Healthy Pregnancy Snack - Sprouts
Continuing our previous article 'Quick and Healthy Snacks During Pregnancy,' here is another delicious snack- Sprouts.
In This Article
- What are the benefits of eating sprouts during pregnancy?
- What is the nutritional value of bean sprouts?
- Are sprouts safe to eat during pregnancy?
- How many types of sprouts are there?
- The most popular sprouts for pregnancy and their nutrients
- How can I add sprouts to my pregnancy diet?
- How much quantity of sprouts to eat daily in pregnancy?
- How to cook sprouts during pregnancy?
- How to eat sprouts during pregnancy?
- Tips for buying sprouts for pregnancy
- Sprouts chaat recipe for pregnancy
Benefits of Eating Sprouts During Pregnancy
Sprouts are a great source of iron, fiber, and protein that maintain your energy levels and keep you full for a long time. The benefits of eating sprouts during pregnancy are:
Improve digestion and relieve constipation
Sprouts are rich in insoluble fibers and digestive enzymes that boost metabolism, ease bowel movement and prevent constipation. In addition, they also contain a lower level of gluten and antinutrients, further reducing the chances of digestive problems.
Beneficial for fetal brain and retina development
Sprouts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that play a vital role in developing the brain and retina of your unborn baby. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 also help regulate your blood pressure and reduce swelling during pregnancy.
An instant energy booster
Sprouts are loaded with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and enzymes, which increase your body's metabolism and keep you energetic during pregnancy. Sprouts' calories can range from 257 to nearly 480 calories depending on the type of sprouts you are eating.
Help prevent anemia
The low levels of red blood cells can make you feel tired. Sprouts contain a decent amount of iron and folate, which help treat pregnancy-induced anemia. Adequate iron in your body also minimizes the risk of stomach disorders and conditions such as nausea.
A rich source of protein
Protein is essential for bone growth and the development of the fetus, and sprouts are a rich source of protein for strict vegetarians. For example, sprouting increases the protein content of moong by 30%. In addition, the proteins in sprouts also enable easier digestion and absorption.
Help maintain a healthy pregnancy weight
Sprouts make you feel full for longer, which reduces your cravings for foods during pregnancy. This way, they help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.
Strengthen your immune system
Sprouts are packed with multiple nutrients such as vitamin B, C, E, and other phytochemicals, strengthening your immune system. The antioxidant property of sprouts boosts your immune health. Eating sprouts every day gives you the power to fight off or prevent infections like the cold and flu.
Keep your skin glowing
Consumption of sprouts during pregnancy keeps your skin healthy, glowing, and free from acne. Vitamin B presented in sprouts hydrates the skin and speeds up the process of cell regeneration. On the other hand, antioxidants detoxify your body, preventing wrinkles and other aging forms.
Regulate cholesterol levels and keeps your heart healthy
Sprouts are known as cardioprotective, which means they keep your heart healthy and free from various diseases. The fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol levels, while the presence of potassium in sprouts keeps your blood pressure under control and reduces the chances of strokes.
Prevent vision issues
Vision changes are common during pregnancy. Sprouts are a rich source of Vitamin A which improves vision. It also contains high amounts of antioxidant agents that help protect eye cells from free radicals.
Lowers blood sugar levels
The fiber present in sprouts helps in lowering blood glucose levels. Researchers found that consuming sprouts for two months can reduce hemoglobin A1c levels by 10%. So it is highly recommended you add sprouts to your pregnancy diet to lower the chances of gestational diabetes.
Helps reduce acidity
Sprouts are alkaline by nature. They alkalize your body and neutralize excess acids to prevent stomach problems like acidity, heartburn, and acid reflux during pregnancy. Therefore, moms-to-be having conditions of high acidity are recommended to take sprouts.
Also Read: 5 Delicious Snacks For Every Pregnant Woman
Nutritional value of sprouts:
Sprouts are a powerhouse of all the essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes your baby needs to grow and develop.
A one-cup serving of fresh mung bean sprouts contains the following nutrients:
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Sugar: 4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Calories: 31
Additionally, any variety of sprouts is an excellent source of:
- Vitamin C
Moreover, sprouts are also a great source of Vitamin K that ensures proper blood clotting and supports your baby's bone growth.
Is it safe to eat sprouts in pregnancy?
Sprouts are a great source of essential nutrients for pregnant women. However, it is better to avoid raw sprouts during pregnancy as they could be contaminated by bacteria. If you are still tempted to eat sprouts in their raw form, rinse them thoroughly and add them to your salads and sandwiches.
During pregnancy, Make sure to eat only thoroughly cooked (165°F/75°C) sprouts.
According to the NHS, the only way to ensure no bacteria in the seeds is by cooking sprouts to 165°F/75°C. Hence, it is advisable not to eat raw sprouts during pregnancy and cook them well before consumption.
Different Types of Sprouts:
There are mainly four different types of sprouts:
- Bean and pea sprouts: Perhaps the most popular form of sprouts, including mung bean, black bean, soybean, lentil, kidney bean, green pea, and snow pea sprouts.
- Nut and seed sprouts: These include sesame seed, pumpkin seed, radish seed, almond, pumpkin seed, alfalfa seed, and sunflower seed sprouts.
- Vegetable or leafy sprouts: These include alfalfa, radish, beet, clover, cress, broccoli, mustard green, red clover sprouts, and fenugreek sprouts.
