Pregnancy is an exciting phase and delicate time for any woman. Healthy eating should be a priority during this period. Pregnancy requires an extra dose of nutrients for the growth of the baby in the womb. Most often, healthy eaters won’t need to make any major dietary changes. A pregnant woman, however, may question the safety of everything she eats. Is pumpkin harmful during pregnancy? Well, each pregnancy is different, as is every person’s reaction to different kinds of food. Here, we will examine the benefits and side effects of eating pumpkin during pregnancy, as well as how it can be incorporated into your pregnancy diet.
Nutritional Value Of Pumpkin
A pumpkin is one of the superfoods during pregnancy as it is a very nutritional food and is an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and minerals such as iron, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc. It is low in sodium. Despite the pumpkin’s 74 glycemic indexes, its glycemic load is estimated to be just 6.
Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, the carotenoid that gives the orange or yellow color to it. Pumpkin also contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These are high in antioxidants as well. It contains very few calories and fresh pumpkin contains almost no fat. Furthermore, it is a good source of fiber as well. Traces of zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium are also found in pumpkins.
According to a source, the nutritional value of a one-cup serving of boiled and drained cooked pumpkin (245g) is as follows:
- Calories: 49
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 2.7g
- Protein: 1.8g
- Folate: 22 mcg
- Sodium: 2.5mg
- Sugars: 5.1g
- Vitamin A: 706mcg
- Vitamin C: 11.5mg
- Potassium: 564mg
- Magnesium: 22 mg
- Calcium: 36.7 mg
- Phosphorus: 73.5mg
Can You Eat Pumpkin During Pregnancy?
Pumpkin is an excellent food to include in your diet while pregnant if you are craving it. Pregnant women can benefit greatly from pumpkin and its seeds. Consuming anything in excess during pregnancy may result in complications, so pregnant women must consume everything in moderation. This also applies to eating pumpkins while pregnant.
Pumpkin Seeds During Pregnancy- Are They Beneficial?
As with pumpkins, pumpkin seeds also offer a variety of health benefits. Therefore, it is beneficial to snack on pumpkin seeds during pregnancy as well. These seeds are a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins. Pumpkin seeds can be consumed in moderation during pregnancy.
Can I Eat White Pumpkin During Pregnancy?
As with orange pumpkins, white pumpkins have many health benefits and are highly nutritious. Vitamin A, B6, C, and E are found in significant quantities in it. White pumpkin is also incredibly low in calories. In addition, it contains a wide range of important minerals. So, yes, just as you can safely eat butternut pumpkin during pregnancy and yellow pumpkin during pregnancy, you can also eat white pumpkin during pregnancy. You can use white pumpkin in place of orange pumpkin in most traditional pumpkin recipes.
Related Reading: Flax Seeds During Pregnancy – Nutritional Profile, Benefits, Risks, And Precautions
Health Benefits Of Eating Pumpkins During Pregnancy
Pumpkins are low in calories but packed with a ton of vitamins and minerals that provide incredible benefits to both mother and child in her womb. If you incorporate this fruit into your pregnancy diet, you will experience some of the following benefits:
1. Reduce blood pressure by eating pumpkins
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, may be prevented by eating pumpkins. Hypertension during pregnancy could bring about many severe complications. Studies show that pumpkin pulp and seeds can lower blood pressure
Pumpkins are rich in potassium, which is known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. By counteracting the blood pressure-raising effect of sodium, potassium balances your blood pressure. Pumpkins also contain magnesium, which can lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.
2. Helps to improve immunity
Everyone wants to prevent illness and improve your immunity during pregnancy. Pumpkin can help you do that. Pumpkin contains zinc, which supports metabolism and immunity. Furthermore, zinc prevents free radicals from damaging body cells and causing diseases1. Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A, which helps fight infections and viruses. Moreover, pumpkin contains significant amounts of vitamin C. A pumpkin soup may speed up the recovery process from common infections like colds during pregnancy.
3. Relieves abdominal cramps
A pregnant woman experiences stomach discomfort, including severe cramps. By eating pumpkin and pumpkin seeds during pregnancy, these cramps can be significantly reduced. Eating boiled, steamed, or stir-fried pumpkin is a good home remedy to relieve abdominal cramps during pregnancy.
4. Good for expecting women with asthma
Colorful pumpkin flesh contains plant compounds that promote lung health. Pumpkins are particularly rich in carotenoids, such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These are all powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents2. Pumpkin contains antioxidants that protect the respiratory system from infections and free radical attacks. As a result, asthma symptoms during pregnancy can be reduced or healed by consuming pumpkins.
