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Chickpeas (Chana) During Pregnancy: Benefits, Side Effects & How to Consume

Pregnant mothers need to be on a healthy diet as it is during this time their bodies require additional vitamins and minerals [1] . A diet lacking in these essential nutrients may negatively affect the foetus's development [2] . So, choosing foods that are healthy and nutritious can aid in promoting the health of the mother and her baby.

Chickpeas are one such wholesome and nutritious food that must be included in your diet during pregnancy. These legumes are rich in important nutrients like protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, carbohydrate, and folate. Due to their high nutritional value, it makes them one of the most recommended foods for pregnant women.

Let's read on to know how chickpeas can benefit pregnant women.

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Health Benefits Of Chickpeas During Pregnancy

1. Prevents anaemia

Pregnant women are at an increased risk of anaemia, a condition in which your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to your body's tissues. During pregnancy, women need double the normal amount of iron to make more blood to supply oxygen to the baby. which is why chickpeas are recommended as it helps in preventing low haemoglobin levels and also decreases the risk of premature birth [3] .

2. Manages gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when a woman's body can't produce enough insulin, which may lead to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar may put the woman and baby at risk if not managed properly.

So, to prevent a spike in the sugar levels, chickpeas should be added into your diet as they contain fibre, which causes a much less insulin response [4] .

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3. Prevents neural tube defects

Chickpeas are a good source of folate, an important mineral required during pregnancy to make red blood cells and to help your baby grow. It also lowers the risk of neural tube defect in the foetus [5] .

4. Treats constipation

Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy. As chickpeas are a good source of fibre, it can help prevent constipation in pregnant mothers [6] .

5. Aids in the growth of the baby

Protein found in chickpeas is required for the growth and development of the foetus. It also plays a major role in many bodily functions, including recovery and repair of tissues in the blood, organs, skin, hair and nails [7] .

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Side Effects Of Eating Chickpeas During Pregnancy

  • Chickpeas should be avoided if you are suffering from diarrhoea.
  • If you are allergic to legumes, chickpeas should be avoided.
  • Consuming chickpeas on a regular basis during pregnancy can lead to an upset stomach.

How To Consume Chickpeas

  • Wash the chickpeas properly and leave them in a bowl of water overnight, until they are soft before you cook them. This will reduce the cooking time of chickpeas.
  • Prepare chickpeas curry and have it with rice or chapati.
  • Make a protein-rich salad with boiled chickpeas, sprouts and vegetables.
  • Add boiled chickpeas to soups.
  • You can prepare hummus, a dish made by grinding chickpeas.
View Article References
  1. [1] Butte, N. F., Wong, W. W., Treuth, M. S., Ellis, K. J., & O'Brian Smith, E. (2004). Energy requirements during pregnancy based on total energy expenditure and energy deposition.The American journal of clinical nutrition,79(6), 1078-1087.
  2. [2] Benton, D. (2008). Micronutrient status, cognition and behavioral problems in childhood.European journal of nutrition,47(3), 38-50.
  3. [3] Abu-Ouf, N. M., & Jan, M. M. (2015). The impact of maternal iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia on child's health.Saudi medical journal,36(2), 146–149.
  4. [4] Ullrich, I. H., & Albrink, M. J. (1985). The effect of dietary fiber and other factors on insulin response: role in obesity.Journal of environmental pathology, toxicology and oncology: official organ of the International Society for Environmental Toxicology and Cancer,5(6), 137-155.
  5. [5] Pitkin, R. M. (2007). Folate and neural tube defects.The American journal of clinical nutrition,85(1), 285S-288S.
  6. [6] Annells, M., & Koch, T. (2003). Constipation and the preached trio: diet, fluid intake, exercise.International journal of nursing studies,40(8), 843-852.
  7. [7] Tjoa, M. L., Van Vugt, J. M. G., Go, A. T. J. J., Blankenstein, M. A., Oudejans, C. B. M., & Van Wijk, I. J. (2003). Elevated C-reactive protein levels during first trimester of pregnancy are indicative of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction.Journal of reproductive immunology,59(1), 29-37.
Story first published: Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 19:30 [IST]
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