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During pregnancy, taking the right amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fibre is necessary. A pregnant mother doesn't have to eat larger meals, rather she must make healthier food choices. Many expectant mothers wonder if consuming lentils during pregnancy is safe or not.
Your baby is growing inside so, whatever the mother eats, it should meet her's and baby's nutritional requirements. While some foods like eggs, leafy greens and fishes are usually recommended, women should consume lentils as well when pregnant.
According to a study, pregnant women should choose high-quality carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (GI) found naturally in lentils, beans, peas, fruits, whole grains, and non-starchy vegetables  .
Pregnant women need the energy provided by carbohydrates for the growth of a healthy baby, as glucose obtained from carbohydrates is the primary fuel for intrauterine growth.
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are a type of legume that is high in protein and fibre. They are a rich source of manganese, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium.
Benefits Of Eating Lentils During Pregnancy
1. Prevents anaemia
When you are pregnant, the body produces more blood to support the growth of the baby. If you are not consuming enough iron, your body might not be able to produce the number of red blood cells it requires  . Therefore, pregnant women are advised to consume lentils.
2. Lowers the risk of birth defects
Lentil is a good source of folic acid, which is known to prevent the development of birth defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida  . Folic acid also helps in the formation of new cells in the body and also plays a major role in maintaining the homocysteine levels in pregnant women.
3. Reduces high blood pressure
The high content of potassium in lentils ensures proper blood circulation and stabilizes blood pressure. Some expectant mothers have high blood pressure, which can put the mother at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease  .
4. Decreases migraine attack
Having migraines and headache during pregnancy is very common due to the constant hormonal changes occurring in the body. Consuming lentils can combat migraine attack as they are a good source of B vitamins.
5. Prevents constipation
Constipation is a common condition which most pregnant mothers face. Lentils are rich in fibre which aids in easing bowel movements, thereby preventing constipation. It also combats intestinal tract disorders. It also supplies pregnant women with antioxidants and vitamins  .
6. Controls blood sugar
When the body can't produce enough insulin during pregnancy, gestational diabetes may occur. So, eating lentils is considered beneficial because it is a low glycemic index (GI) food, which means it takes time to break down than simple carbohydrates. This can prevent weight gain and diabetes  .
Tips For Consuming Lentils During Pregnancy
- Soak lentils in water for at least 1 hour or so before cooking.
- Overcooking the lentils may lead to nutrient loss.
- Cook lentils with other vitamin C-rich vegetables as it aids in better iron absorption.
- Add herbs to your lentils while cooking to bring out a different taste.
-  Lowensohn, R. I., Stadler, D. D., & Naze, C. (2016). Current Concepts of Maternal Nutrition. Obstetrical & gynecological survey, 71(7), 413–426.
-  Allen, L. H. (2000). Anemia and iron deficiency: effects on pregnancy outcome. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(5), 1280S-1284S.
-  Butterworth, C. E., & Bendich, A. (1996). Folic acid and the prevention of birth defects. Annual review of nutrition, 16(1), 73-97.
-  Wolak, T., Sergienko, R., Wiznitzer, A., Ben Shlush, L., Paran, E., & Sheiner, E. (2010). Low potassium level during the first half of pregnancy is associated with lower risk for the development of gestational diabetes mellitus and severe pre-eclampsia. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 23(9), 994-998.
-  Trottier, M., Erebara, A., & Bozzo, P. (2012). Treating constipation during pregnancy. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 58(8), 836–838.
-  Sedaghat, F., Akhoondan, M., Ehteshami, M., Aghamohammadi, V., Ghanei, N., Mirmiran, P., & Rashidkhani, B. (2017). Maternal Dietary Patterns and Gestational Diabetes Risk: A Case-Control Study. Journal of diabetes research, 2017, 5173926.