5. Helps to keep constipation at bay
Constipation is a common complaint among pregnant women. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can negatively affect digestion and cause constipation. Fiber-rich food helps to combat constipation3. Eating pumpkins can help. Eating pumpkins will reduce the risk of constipation since they are rich in protein and fiber. Eating pumpkin during pregnancy third trimester is highly beneficial in this aspect.
Related Reading: 18 Home Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy
6. Aids in the healthy progress of pregnancy
A variety of nutrients are present in pumpkins that are good for pregnant women. The nutrients they contain, such as vitamins, iron, calcium, niacin, and phosphorus, contribute to the overall health of the mother and her baby.
It is important to know that pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, an extremely powerful antioxidant. Pregnancy benefits from all these nutrients.
7. Helps to prevent stomach and skin disorders
Pregnancy is usually associated with stomach and skin issues, which include diarrhea and eczema. If you eat pumpkin during pregnancy, you will have less chance of getting diarrhea and eczema. Additionally, pumpkin seeds aid in removing toxins from the intestines and help cleanse the spleen. This reduces the risk of stomach infections throughout pregnancy. Also, we recommend you to follow these simple tips for a glowing skin during pregnancy.
8. Keeps the blood sugar levels in control
Pumpkins are incredibly effective at reducing blood sugar levels in pregnant women. The low glycemic load of pumpkins contributes to this. Nevertheless, to receive this benefit, you must be careful to consume it without any added sweeteners.
9. Ideal for pregnant women who must watch their weight gain
Pumpkins don’t offer any weight loss superpowers, but they do have a low-calorie density and fiber content that could help you not gain excess weight during pregnancy. Pumpkins satisfy hunger pangs without causing weight gain and at the same time do not compromise healthy nutrition.
Related Reading: Being Overweight During Pregnancy- 10 Potential Complications
Side Effects Of Eating Pumpkins While Pregnant
Pumpkin is likely safe and healthy when eaten in foods. But pumpkin-based junk foods like lattes, pies, and candies are loaded with sugar, which is not good during pregnancy. Side effects of eating pumpkins while pregnant include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and nausea.
While pregnant, eating pumpkin can cause the following side effects:
1. Allergic reaction
Despite being rare, pumpkins can cause allergic reactions in some people. During pregnancy, when pregnancy hormones are released at a higher rate, a woman can become allergic to pumpkins and their seeds.
2. Overconsumption is harmful
When a pumpkin is overindulged, it can cause intolerance symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, gastric troubles, and diarrhea.
How To Incorporate Pumpkins In Your Pregnancy Diet
Although pumpkin is healthy and nutritious food to eat during pregnancy, its nutritional value also varies based on how it is prepared. Steamed, boiled, or roasted pumpkin offers greater nutritional value. You can use it in soups or purees. Roasted pumpkin seeds are good as snacks.
You can meet some of your nutritional needs with pumpkins in your pregnancy diet. The downside to eating pumpkins in large quantities is that it can upset your stomach. You and your baby will benefit from having a balanced diet during pregnancy. Eat everything safely consume. The versatility of pumpkin in sweet and savory dishes makes it very easy to incorporate it into your diet.
Folate is the most important nutrient that is required during the early stages of pregnancy, and pumpkins are rich in folate.
Thus, pumpkin consumption during the first three months of pregnancy is perfectly safe and is even necessary to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
Pumpkin leaf contains some antioxidants and is a good source of iron and potassium. As long as you prepare and cook pumpkin leaf properly and clean them thoroughly before using them, it is safe for use during pregnancy.
Pumpkin leaf is just as beneficial during pregnancy as other dark greens.
Even though pumpkins are good for you, eating pumpkin chips or pumpkin pie may not be healthy, especially during pregnancy.
Therefore, pregnant women should avoid eating pumpkin-based junk foods such as pumpkin pies, pumpkin candies, and pumpkin cakes.
If you consume raw foods, you are more likely to get food poisoning. Raw pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are especially at risk of being contaminated with bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli.
Pregnant women who contract Salmonella are at risk of adverse outcomes.
Phytochemicals in pumpkins, such as beta carotene, promote the prevention of free radical damage. As we know, free radicals can damage cells and produce cancer.
Scientists found that people with a diet high in beta carotene and carotene had a lower chance of developing cancer. Pumpkins may help reduce cancer risk.