Sprouts During Pregnancy

If you enjoy munching on the tiny shaped veggies called Sprouts, then you might want to think twice if you are pregnant and craving for sprouts. Sprouts are known to add a lot of essential nutrients to a normal diet, but it is not quite necessary when you are pregnant. Let us have a look at what sprouts are, how they can be included in your diet and what happens if you are pregnant and consume uncooked/raw sprouts.

What are sprouts?

Sprouts are small seeds that are germinated in a plant for about 4 to 7 days. They can be consumed either raw or cooked. However, they are generally consumed raw. Two of the most common variants of sprouts are the Moong beans and the alfalfa. These sprouts are a healthy snacking option and are packed with various nutrients. However, there are some harmful bacteria in them which causes ill effects when consumed during pregnancy. Which is why experts always advised staying away from consuming sprouts during pregnancy.

Nutritional Value Of Sprouts

Sprouts contain all the necessary nutrients that a plant requires to sustain life and grow further and hence they are a very nutritious food source. The key nutrients present in sprouts are Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Folate, essential amino acids, fibre, and lysine.

Is it safe to eat sprouts during your pregnancy?

Sprouts can increase your protein intake for sure. However, As per the Food and Drug Administration, it is not at all safe to consume sprouts when you are pregnant including sprouts such as alfalfa, radish, clover and moong beans sprouts.

If you can’t resist the craving for sprouts, you can have it after cooking it well to bring down the possible risks. Cooking the sprouts in the low flame will not be helpful because light cooking will not provide enough heat to kill these bacteria. Therefore,  cook it until steaming hot or thoroughly cook it in high flame as in a stir-fry or casserole.

Why Raw Sprouts Are Not Safe During Pregnancy?

Here are why sprouts are harmful during pregnancy. Some bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli have the possibility of entering into the sprout seeds through its shell cracks. Once the bacteria enter the seeds, it will continue to grow, owing to the warm and humid conditions that a sprout usually grows in. There are many outbreaks which have been linked to sprouts which have been contaminated and sometimes the sprouts we grow at home are not clean themselves. These bacteria in the sprouts can cause illnesses which are quite dangerous for pregnant women leading to stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth and other life-threatening infections to the newborn baby.

 Is Home Grown Sprout Safer?

Even if the sprouts are grown at home in safe conditions, they do possess the risk of being affected by bacteria and can cause ailments if eaten raw or not well cooked. It is always best to eat fully cooked sprouts during pregnancy. Due to the weak immune systems in pregnant women, it is best to avoid sprouts all together as they are more at risk of being affected by the foodborne diseases caused by the sprouts.

What Are the Safety Measures to Take While Eating Sprouts During Pregnancy?

Even if you are wanting to eat sprouts in small amounts during pregnancy, here is what you can do;

  • Wash them completely to remove bacteria
  • Make sure to eat well-cooked sprouts
  • Avoid completely if you are not in the best of health
  • While eating out, ensure your salads and other food does not contain raw sprouts. If there are, request the chef to re-do your food with well-cooked sprouts.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Cooked Sprouts During Pregnancy?

  • It Improves your Digestion
  • It is rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • It is an instant energy booster
  • Sprouts are a rich source of protein
  • Consuming sprouts helps to prevent anemia

How to Incorporate Sprouts to Your Pregnancy Diet?

Salads: You can prepare yummy salads with boiled sprouts. By adding finely chopped onions, chopped coriander leaves, tomatoes, and other vegetables you can increase its nutritional value.  You can add a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. To satisfy your pregnancy taste buds.

Sandwich: You can incorporate boiled sprouts as sandwich fillings. By pairing it with whole wheat bread you can double the benefits.

Curry It:  You can even make Indian curries with sprouts. In that case, add the boiled sprouts to the curry. With all those spices, onions, and tomatoes it can be an excellent side dish for your meal.

Snack it: You can add some boiled sprouts to your poha instead of potatoes to make it more nutritious.

What Are the Guidelines for Buying, Storing and Eating Sprouts During Pregnancy?

To ensure that the sprouts you buy from the store are fresh and safe to consume, here are some guidelines to abide by for buying, storing and eating the sprouts;

  • Make sure to buy sprouts that are kept in the refrigerator and looks fresh
  • Don’t buy the ones with a musty smell or the ones that look skinny
  • Make sure to store the sprouts at below 40-degree Fahrenheit temperature and also make sure the fridge is clean
  • Thoroughly rinse and clean them before using.
  • Fully cooking the sprouts will bring down the risk of foodborne disease.
  • You can add cooked sprouts to fries, soups, and stews also.
  • If in case you are baking the sprouts, then make sure they are crisp and brown.

No doubt, indeed, sprouts are extremely healthy and are rich in vital nutrients but you must be extremely cautious while eating them as they can cause food poisoning. If you are pregnant, it is best if you avoid sprouts altogether. If you still feel like eating them, then make sure you consult with your medical practitioner first if you can consume sprouts at this time as the doctor will know your pregnancy state in and out and can guide you accordingly.