Anyone who likes salads will know that there are not many things more refreshing and energizing after a long day than a nice, tasty salad. It is a healthy, delicious food item that many people incorporate into their daily menu. So, it is not uncommon to be craving salad during pregnancy. But is it safe to have salads during pregnancy?
As with any other food, it is important to be careful when choosing your salads. You need to ensure that it does not contain unhealthy ingredients or bacteria. It can be difficult to navigate this, and you may have many doubts.
This article will shed some light on the topic and explain everything you need to know about having salads during pregnancy.
Can You Eat Salads During Pregnancy?
Yes. By and large, it is usually safe to have salads during pregnancy, thus making them one of the pregnancy superfoods. They often contain several healthy ingredients that can provide you with a lot of the nutrients you need daily, such as greens, salmon, chicken, legumes, nuts, and more.
However, it is important to keep in mind that some salads are not safe. They may contain unhealthy or raw ingredients that can cause serious side effects and complications, from food poisoning to hepatitis. Therefore, try your best to choose cooked salads made from healthy ingredients.
Importance Of Eating Salads During Pregnancy
Despite the risks associated with it, salads can also be incredibly important during pregnancy. Here are a couple of reasons with it is important to have salads,
- They can be eaten at any time of the day, and even snacked on, which makes it easy to prevent the hunger pains that often accompany pregnancy
- Salads have ingredients like vegetables, meat, cheese, nuts, and more, which provide necessary nutrients such as dietary fiber, protein, calcium, and iron
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Manage Loss Of Appetite During Early Pregnancy
5 Benefits Of Eating Salads During Pregnancy
With such a wide variety of ingredients, all providing different nutrients, it is no surprise that eating salads during pregnancy would have many amazing results. Here are 5 of the many benefits of eating salad during pregnancy.
1. Helps maintain weight
When you are pregnant, it is very important to maintain a healthy weight. Too much weight gain, or too little, can cause several complications for you and your baby. Many women report that they have trouble not gaining too much weight during this time, as pregnancy makes them more prone to weight gain.
This is why salads are an amazing food to have during pregnancy. Not only is it very filling and delicious, but it also contains a very low number of calories. Most salads will not cause much weight gain and can help you maintain a healthy weight.
2. Boosts immunity
Pregnancy is a time when you will be a lot more vulnerable and prone to contracting illnesses than usual. Thus, it is important to consume foods that can help enhance your overall immunity.
Salads are such foods. Most salads are rich sources of antioxidants, which are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Thus, eating salads regularly is very beneficial for your immunity.
Having more nutritious salads, like vegetable salad during pregnancy will enhance this benefit.
3. Good for digestion
Pregnancy is a time that is infamous for several digestive and other related issues. Having salads during pregnancy is a good way to combat many of these issues.
Salads often contain ingredients that are rich in dietary fiber. Fiber is crucial for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Regular consumption of salads, therefore, can lead to a healthier digestive system and smoother digestion.
It prevents digestive issues like constipation and encourages proper bowel movements. It also helps prevent many bowel diseases. Another issue salads can solve is bloating, which is a common problem during pregnancy. Eating salads do not cause bloating, making it a very enticing option.
4. Strengthens bones
It is very easy for bone health to deteriorate during pregnancy. This has been linked to a lack of sufficient vitamin K. Salads are very useful in preventing this, as ingredients commonly used in salads (like spinach, watercress, and radicchio) are rich sources of vitamin K.
Many of the ingredients used in salads also contain nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, which are good for bone health (like spinach, kale, etc.).
Related Reading: Spinach During Pregnancy – Benefits, Risks And Precautions
5. Good night’s sleep
Finding it difficult to get a good night’s rest? You are not alone! Many pregnant women report that they find it difficult to sleep properly during pregnancy. However, this is a problem that could be solved by having salads that contain lettuce!
Lettuce contains lactucarium, which is a substance that helps you fall asleep. Thus, having salads during pregnancy regularly can help you sleep better.
Risks And Precautions When Eating Salads During Pregnancy
Of course, along with the benefits, there are also some risks and potential side effects that you need to be mindful of when having salads during pregnancy. Here are a few of them:
1. Chances of contracting salmonella
There are many salads and salad dressings out there that contains raw egg. Raw egg contains the bacteria that cause salmonella, so it is not safe to consume them, especially during pregnancy. So you should avoid salads that use raw eggs, such as potato salad during pregnancy. However, you can have it if you make it without using eggs.
And it’s not just eggs. Salmonella can also be caused by the bacteria on some fruits and vegetables. Therefore, using unclean fruits and vegetables in your salad can increase this risk.
2. Chances of contracting toxoplasmosis
Unclean vegetables, that are still covered in dirt, could contain the toxoplasma parasite. It is this parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Some of the symptoms of toxoplasmosis are headaches, muscle pain, and fever.
These symptoms may not affect you much, and you will recover within a few weeks. However, it can be incredibly harmful to the baby and can cause complications.
3. Chances of contracting E. coli
E. coli, or Escherichia coli, is a bacterium that is harmful to humans. It can cause a lot of problems, from diarrhea to vomiting to cystitis, and more. These symptoms can lead to pregnancy complications and are harmful to you and your baby. This is usually caused by unclean fruits and vegetables.
