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Technically a fruit because they contain seeds, pumpkins are full of vitamins and antioxidants. The pumpkin and pumpkin seed benefits to a prenatal diet are many. They are a true superfood. Because pumpkin is so good for you, it is a great food to incorporate into your diet during pregnancy.
Pumpkins – and pumpkin seeds – can help keep your blood sugar under control (goodbye gestational diabetes!), are good for your gut, and contain a number of things that are beneficial to fetal development. Check out these five pumpkin and pumpkin seed benefits during pregnancy.
5 Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seed Benefits
1. An Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals. Probably obvious by the orange color, pumpkin is full of beta-carotene, so eating pumpkin can easily help pregnant women fulfill their daily Vitamin A needs. Pumpkin is also a good source of iron, which prevents anemia during pregnancy and can help lower the chance of premature delivery. It also contains Vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption and is a good boost for your immune system. They are also a good source of Vitamin B6, protein, zinc, and are loaded with antioxidants, which help boost immunity levels and protect against infection.
In terms of nutrition, 100 grams of pumpkin has around 26 calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. That means pumpkin makes a great snack option or can be added to a meal as a great source of these important vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin seeds are also packed with nutrients that are beneficial during pregnancy. Pumpkin seed benefits from vitamins and minerals include omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and magnesium. They are the perfect mid-afternoon snack that will not just stave off hunger but will help meet these important nutritional needs too.
2. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
One of the most surprising pumpkin and pumpkin seed benefits may be that eating them is effective in helping regulate blood sugar levels during pregnancy thanks to the potassium and magnesium they contain. Low magnesium levels are common in people with insulin resistance, which is one reason why diabetes occurs. Some sources recommend pregnant women get about 350 mg of magnesium per day and just one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 168 milligrams (mg) of magnesium.
It is important to note that in order to fully reap this benefit, pumpkin should be eaten without adding extra sugar.
3. Good for Digestion
Because it is rich in fiber, which is known for helping people stay “regular,” eating pumpkin can help relieve constipation that pregnant women often face due to hormonal changes. It can also help reduce abdominal cramps that can sometimes occur during pregnancy.
Relieving constipation can also have the great side effect of avoiding the hemorrhoids that often accompany it!
4. Heart Healthy
Eating pumpkin during pregnancy is good for the heart because the fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C in pumpkin all support heart health. The potassium and antioxidants found in pumpkin can help prevent heart disease and have a positive effect on blood pressure. It can also help control cholesterol levels during pregnancy.
Studies suggest that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for treating high blood pressure. Increasing potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke.
5. Good for Fetal Development
Pumpkin and pumpkin seed benefits are not only for mom. They also apply to fetal development. The beta-carotene found in pumpkin contributes to the development of the fetus’s heart, lungs, bones, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and circulatory system. Iron helps carry oxygen to the fetus. Zinc helps with brain development. The omega-3 fatty acids in pumpkin seeds contribute to the development of the fetus’s central nervous system.
There are so many good pumpkin and pumpkin seed benefits during pregnancy that they should definitely be considered for any prenatal diet. Some more good news is that there are few side effects of eating pumpkin and pumpkin seeds during pregnancy; however, be sure to speak with your doctor before making changes to your diet or if you have any concerns.
Pumpkin is so easy to include in meal planning. Add pumpkin to oatmeal in the morning for breakfast. Roast pumpkin seeds for a perfect midday snack. You can even roast pumpkin for a delicious side dish to go with dinner.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 10 Pregnancy Super Foods
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Sources: Consuming Pumpkin During Pregnancy, Sweet Pumpkin is a Source of Vitamins During Pregnancy, Ten Diabetes Superfoods, Magnesium Dosage: How Much Should You Take Per Day?, What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkins?, How to Roast Pumpkin