Written by Editorial Team
Pregnancy is a wonderful phase in life where you begin experiencing the joy of motherhood and a life growing inside you. It is also a period where you must be extremely vigilant about your diet and ensure you are having all the right nutrients in perfect proportions. Lentils are one of the most important food groups and are a vital source of protein. This article touches upon the various aspects of having lentils during pregnancy.
A large part of the Indian population comprises vegetarians. If you are vegetarian and pregnant, you may have limited choices in terms of healthy protein sources. Lentils are key sources of protein for you. We have access to a different variety of proteins. Hence, the chances of boredom with eating the same dish every day are also minimal. Read ahead to know everything about lentils, how they benefit you, and how you can get the best nutrition out of them when you are pregnant.
Lentils are a type of legume that has high levels of protein, fiber, and vitamins. It’s hard to get bored with eating them since they come in a variety of sizes and colors. They’re also fairly cheap. Despite being inexpensive, they are high in nutritional value.
They are popular as staple food worldwide. They offer many advantages to pregnant women. Since lentils are small, they cook much faster than dried beans, and they don’t need to be soaked before cooking. They are extremely versatile and have a long shelf-life.
Below are a few types of lentils:
The most common variety of lentils is the brown lentil, which has a mild, earthy flavor and a color ranging from khaki brown to dark black.
Unlike brown lentils, green lentils have a more robust, slightly peppery taste. They come in a wide range of sizes and colors.
Note*: Green and brown lentils keep their shape after cooking, so they can both be used in salads and stews
This lentil variety ranges in color from golden yellow to orange and red. Furthermore, they are the only variety sold “split”. Indian dishes such as dhal are made with these lentils. When cooked, this variety of lentil tends to disintegrate, making it an ideal ingredient for soups,
It is important for pregnant women to know which lentil varieties are safe to consume during this period. Also, eat them in moderation, as overindulging can cause bloating, gas, or stomach upset. Some varieties are not recommended for your diet, so make sure that you eat one of these:
Lentils have excellent nutritional values and are rich in Vitamin B9, iron, protein, fiber, and folic acid, all of which are vital for pregnant moms’ right from day one. The color, taste, and dimensions of lentils differ according to the place of origin. They can be divided into lentil beans, small grains, and large grains. Lentils develop in pods and are very easy to cook too in addition to being pocket-friendly.
Folic acid plays a vital role in ensuring the baby is developing and growing well inside your womb. Lentils are a rich source of folic acid. This makes them an ideal food during pregnancy that helps prevent birth anomalies like spina bifida or anencephaly in your baby developing within you. Just a single cup of lentils will give you almost 90% folate requirements for the whole day.
Lentils are rich in potassium which is absolutely necessary to get your blood pressure under control and also ensures proper blood circulation throughout your body without any hitches.
Lentils are packed with fiber and you can get up to 8gm of fiber from just half a cup of lentils. Fiber present in lentils can help to fight any kind of disorder inside your intestinal tract. Lentils are also ideal for expecting moms who have any constipation issues as lentils are an excellent source of fiber. And fiber helps to avert any constipation symptoms and is ideal for ascertaining normal bowel movements every day.
Vitamin B5 is extremely effective in averting migraines and stress during pregnancy. Since lentils have high contents of Vitamin B5 in them, they are extremely helpful in averting stress and migraine that normally occurs during pregnancy period.
Anemia or iron deficiency is extremely common in expectant mothers. Lentils have sufficient traces of iron too. Pregnant women require adequate quantities of iron to ensure a healthy delivery and pregnancy. Around half a cup of lentils provides you with 3.3 mg of iron, which helps immensely to combat any iron deficiency in expectant moms
Loaded with fiber as mentioned earlier, lentils are excellent in regulating levels of cholesterol in the blood, thereby ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Lentils are also packed with proteins which are an absolute must during each and every stage of your pregnancy. Proteins are ideal to support the proper development and growth of the muscles of the baby.
Lentils are rich in fiber, minerals, magnesium, and folate aid to lower the risk of any kind of heart issues during pregnancy. The folate content present in lentils helps reduce homocysteine levels, which is one of the major culprits behind heart issues. Magnesium traces boost the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and blood throughout your body.
The soluble fiber in lentils locks in the carbohydrates automatically slowing the process of digestion, thereby regulating levels of sugar in the blood. This proves extremely effective for women who are prone to gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Lentils are loaded with all kinds of minerals, vitamins, and folate. The good news is their calorie content is extremely on the low side and their fat content is practically nil. So having a cup of lentils will leave satisfied your hunger pangs without much gain in calories. This becomes a boon for women who are weight conscious and do not want to gain extra weight during pregnancy.
Although the above-mentioned positive aspects of lentils make them ideal for consumption through your entire pregnancy period, it would be best if you could consult your doctor before beginning to eat them and have them only in moderate quantities.
Lentils come in different varieties, depending on the place they grow in, and come in different colors, not just the usual green ones we normally see. Lentils come as small grains, beans, and larger ones.
Making this Indian lentil dahl is easy, and you can make multiple variations to suit your tastes. Also, this dish is full of micronutrients such as carbohydrates and protein, so it is very nourishing during pregnancy. All the ingredients are readily available and inexpensive.
Often referred to as protein chips, these baked lentil chips are not only high in protein but are free of gluten, nuts, seeds, and grains. There is no need to fry these chips, as they are oven-baked. These chips are ideal for vegans. They are also gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, and oil-free. The sweet and tangy tomato flavor is mixed with aromatic basil in the lentil chips. Making them is easy. They are crispy, filling, high in fiber and vitamins. Give these homemade chips a try today.
Lentils are excellent for pregnant women. They are an excellent source of many vital nutrients and are easily available. With so many varieties available and so much versatility in terms of recipes, you will be spoilt for choice. Always remember to exercise moderation when consuming lentils during pregnancy.
Yes, they can. Lentils have a high content of FODMAPs. These can result in bloating.
No, they aid digestion. They are rich in fiber and can help you digest your food well. Though they can make you feel bloated, they can be a good remedy for constipation.
They are very nutritious for pregnant women. They are rich in folate too. The high fiber and iron too.
Yes, you can. Lentils are a rich source of various nutrients. If you do not experience excessive bloating or discomfort, you can add this to your daily diet.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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