It is of utmost importance during pregnancy to watch what you eat and focus on being healthy. So it goes without saying that you will be wondering if you can safely consume several foods like potatoes during pregnancy.
Potatoes, especially in places like India, are an almost irremovable and incredibly common part of people’s diets. They are incredibly tasty and incredibly nutritious. If you are a lover of potatoes, and even if you are not, craving potatoes during pregnancy is not uncommon.
On the other hand, it is one of the most popular foods for expecting women all over. But is it safe? What are the benefits and side effects? Can it harm the fetus? Can it harm you? This article sheds some light on such topics.
Nutritional Value Of Potatoes
Fresh potatoes are rich in water content. Potatoes are mainly composed of carbs and contain moderate amounts of protein and fiber. It carries almost no fat and is low in calories. Other nutritional facts of potatoes are:
- Potatoes are loaded with antioxidants
- They are an excellent source of potassium
- This root vegetable contains a significant amount of calcium, magnesium, and folate
- One unskinned potato meets more than 40% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and about half the Vitamin B6 needed for the day
- It is rich in fiber. The unique fiber found in potatoes carries health benefits of both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber and generates less gas than other types of fiber
Related Reading: Top 10 Protein-Rich Foods For Pregnancy
Is It Safe To Eat Potatoes During Pregnancy?
Yes, potatoes are safe and beneficial to be consumed while pregnant. That is, only if you never cross the moderation mark. Also, it is important to follow a safe cooking method when you include potatoes in the pregnancy diet. Not all potato dishes are healthy during pregnancy.
However, eating boiled potato during pregnancy or having freshly made potato soup during pregnancy is perfectly safe. However, when it comes to potato wedges during pregnancy, you should make sure it is well cleaned. Also, opt for baking rather than deep frying.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Potatoes During Pregnancy?
Potatoes are a storehouse of energy and nutrition. They are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and vital organic compounds that are highly beneficial during pregnancy. Read on to know the top benefits of consuming potatoes during pregnancy.
1. You can reap all the benefits of potassium
Potassium is one of the essential nutrients during pregnancy. It helps to retain electrolytic balance. It is also important to regulate blood pressure. Potassium deficiency can bring about many serious issues during pregnancy.
The concentration of potassium is highest in the skin of the potato and just beneath it. According to the source, one medium-sized baked potato with skin provides 926 mg potassium. Therefore, eating the potato retaining the potato skin during pregnancy is always beneficial.
2. Helps to prevents neural tube defects
One of the common questions in many health forums is “Is Potato good for early pregnancy?” Well, if you crave potatoes during early pregnancy, you can certainly have them. Potatoes are an excellent source of folic acid.
Folic acid is imperative for the development of the fetal nervous system. Eating potatoes during early pregnancy lowers the risk of neural tube defects and also may help to prevent miscarriage
3. Potatoes during pregnancy provide much-needed energy
Potatoes are more energy-packed than many of the popular vegetables. Being rich in carbohydrates, they can provide instant energy when you are down with fatigue during pregnancy.
4. Boosts immunity and prevents anemia
Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C. According to a source, 100 grams of baked potatoes contain around 17 mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C not only helps to increase your immunity incredibly, but it also helps with iron absorption. Also, potassium has a noteworthy amount of iron. This way, eating potatoes during pregnancy can help to prevent anemia.
5. Helps with overall fetal development
Potatoes are highly nutritious. They carry all the vital minerals (like calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium) essential for the healthy development of the fetus. Potatoes also contain vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin A that are important for the growth and development of the fetus.
6. Potatoes facilitate digestion and helps to reduce gas and acidity
Potatoes are easy to digest. As they are loaded with fiber, eating potatoes during pregnancy helps to combat constipation. Eating a small bowl of mashed potato is an easy way to reduce acidity during pregnancy.
What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Potatoes During Pregnancy?
Anything in excess should be avoided- pregnant or not. If you cross the moderation limit or if it is coupled with other high fiber and starchy foods, potatoes can trigger some side effects. Jotting down some common side effects of eating potatoes during pregnancy
1. Contributes to excess weight gain
Excessive consumption of potatoes, especially if paired with other high glycemic carbohydrates like rice, white bread, etc. can contribute to unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy.
Also, consuming potatoes with large quantities of butter, sour cream, or cheese, also makes you gain weight. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy contributes to many issues that hinder the normal and healthy progression of the pregnancy.