- Sprouted grains: These include brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, Kamut, buckwheat, wheatgrass, and oat sprouts.
The most popular sprouts for pregnancy and their nutrients
The most commonly consumed sprouts are:
It is generally recommended to consume sprouted moong in pregnancy because moong dal sprouts are high in fiber, minerals, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, antioxidants, and other nutrients. They are also rich in folate (B9), protein, iron, potassium, and magnesium, all of which you need for a healthy pregnancy. You can eat moong (green gram) sprouts in salads, soups, and stir-frys.
Brussel sprouts during pregnancy are a healthy eating choice because they have many of the nutrients you and your baby need. A 1/2-cup (78 grams) serving of cooked brussels sprouts has 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 5.5 grams of carbs, 91% of vitamin K, 53% of vitamin C, and 12% of folate you need per day.
Broccoli sprouts are nutritional powerhouses. They're a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and
calcium. Research reveals that eating broccoli sprouts during pregnancy improves the mother's health and provides the baby with life-long protection against cardiovascular diseases.
Horse Gram Sprouts
Horse gram, also known as chana dal, is incredibly high in fiber and protein, which you need most in pregnancy. It is also rich in calcium, iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants, strengthening your immune system and keeping your skin healthy. On the other hand, the phosphorus present in chana sprouts improves muscle function and keeps your bones and teeth strong during pregnancy.
Palmyra sprouts contain a lot of fiber, regulating bowel motions and preventing constipation during pregnancy. They are also rich in iron, which helps combat pregnancy-induced anemia. Their high calcium content strengthens your bones and teeth, whereas rich protein levels contribute to your unborn baby's growth.
How to include sprouts in your pregnancy diet?
There are several ways to incorporate sprouts into your pregnancy diet, including:
- Prepare yummy salads with boiled sprouts
- Make Indian curries with sprouts
- Incorporate boiled sprouts as sandwich fillings for extra crunch
- Add boiled sprouts to poha (flattened rice)
- Stir-fry sprouts with your favorite vegetables, noodles, meat, or tofu
- Make Asian spring rolls with sprouts.
How much sprouts should I eat during pregnancy?
Eat a small cup of sprouts daily. Avoid overeating; it would be difficult to digest them. You don't need to eat the same sprouts every day. Instead, keep them rotating every two or three days.
How to cook sprouts to consume during pregnancy?
There are mainly three methods to cook sprouts to make them safe to eat during pregnancy:
- Boiling: The easiest and quickest way for killing the bacteria in sprouts.
- Steaming: Use this method if you want to preserve more nutrients.
- Frying: It is very popular in Asian cuisine, particularly Korean, Chinese or Thai food.
Whatever method you use, the key here is to raise the temperature high enough to kill bacteria.
Precautions to take while consuming sprouts during pregnancy
Take the following precautions before eating sprouts in pregnancy:
- Rinse sprouts thoroughly with cool running water to remove any bacteria.
- Cook sprouts properly (165°F/75°C) before you consume them.
- Avoid eating sprouts if you have a weakened immune system, as you might develop food-borne diseases.
Tips for purchasing/keeping sprouts for pregnancy
The following tips should be kept in mind while purchasing or keeping sprouts to reduce the risk of contamination further:
- Buy properly refrigerated and only fresh sprouts.
- Do not buy sprouts that are moldy, limp, slimy, or have an off odor.
- Store sprouts in clean containers.
- Keep sprouts refrigerated at temperatures under 40°F.
- Always wash your hands properly before touching sprouts.
- Keep sprouts away from other raw foods.
Also Read: Healthy Pregnancy Snack - Oatmeal
Quick recipe for sprouted chaat
Take cooked sprouted mung bean, chopped tomato, chopped onion, cumin powder, red chili powder, rock salt, and chopped mint or coriander leaves.
Mix them all and add a fistful of roasted peanuts or chana on top for some crunch.
Are sprouts in pregnancy good or bad?
Sprouts are a great addition to your pregnancy diet as they contain large amounts of fiber and nutrients. However, cook them well before consumption, as undercooked or raw sprouts may contain bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella.
Which sprouts are good during pregnancy?
All boiled or cooked sprouts are good to eat during pregnancy, including moong bean, radish seed, broccoli, alfalfa, and clover sprouts.
How to eat sprouts in pregnancy?
The only safe way to eat sprouts during pregnancy is by cooking them to 165°F/75°C. Then, you can add them to your salads, poha (flattened rice), or sandwich fillings.
Can we eat palmyra sprout during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to consume palm sprouts during pregnancy if cooked thoroughly. However, avoid eating it raw as it can contain harmful bacteria.
Are broccoli sprouts safe during pregnancy?
Yes, eating broccoli sprouts during pregnancy is completely safe. Just make sure you cook it well before consumption.
Can I eat raw sprouts during pregnancy?
No, it's not safe to eat raw sprouts during pregnancy because they could be contaminated with bacteria, such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli. Be sure you rinse it thoroughly and cook it well before consumption.
Packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, sprouts are a very healthy and delicious snacking option for pregnant women. They are rich in iron, protein, and fiber, which act as an instant energy booster and keep you full for a long time. Instead of eating the same sprouts every day, keep them rotating every two or three days.
All sprouts are safe to eat during pregnancy if you cook them well (165°F/75°C) before consumption. However, if you are very fond of raw sprouts, make sure to rinse them thoroughly with lots of tap water to remove any bacteria. Then, add them to your salads and sandwiches to boost your nutrient intake.