Related Reading: 6 Spices To Eat And 6 Spices To Avoid During Pregnancy
Most of the risks posed by having salads during pregnancy can easily be dissipated by taking a few simple precautions, like
- Always wash the fruits and vegetables you use thoroughly. This will help prevent infection from bacteria. Make sure to also prep them beforehand (peeling, chopping, etc.)
- Avoid salads that contain raw eggs, raw fish, fish that contain lots of mercury, smoked food, and deli meats
- Make sure any meat or fish used in the salad is well and completely cooked
- If you want to have fruit salad, it is best to have the homemade version. Store-bought or restaurant-made fruit salad may not be very fresh or safely prepared
- Avoid salad bars. They increase the risk of cross-contamination and may cause many types of infections
Tips For Making Best Salad During Pregnancy
While it can become second nature to prepare your ideal salad once you get the hang of it, you may need some practice early on. At first, it can get tricky to figure out which ingredients work best for you.
One thing you need to make sure of is to pick at least one ingredient from the various categories of options. Not only will this greatly increase the nutrients and benefits you receive, but it can also make your salad more flavorful and delicious.
Related Reading: Top 10 Protein-Rich Foods For Pregnancy
Here are the categories and some of the possible options you have to choose from:
Categories Ingredients Greens Lettuce, Baby spinach, Arugula, Cabbage, Kale Fruits Citrus fruits, apples, avocados Vegetables Celery, Carrot, broccoli, corns, Roasted sweet potato, Roasted beets Protein Cheese, Lentils, Chicken or beef (chopped or shredded), Hard-boiled eggs (chopped), Edamame, cooked beans, shrimps, tuna Tuna. Crunchy add on Nuts, seeds, deep-fried veggies, Onions (raw, sauteed, or caramelized) Chewy add on Dried fruits, quinoa, barley, millets, Dressing Olive oil + lemon juice, Olive oil + Apple cider vinegar + Honey, Minced garlic + olive oil, maple syrup+ lemon juice, Honey + lemon juice, Balsamic vinegar + minced garlic
Top 5 Salads During Pregnancy
A salad has the potential to be one of the best things you can have during pregnancy. However, there are a variety of things to consider and precautions to take when having salads during pregnancy.
There are also many kinds of salads to choose from. Some may not be very safe, whereas others are incredibly beneficial. It is essential to choose the ones that are good for you.
So, to help you choose, here are 5 of the best salads during pregnancy
1. Tomato and cucumber salad
Tomato Cucumber salad is one of the most popular types of salad, and for good reason. The cool, refreshing cucumber coupled with the sweet, delicious tomatoes make for an incredibly healthy and tasty meal.
Tomatoes are very rich in Lycopene, vitamin C, K, A, and potassium. Cucumbers are 95.2% water. Also according to a source cucumbers contain antioxidants, dietary fiber, and potassium, and will also help you stay hydrated.
2. Fruit salads
Fruit Salad is yet another salad that you might have heard of, as it is very commonly consumed. It is a salad that is made entirely out of a wide variety of fruits, not counting toppings.
They are safe to consume during pregnancy, as long as you choose fruits that you can safely eat during this time. They are often juicy, incredibly nutritious, and always delicious.
Related Reading: 15 Fruits Not To Eat During Pregnancy
3. Broccoli salad
This may not come as a surprise to you, as broccoli during pregnancy is renowned for being very nutritious. Broccoli salad is easily one of the healthiest salads you can eat when pregnant.
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. They are also incredibly low-calorie. According to a study 100 grams of broccoli contains a mere 34 calories. This can be very helpful when you are pregnant.
4. Paneer- Channa salads
Cheese is a commonly used and tasty ingredient in many salads. However, when you are pregnant, the risk of contracting listeria becomes higher, so it is advised that pregnant women do not consume salads with cheese. This is why Paneer is often used as an alternative. It is safer and just as delicious.
Channa, also known as chickpeas, are very nutritious. According to a source they are a rich source of potassium, folate, calcium, and dietary fiber.
Thus, Paneer-Channa salad is one of the healthiest salads during pregnancy.
Related Reading: 9 Types Of Cheeses To Avoid During Pregnancy
5. Grain and legumes salads
Legumes are known for being rich in proteins and iron. Whole grains, too, are very nutritious. These are also largely safe to consume during pregnancy. Thus, it is no surprise that a Grain and Legume Salad is a perfect choice for a pregnant woman. You can also add in some corn, capsicum, or sweet potatoes to enhance the flavor.
If a delicious way to keep up with your nutrition requirements is what you are looking for, having salads during pregnancy is a great option. Having a salad each day can bring you many incredible benefits.
Making sure to follow a few precautions, like washing the ingredients beforehand and preparing them at home, can go a long way in ensuring a safe, healthy experience for you.
When having salads during pregnancy, it is best to avoid raw eggs, raw fish, fish that contain lots of mercury, smoked seafood, and deli meats. These ingredients are all dangerous during pregnancy.
While you can safely have meat and meat salads, make sure it is cooked thoroughly. If you are having a seafood salad, ensure it is not smoked. You should also ensure that the fish used is not high in mercury. Thus, you should practice moderation when having salads like tuna salad during pregnancy.
Caesar salad is usually made using raw eggs. Raw eggs contain the risk of salmonella and are not at all safe for pregnant women.
However, if you make Caesar salad without an egg, there is no reason why you cannot eat it.
Yes, it is safe to eat iceberg lettuce. It is even beneficial. According to a source, it is full of vitamin A, C, K, calcium, potassium, and folate . Thus, it can provide you with several health benefits.