You will hardly find a person who is not fond of eating okra. Okra is one such vegetable which is available around the year, and its nutritional goodness has made it a boon for pregnant ladies. Eating ladyfinger during pregnancy helps in many ways, and whether you eat it boiled, skewed, grilled, or fried, you will be able to reap the nutrients it contains. Though famously known as okra or ladyfinger, it has many other names such as bhindi, gumbo, etc. See how eating okra while pregnant will help you have a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the mother’s body needs essential nutrients to ensure the healthy growth of the fetus. While the goodness of fruits and vegetables is known to all, some expectant mothers wonder if okra is good during pregnancy. The answer is definitely yes as even several centuries ago; okra was considered to be a very versatile vegetable that is packed with beneficial properties. Okra is loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients, and its goodness has made it a part of must-have in pregnancy diet in different parts of the world.
Is Okra Good for Pregnant Women?
Okra is a nutritious pod vegetable which is good for pregnancy. Eating okra during pregnancy will help you obtain various nutrients such as folic acid, fibre, protein, carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, etc. vital for pregnancy. Even if you consume okra in any form whether cooked, fried, roasted or grilled, you will still be able to reap the maximum nutrients stored in it.
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Nutritional Values of Okra in Pregnancy:
The following are the nutrients found in consuming 100g of Okra.
- Energy 33Kcal
- Water 89.58g
- Carbohydrates 7.45g
- Protein 1.93g
- Fat 0.19g
- Sugar 148g
- Dietary Fiber 3.2g
- Thiamin (B1) 0.2mg
- Riboflavin (B2) 0.060mg
- Niacin (B3) 1mg
- Pyridoxine (B6) 0.215mg
- Folic Acid (B9) 60mcg
- Vitamin A 716U
- E Vitamin 0.27mg
- Vitamin C 23mg
- Vitamin K 31.3mcg
- Potassium 299mg
- Sodium 7mg
- Calcium 82mg
- Phosphorous 61mg
- Iron 0.62mg
- Zinc 0.58mg
- Magnesium 57mg
Benefits of Okra (Lady Finger) During Pregnancy:
Okra is rightly termed as the nutritional powerhouse and finds its place in both culinary and medicinal purposes. Eating okra during pregnancy is vital for the healthy development of the growing fetus. It has a unique taste and is particularly beneficial when consumed during the first trimester. Take a look at some of these excellent benefits of okra during pregnancy:
1. Rich in Dietary Fiber:
Fibre is very important for easing bowel problems, which are very common during pregnancy. Okra is a rich source of both soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. According to some recent findings, soluble fibre prevents diabetes and helps to lower blood cholesterol levels whereas insoluble fibre aids in the functioning of the digestive system.
2. Rich Source of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is very important for a baby’s growth. It aids in the absorption of iron and helps in strengthening the immune system of the body. A bowl of okra gives 13mg of vitamin C. During pregnancy vitamin C also helps in the development of bone, skin and blood vessels of the baby. A healthy dose of this essential vitamin also helps in eliminating cardiovascular problems.
3. Rich in Antioxidants:
According to the finding that was published in various nutrition journals, okra has a much higher content of antioxidants when compared to other green vegetables. These beneficial properties of okra help to restrict the ability of free radicals in damaging the DNA and cell tissues. It was further found that the absence of antioxidants such as copper, zinc, and manganese can result in restricted fetal growth, and also increase the risk of cardiovascular and type-2 diabetes in the child.
4. Good Source of Folic Acid:
Folate or folic acid in the body aids with the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It was stated that okra during pregnancy, a woman requires 400 mg of folate daily and a ½ cup of okra provides 37 mg of this requirement. Folate is also essential for the normal growth of your baby in the womb. Women who meet the daily requirement of folate are less prone to developing any neural tube defects in their children.
5. Get a Good Sleep:
Okra contains essential amino acids, namely tryptophan, which improves the mental health of a person and aids in getting good sleep. Sleep is a problem during pregnancy and hence eating okra can ease things a bit.
6. Eliminate Toxins From The Body:
Okra also helps in flushing out toxins from the body. Also, the mucus and the fibres in the okra help in stabilising blood glucose.
7. Controls Hair Fall:
During pregnancy, women complain of excessive hair fall. This can be controlled considerably by consuming okra.
