains potassium. Potassium is a good way to keep blood pressure under control. The other benefit of potassium is to ensure proper blood circulation to the body.
3. Prevents Constipation:
A very common thing to experience in pregnancy is constipation. Lentils are rich in fibre, thus ensuring a clear and smooth bowel movement. ½ cup of lentils gives 8 grams of fibres. Fibres also assist in lowering the risk of intestinal tract disorders. It can also keep obesity at bay.
4. Reduces the Risk of Birth Defects:
Lentils are a powerhouse of Vitamin B-complex. Folic acids are known to prevent the occurrence of congenital disabilities such as spina bifida and anencephaly. The folic acids in lentils also assist in the development of new cells in the body. Folic acids also play a major role in maintaining homocysteine levels.
5. Lowers the Risk of Migraine During Pregnancy:
Migraines can be treated with vitamin B5, one that is contained in lentils. Including a healthy dose of lentils will, therefore, keep migraine and stress away.
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Helpful Tips Regarding Lentils:
Lentils are packed with nutrients, but it becomes important to ensure that these vital properties are retained in the cooking process. While preparing lentils, it is good to soak them in water for sometime before using. Also when you boil lentils do not overcook them as they tend to lose their goodness and taste. You can even cook together lentils with citrus fruits like lemon, oranges and tangerines to make it healthier. The Vitamin C content in citrus fruits aids in better absorption of iron.
Knowing the right information about the nutritional value of different foods will make the 9-month long journey of pregnancy more enjoyable. Eating lentils in pregnancy will give you multiple health benefits besides keeping a check on unwanted weight gain. While eating right is important during pregnancy, it does mean you need to follow it rigidly.
Tips for Cooking Lentils in Pregnancy?
Can pregnant women eat lentils? They sure can! Here are some tips you may want to follow when cooking.
- You do not really have to soak the lentils. Cook them like your normal pasta, in a bowl of boiling water.
- Remember not to boil them for long. If you do so, they may lose their power.
- Simmer the gas for about 30 minutes, and it is advisable that you taste them every now and then to check if the lentils are cooked.
- You can also add to the lentils, some crushed pepper and salt for an added flavour and taste.
But what can you make out of lentils?
Lentil Soup During Pregnancy:
This is one best way to eat your lentils. Add a few drops of oil. When the oil becomes hot, add some crushed garlic and herbs to it. To this, add chicken broth and allow it simmer for 5 minutes. Now add your lentils and allow all of it to simmer for about 30 minutes. When it is almost done, add salt, crushed black pepper and thyme. To your broth, you can also add carrots for an extra dose of vitamin intake. Serve it hot.
Best Lentil List to Take During Pregnancy:
While there are many varieties of lentils, not all are considered safe to be eaten during pregnancy. Some of these pulses are difficult to digest and may cause stomach disorders. The best and most recommended lentils during pregnancy are:
- Moong Dal
- Urad Dal
- Chick Peas
- Masoor Dal
- Toor dal
- Kidney Bean
- Black Eyed Peas
While not all lentils need soaking, some of them sure do. Soak your chickpeas overnight. Kidney beans also have to be soaked. Each of them contains a high dose of energy, supplying ingredients that will keep you full for a longer time. Therefore, lentils are good for pregnancy and make sure you are going through the healthy track.
Lentils and pregnancy are a perfect combo to combat any stress or diseases that you may face during pregnancy. A healthy dose of lentils in any form is sure a magic portion for the body — time to add lentils into your diet chart for pregnancy.