Pregnancy is a life altering phase for a woman. It brings a lot of changes to the body as well as daily life. Passing this crucial phase with zero complication is something every woman wishes for. While it is very important to exercise during pregnancy to have a smooth and a pain free labor, it is also very important to maintain a healthy diet which consists of all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
One such example of a healthy ingredient during pregnancy is dates, commonly known as ‘Khajur’. Enriched with the nutritional benefits of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc dates are a great food during pregnancy for both mother and the baby.
Pregnancy leads to experiencing a lot of mood swings, food cravings, fluctuations in appetite etc. Dates can be consumed raw and be consumed in the form of smoothies, syrups, sweeteners in milk or juices, desserts, cookies, in wraps and can be stuffed with nuts or peanut butter to make a delicious snack.
Dates contain Fructose (natural sugar), a quick source of energy, which breaks down in the body without altering blood sugar levels in the body. During pregnancy, the energy consumption by the body almost doubles up. Hence it is very essential to fuel the body with adequate sources of energy. Having a date or two is a healthy dessert option without worrying about adding unnecessary calories.
Also Read: Should I take supplements when pregnant?
Dates are a good source of Iron and Magnesium. The iron helps in maintaining the haemoglobin levels in the body. It prevents Anaemia, one of the most common issues faced during pregnancy and provides stronger immunity. The magnesium enhances bone and teeth health, regulates blood pressure, and manages blood sugar level.
Dates are rich in fibre and helps maintain a healthy digestive system with the cholesterol levels in check. Constipation is a common problem faced by most pregnant women. Dates keep the stomach full, reduce cholesterol level and in-turn help maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.
Dates contain good amounts of potassium, a major electrolyte which helps in regulating blood pressure. It balances the water-salt content in body, keeps the kidneys healthy, and reduces the pregnancy-related muscle cramps.
Dates contain Folate (folic acid) which protects the baby from the dangerous possibilities of deformities by contributing majorly to the spinal and brain growth of the developing foetus and avoid neural defects.
Dates are a rich source of Vitamin K which is important for the healthy bone development and helps in blood clotting. Vitamin K is usually on the lower side in a new born baby. Consumption of dates at the time of pregnancy will enhance essential amount of Vitamin K in the mother and will in-turn reach to the baby through breast feeding. The amino acids in dates get assimilated and help in the overall growth and development of the body.
Since dates are rich in most of the vital nutrients, they help in maintaining the overall health of the mother and the baby. Dates also enhance the oxytocin effect (contraction of the womb) which increases the sensitivity of the uterus. They also help in going into labour spontaneously and have shorter phases of labour. Reducing the risk of anaemia, gestational diabetes, controlling blood pressure, restoring bone health- all these factors lead to an easier labour without any need for an induction or augmented labour.
There are studies supporting the consumption of dates during pregnancy as it helps in cervical ripening or cervical dilation which is very important at the time of vaginal delivery.
Also Read: 11 Food Items to avoid during Pregnancy
Dates can be had throughout pregnancy and there is no amount suggested for its consumption, but moderation is always advisable. Often excess of dates intake has been linked to miscarriages due to it being a food that aids contractions.
Lot of physical, hormonal and emotional changes occur in the body at the time of pregnancy. Dates are considered to be warm, heat producing foods. That is why their consumption during summers is best kept limited. However, having dates during the winter season will additionally benefit by giving warmth to the body.
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