Okra during pregnancy can be quite a wonderful addition to your pregnancy diet. Okra is popularly known as “lady’s finger”. It is a biologically classified fruit that boasts quite an impressive nutritional profile. It also offers a number of benefits for pregnant women.
Okra During Pregnancy- Is It Safe?
Some of the most commonly asked questions regarding okra are “Is okra good during early pregnancy?”, “Are there any side effects of okra during pregnancy?” and so on. As it goes with most other such foods often recommended to pregnant women, the answer is rather simple – moderation is key.
When consumed in moderate amounts, they can offer a plethora of benefits that can go a long way in taking care of both you as well as your child, making it one of the pregnancy superfoods. It is also perfectly safe to consume ladies’ fingers during pregnancy first trimester as well. Just be sure to consult your doctor or dietician regarding the appropriate amounts of consumption for yourself, as consuming even okra in excess can potentially lead to some unwanted side effects.
Nutritional Profile Of Okra During Pregnancy
A pregnant woman can benefit greatly from consuming okra, which is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to a source, it is rich in magnesium, folate, fiber, and antioxidants. It has a considerable amount of vitamin C and vitamin K. It has a decent amount of manganese and calcium as well. The vegetable also contains traces of copper, zinc, iron, and phosphorus.
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6 Benefits Of Eating Okra During Pregnancy
As mentioned above, okras have a rather extensive and impressive nutritional profile. As such, it should come as no surprise that they offer no small number of benefits to both you and your child during pregnancy. Some of these advantages of consuming okras during pregnancy are given below:
1. Okra during pregnancy helps boost immunity
It is not uncommon for pregnant women to lose a little of their immunity due to their increased nutritional demands. This can potentially leave them susceptible to a number of ailments. Okras are rich in vitamin C, which is a wonderful immunity booster. Therefore, it can greatly help reduce the risk of contracting common infections during pregnancy. The antioxidant properties of okra are also well known1. Including okra in the pregnancy diet will help to boost your immunity during pregnancy and make your immune system strong & healthy.
2. Okra during pregnancy helps improve bowel movements
The high fiber content of okra2 promotes gut health. In addition to adding bulk to the food, fiber also facilitates its passage through the intestine smoothly. Thus, the addition of okra to your diet will help prevent constipation during pregnancy along with bloating, and flatulence.
3. It helps with healthy weight management
Okra is considered to be a healthy weight loss food due to its high fiber, low glycemic index, and low-fat content3. The consumption of okra during pregnancy is a great way to manage healthy weight gain. This is especially helpful for women who face complications due to excess weight gain during pregnancy.
4. It helps lower blood cholesterol levels
According to studies, the seeds of the okra plant contain strong antihypertensive and antihyperlipidemic properties. Aside from that, okra is rich in magnesium, an essential nutrient for maintaining and regulating blood pressure. Potassium, another element found in okra, contributes to reducing blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and arteries.
5. Okra during pregnancy helps control blood sugar levels
Okra is well known for its anti-diabetic diabetes property4. Okra’s high content of soluble and insoluble fibers, along with its low glycemic index, makes it an ideal food for pregnant women with gestational diabetes. Also, the fiber in okra helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
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6. Okra helps reduce the risk of a neural tube defect
Folate (vitamin B9) is a crucial nutrient during pregnancy. It lowers the risk of fetal neural tube defects. Okra is a good source of folate5.
5 Disadvantages Of Eating Okra During Pregnancy
As mentioned above, not even okra is perfect and can prove to have certain disadvantages and side effects for certain people, particularly when consumed in excess. It is worth noting these side effects so as to work towards avoiding them as best you can. Some of these disadvantages of eating okra are:
1. Possible allergies
Allergies are all too common these days. Most people are likely to discover that they are allergic to a few, if not many different foods. Reactions to such allergies include rashes, itching, breathing problems, and so on. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that it is not uncommon for certain women to be allergic to okra.
These allergies may be all the more dangerous during pregnancy, as they can potentially affect the baby’s health as well. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you consult your doctor before adding okras into your diet, and update them consistently if you notice any potentially allergy-induced symptoms.