2. Potatoes can trigger gastrointestinal issues
Potatoes are rich in fiber. And it is beneficial and one or two serves of potatoes are not problematic. However, if the expecting woman incorporates it into her diet suddenly after following a low-fiber diet for quite some time or pairs it with other high fiber food it can trigger some gastrointestinal issues.
Related Reading: Top 10 Food Cravings When Pregnant With A Girl
Excessive intake of fiber can create issues such as gas, abdominal cramping, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Points to remember before using potatoes during pregnancy
Whatever you eat or drink during pregnancy will influence not only your health but the health of the fetus as well. Here are some safety tips to follow before consuming potatoes during pregnancy.
- Making sure you choose the right potatoes will help you avoid any side effects while getting the benefits. So select fresh, firm, clean potatoes for your needs. Make sure they are free of blemishes, green/black spots, sprouts, and cuts
- Make sure you cook the potatoes safely and healthily. Cooking it the right way can make all the difference in the world, and will give you maximum benefits. So, avoid unhealthy dishes such as fried chips. Also, try to avoid cooking your potatoes with cheese and butter
- Remember that while it is common practice to skin the potato, the skin is a rich source of potassium. So try to eat with the skin on. This is also why it is very important to buy potatoes that have clean, safe, blemish-free skin
- Buy organic potatoes, as the pesticides and toxins used on the other kinds are very dangerous
- Wash potatoes thoroughly before cooking them
Ways to Incorporate Potatoes In Your Pregnancy Diet
You may be wondering, with all these rules and precautions, if it is even worth it to consume potatoes during pregnancy. It may seem impossible to be able to enjoy it in a delicious way. But that is not the case. There are several ways you can make the potatoes delicious, while still getting all the health benefits.
While it is not wise to fry your potatoes, you can still bake, boil, and steam them. Dishes like mashed potatoes are still okay for you to eat. You can combine them with other dishes, such as soups, stews, fish, meat, and vegetables. Potato soup during pregnancy and potato curry during pregnancy are equally healthy and beneficial.
Feel free to make potato salads and other dishes with leafy greens. You can add various herbs, spices, vegetables, and even eggs to give your potato dish a nice flavor. Whatever your taste and craving are, there is a way to healthily incorporate them.
Can eat potatoes during pregnancy trigger gestational diabetes?
Potatoes are loaded with starch. As the body absorbs starch fast, it can adversely affect glucose metabolism. According to studies, excessive consumption of, potatoes can increase the concentrations of plasma glucose. This can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus
However, the study further emphasizes that having potatoes in moderation and swapping them with other vegetables, legumes, and whole grains brings down the risk of GD. Having one serving of potato per week can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes significantly.
Does craving potatoes during pregnancy tell something about the baby’s gender?
You may have heard some elders in your family talking about “craving potatoes during pregnancy” gender reveals. Many people believe that craving potatoes during pregnancy means that your baby is a boy. However, this is merely an old wives’ tale and has no scientific basis. And there is no harm in having some fun!
Do Chinese potatoes carry the same health benefits as normal potatoes?
Even though the name carries “potato” Chinese potatoes come from a different family. However, this root-vegetable smells and tastes different than potatoes. The texture also varies. However Chinese potato during pregnancy is also a healthy choice as it is loaded with vital minerals and nutrients.
Is it safe to eat sprouted potatoes during pregnancy?
Avoiding sprouts is incredibly important when consuming potatoes while pregnant. They contain high levels of glycol-alkaloids, which are toxic for humans. This means that it is unhealthy for both you and the baby. Eating sprouted potatoes during pregnancy increases the chance of birth defects.
Is it safe to eat potato salad during pregnancy?
It is safe to eat potato salad during pregnancy, but only as long as you prepare it yourself at home. Avoid store-bought potato salads during this time.
This is because there are too many variables when it comes to store-bought salads. They are most probably neither fresh nor stored properly.
There is also a chance of them not being prepared well. Incorrect preparation can increase the chances of it being contaminated by listeria, which are bacteria that cause listeriosis. It is a disease that can affect both mother and child, as the placenta won’t be able to stop it.
So, for these reasons, avoid store-bought potato salads and prepare some at home, for yourself.
Potatoes are very commonly consumed and are an essential ingredient in several dishes. It is not easy or practical to avoid them completely. You can reap all its benefits by keeping a tab on its consumption.
Make sure you only eat them in moderation. Also take precautions mentioned here such as, choosing clean and fresh ones and choosing safe and healthy cooking methods. Ensure they are free of black spots.
If something concerns you, or you think something is amiss, you can always consult your doctor. As long as you do all that, you will be able to enjoy the deliciousness of potatoes, while reaping all the benefits!