Consuming broccoli in pregnancy seems one of the healthiest choices. This cruciferous vegetable from the Brassica family can provide you with several nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals that possess antioxidant properties. But while this superfood can offer you several long-term benefits, is it safe to consume broccoli when pregnant?
Keep reading to learn more about broccoli’s safety for expectant mothers, its possible health benefits, and effective ways to include it in your pregnancy diet.
Is It Safe To Eat Broccoli During Pregnancy?
It is safe to eat broccoli in moderate amounts during pregnancy (1). Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C, K, B6, calcium, folateiXWater-soluble vitamin B9 naturally found in foods. , fiber, and antioxidant agents. Including this nutrient-rich food in your diet ensures good hemoglobin supply, strengthens bones, prevents skin ailments, birth defectsiXMedical conditions present at or before birth affecting one or many parts of the body. , and boosts nutrient intake.
How Much Broccoli Can You Eat?
You can have about three to five servings of broccoli every day, where one serving equals half a cup of cooked or cut vegetable (2).
Benefits Of Broccoli During Pregnancy
Here are the main health benefits of broccoli during pregnancy:
1. Helps prevent constipation
Constipation is a common concern among pregnant women. The hormonal changes, metabolic changes, and iron supplements play a role in altering the bowel movementsiXMovement of feces through the bowel (intestines) and out of the anus. . Broccoli contains both soluble and insoluble fiber that helps retain water and regulates bowel movements, therefore, helping prevent constipation (3).
2. May control anemia
Your iron requirements increase during pregnancy, and a deficiency could cause anemia. Broccoli being a good source of iron and folic acid, can be right for you (4).
3. Regulates sugar levels
Gestational diabetes occurs if your body cannot produce enough insulin to break down the sugars you consume during pregnancy. Broccoli may help in regulating the sugar levels in your body (5).
4. Improves immunity
A strong immune system during pregnancy helps avoid infections. The beta-carotene and selenium components in broccoli support your immunity (6).
5. Strengthens bones
Broccoli contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc that are required for healthy bones (7).
6. Protects skin
Broccoli contains vitamins A, E, B and K. Therefore, including it in your pregnancy diet can keep your skin healthy (8).
7. Supports eye health
Beta-carotene helps maintain vision. Beta-caroteneiXAn organic compound that gives red-orange color to vegetables. along vitamin A is good for eye health and keeps eye ailments away (9).
You can benefit from eating broccoli if you choose the right type of the vegetable.
How To Select Broccoli?
Here are some tips for selecting fresh broccoli.
- Go for fresh, compact, and bright dark-green or purple-green broccoli heads.
- Select firm stems and stalks, and not hollow ones.
- Avoid yellow colored heads as they are over-matured varieties.
- Avoid wilted or dried floretsiXOne of the small flowers that make up the head of a cauliflower or broccoli. .
A Word Of Caution
Broccoli contains various powerful compounds that can adversely affect the skin. As a result, some individuals may suffer from allergic rashes when they touch broccoli. So, it is safe to eat this cruciferous vegetable in moderation, following appropriate serving instructions during pregnancy (13).
Point to consider
And in the next section, we will see how broccoli can be eaten by pregnant women.
How Can You Include Broccoli In Your Pregnancy Diet?
Broccoli can be included in your diet in many ways to get the maximum benefits. Some of them are:
- Combine steamed or chopped broccoli with any fresh salad.
- If you are craving for something simple, you can stir-fry broccoli with other vegetables, herbs, and garlic in olive oil. Broccoli florets can be added to any soup.
- Use steamed broccoli as a pizza or pasta topping.
- You can make dips from broccoli and even use as spread on bread.
- You can also simply sauté broccoli, baby corn, and carrots and make a baked dish out of them.
Did you know?
To make your broccoli diet healthier and tastier, we have included a few recipes, which are easy to make.
Easy Broccoli Recipes
You can try the following healthy recipes of broccoli to add extra zest to your diet:
1. Broccoli and stilton soup
You will need:
- 1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 1 medium-size potato, diced
- 1 lt homemade vegetable or chicken broth (low salt)
- 1 knob butter
- 140g crumbled Stilton or blue cheese
- Put rapeseed oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add onions and cook till they become soft.
- Add leek, celery, potato, and butter. Stir them together and cover it for about five minutes.
- Now add the stock and chopped broccoli and let it cook for five to ten minutes until the vegetables become tender.
- Transfer everything to a blender and liquidize to a smooth consistency.
- Add Stilton, stir it and top it with black pepper before serving.
Preparation time: 40min
2. Broccoli cheddar soup
You will need:
- ½ cup butter
- 16 ounce frozen broccoli, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 14.5 ounce chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 1 loaf processed cheese, cubed
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 cup water
- Put butter in s stockpot and heat it over medium flame. Add onion and cook until soft.
- Add broccoli and chicken broth and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Now reduce the heat and add cheese cubes. Let it melt after which add milk and garlic powder.
- Take a small bowl with corn starch and water. Mix until it dissolves and add to the soup. Stir the mixture until it turns thick in consistency.
Preparation time: 45min
Speak to your doctor before you try these delicious and healthy broccoli recipes. Also, ensure that all the ingredients given in the recipes can be eaten by you.
There could a few question on your mind and in the next section we answer a few of them.
1. Can I eat raw broccoli during pregnancy?
You may eat raw broccoli if it is washed properly. Broccoli is a storehouse of essential nutrients that are important for you and your unborn baby (14).
2. Can I eat broccoli sprouts during pregnancy?
Research reveals that broccoli sprouts not only improve the mother’s health but also show an improvement in the baby’s health as they grow up. They are known to offer life-long protection to babies against cardiovascular diseases (15). Broccoli sprouts also boost the body’s natural defense from oxidative stress that may cause hypertension and inflammation.
3. Can I eat broccoli rabe during pregnancy?
Broccoli rabe is safe to consume during pregnancy. You should just make sure it is properly washed before eating. It is an excellent source of proteins, and vitamins B, C, and K.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that offer several health benefits. You can include broccoli in your daily diet and keep common pregnancy complications such as constipation at the bay. However, broccoli should be eaten in moderation. You can speak to your nutritionist or gynecologist about the permissible amounts of broccoli if you have any other health conditions during pregnancy. If you notice any allergic reaction after touching or eating broccoli, stop consuming it and contact an allergist or your gynecologist.
Infographic: How To Include Broccoli In A Pregnancy Diet?
Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, broccoli is a popular vegetable that can be included in many dishes for a healthy essence. It is also good for pregnant women when consumed in moderation. So, let’s check out the infographic below for some easy and nutritious ways to include broccoli in your pregnancy diet.