Factors To Be Considered:
Okra is not only loaded with powerful nutrients; it is also low in calories, making it a healthier choice of food for expectant mothers. The goodness of versatile vegetables can be beneficial provided it is consumed in moderation. Eating an excessive amount of okra during pregnancy may cause some complications and hence should be taken in moderation. It is best to consult your doctor about the required dose of vegetables.
Eating right will mean a happy baby and an enjoyable pregnancy period. So, next time when you feel hungry, think twice before laying your hands on unhealthier snacks, and rather take some time to cook delicacies from okra. Besides satiating your taste buds, okra also gives plenty of health benefits for you and your baby.
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How to Add Lady Finger to Pregnancy Diet:
There are numerous ways in which you can add ladyfinger to the pregnancy diet.
- You can prepare numerous vegetables from okra with varied combinations such as okra and onion, masala okra, stir-fried okra, etc.
- Kurkuri Bhindi is a very delicious and healthy starter and a sure recipe to satisfy your taste buds. Just slit the okra into thin slices, dip it in Bengal gram batter and deep fry.
- You can also detoxify your body by drinking okra water. Simply crush two okras soak them in a glass of water overnight and drink this water in the morning on an empty stomach.
Simple Recipes to Include Okra in a Pregnancy Diet:
Following are the two simple recipes for okra to enable you to eat okra while pregnant and even satisfy your taste buds.
1. Kurkuri Bhindi:
- 250gm bhindi
- 1tsp lemon juice
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1/4tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2tsp jeera powder
- 1/2tsp coriander powder
- 1/4tsp turmeric powder
- 2tsp Bengal gram flour
- 1/2tsp chat masala
- Oil to fry
- Wash the bhindi nicely and wipe them.
- Cut each bhindi vertically into four pieces and remove all the seeds from it and place in a bowl.
- Now add salt and lime juice and mix the bhindi nicely.
- Add red chilli powder, jeera powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and Bengal gram and mix nicely so that each bhindi is covered with the gram flour batter.
- Heat oil in a deep pan.
- Keep the stove on high flame and deep fry the bhindi until golden brown.
- Add the chat masala on top and serve hot and crispy.
2. Punjabi Bhindi Masala:
This is a very famous Indian-style recipe for cooking okra. The following is the recipe
- 4tbsp vegetable oil
- 500g bhindi washed, wiped and chopped
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1cup finely chopped onions
- 1cup chopped tomatoes
- 1tsp grated ginger
- 1tsp minced garlic
- 2tsp coriander powder
- 1tsp turmeric powder
- one tsp red chilli powder
- 1tsp dry mango powder
- Salt to taste
- Wash the bhindi nicely under running tap water and wipe it nicely to soak all the water.
- Chop them into small pieces.
- In a pan heat the 1tbsp oil.
- Add the bhindi and fry them until slightly crisp.
- Take the bhindi on a plate.
- Now heat the remaining oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and allow it to crackle.
- Now add the onion and cook until they turn pinkish in colour.
- Add ginger and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Now add the tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are soft and mushy.
- Now add the bhindi and turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and cover the lid and cook for 10-12 minutes on low heat.
- Remove the lid and increase the flame.
- Add dry mango powder and cook for another minute.
- Serve hot with chapatti or paratha.
From the health benefits mentioned above, it can be understood that eating ladyfinger during pregnancy is very healthy and nutritious for both mother and the unborn. So, don’t think much and make it a point you include it in your pregnancy diet to enjoy a healthy and blissful pregnancy. Just make sure you don’t overeat as the thumb rule of pregnancy ‘anything in excess is harmful’ still applies.
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Q1: Is it Safe to Eat Lady Finger in Early Pregnancy?
Ans: It is good to eat ladyfinger for pregnancy, be it in any trimester. Lady’s finger is rich in folate and consuming it during early pregnancy assures that there is no neural side effect in the child. There are numerous other benefits, too, which can be obtained by eating a ladyfinger during pregnancy.
Q2: Are There Any Side Effects and Allergies Caused Due to Eating Okra during Pregnancy?
Ans: Okra is very healthy for pregnancy. But as the general rule says anything in excess can be harmful, and the same applies to the consumption of okra too. Okra is rich in fructans, and excessive consumption of okra can cause bloating, gas, diarrhoea and other bowel-related problems.
Q3: Is Eating Okra Helpful in Pregnancy Labor?
Ans: There is a general belief that okra eases labour and increases the chances of normal delivery. However, there is no scientific evidence behind this theory.