2. Okra during pregnancy might cause kidney stones
Okra contains a rather generous number of oxalates. When it comes to developing kidney stones, one of the most common causes is calcium oxalate. As it goes with all oxalate-rich foods, consuming okras, especially in excess quantities can potentially lead to the formation of a kidney stone.
3. It can potentially lead to inflammation and other ailments
Solanine is a rather toxic compound that is known to cause joint pain, inflammation, arthritis, and so on. And this solanine happens to be found in okra. Pregnant women are already at risk of inflammation, particularly during the later trimesters. Due to its solanine content, consuming okra in excess can potentially increase the odds of contracting these ailments, and so it should be consumed only in optimal amounts.
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4. Okra during pregnancy can potentially lead to stomach problems
Being rich in fiber, okra can greatly help the digestion process when consumed in moderation. However, as is the case with mostly any kind of food, consuming it in excess tends to have an adverse effect. Excess consumption of okra, particularly during pregnancy, can lead to increased bowel problems, especially in women suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, due to its high fructan content.
5. It can potentially cause blood clotting
Okra is rather rich in vitamin K, which goes a long way in helping the blood clot. This can have a rather undesirable effect on pregnant women, particularly those on blood-thinning drugs like Coumadin.
Risks And Precautions While Eating Lady Finger During Pregnancy
As stated above, consuming okras during pregnancy is not without its risks, particularly if consumed in excess amounts. That being said, it is also worth noting that there are certain precautions that you can take in order to mitigate said risks and get the maximum nutritional value from okras that you possibly can. Some of these risks are listed below:
- Okras are known to be a rather common allergen and can cause an allergic reaction in some people
- They can interfere with other medication that you might be taking – for example, they can cause blood clotting in people who take blood-thinning drugs
- Consuming okras in excess can lead to a number of side effects including inflammation, digestive issues, joint pains, and so on. Consuming okra during pregnancy in the third trimester, in particular, can increase the odds of such side effects
There are a number of things to keep in mind, and precautions you can take in order to reduce these risks considerably. A few such precautions are listed below:
- Consult your doctor before introducing okra into your diet
- If you notice the signs of allergic reactions, contact your doctor immediately
- Consume okra in moderation. Excess consumption can have side effects. Your doctor or dietician can help you with this
- Procure the fresh okra, from a reliable source
- Be sure to clean them properly before preparing them
How To Incorporate Okra In A Pregnancy Diet?
You can add okra to your diet in a number of different ways. There is no shortage in the number of recipes you can find online, as it is a rather popular ingredient, particularly in Indian households. They are used in a number of varied, diverse dishes and are more or less a staple in a number of regional Indian cuisines.
Okra can be prepared as part of curries, soups, and stews, or as part of dishes like fried okras, masala okra, and so on. You can even roast okra seeds to make a wonderful, nutritious snack. Okra water is another wonderful, healthy source of nutrition that offers a number of health benefits, and is rather popular among pregnant women. It is also a rather potent detoxifying agent.
Just be sure to clean them properly before cooking in order to avoid the risk of infections. It is also strongly advised that you cook them on low heat in order to preserve the essential nutrients.
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To conclude, okras can make a wonderful addition to your pregnancy diet, though they are not without their side effects. However, with proper precautions against allergies, and if taken in moderation, it is quite a generous source of nutrition that offers a plethora of health benefits for both you and your baby.
It is indeed, perfectly safe to consume okra water during pregnancy. Okra water even offers a number of benefits such as improved digestion, lowering blood sugar levels, healthy weight loss, and so on.
Just to be sure, consult your doctor or dietician before you do so.
One of the most commonly asked queries regarding okra among pregnant women is “is okra good during early pregnancy?”. It is commonly found that there aren’t generally any issues when it comes to consuming okra in the early stages of pregnancy.
However, it can still potentially trigger an allergic reaction or have other side effects when consumed in excess. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you take some caution and consult your doctor beforehand.
As mentioned above, there aren’t too many risks to consuming okra, at least not in moderation. That being said, it is still a rather common allergen for many people.
It is vital that you avoid consuming okra at any cost if you are allergic, as the consequences can be rather dire. In case you aren’t aware that you are allergic, be sure to consult your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an allergic reaction.