Pregnancy is a crucial time in the life of a woman when she is at her most vulnerable – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Every step that she has to take she needs to make sure that it is safe for her and her child as well. When it comes to diet, there are so many differing opinions about what one should eat that she may feel overwhelmed. One such controversy is overeating potato in pregnancy.
Potatoes are a staple food in a lot of households and are added to various curries and vegetables. The potatoes are loaded with nutrients and a moderate consumption of potatoes is healthy during pregnancy. The primary source of energy for the womb is glucose that is found in carbohydrates. Potatoes are exceptionally rich in carbohydrates, and three to four servings of carbohydrates in a day are considered safe during pregnancy. Other than potatoes, some sources of carbohydrates are rice, bread, cereal, and other whole-grain options.
Here are some health benefits that the potatoes offer while you are pregnant.
1. Prevents neural tube defects – Potatoes are rich in folic acid which helps in the fetal nervous system development, therefore lowering the risk of issues related to the spinal cord and brain. Folate-rich food can prevent miscarriages in the early stages of pregnancy.
2. Lower gastric acidity – Potatoes are extremely helpful for those who suffer from digestive issues. A serving of well-cooked mashed potatoes helps greatly in reducing gastric acidity.
3. Boosts immunity – Baked potatoes are a great source of vitamin C that helps in healing wounds and boosting immunity. It also improves the body’s ability to absorb iron from different food sources.
4. Reduces the risk of heart diseases – The potato skin is rich in potassium levels which are linked to decreased hypertension and heart stroke. On an average, one serving of baked potatoes with skin can provide 962 mg of potassium.
5. Helps fetal development – Potatoes being a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C and minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium, aids in the development and growth of fetus.
6. Fights cholesterol – Potatoes contain vitamin C and soluble fibres that help in combating cholesterol.
Some other risks that are associated with the consumption of potatoes during pregnancy are listed below.
1. Gastrointestinal problems – Green potatoes contain compounds like glycoalkaloids, alpha chaconine, and alpha solanine, which can cause toxicity if consumed in excess and lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, thereby affecting the fetal development.
2. Risk of gestational diabetes – Eating potatoes or chips for most days of the week may increase the risk of gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Potatoes contain starch in large amounts that are absorbed by the body rapidly and can affect the metabolism of glucose. Several studies have revealed that the consumption of potato increases the concentration of plasma glucose and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Babies born to women having gestational diabetes may be larger than average and have low blood pressure, difficulty in breathing, and risk of death after delivery. Having potatoes in moderate quantities and swapping them with other carbohydrate-rich food items can significantly lower the risk of gestational diabetes.
3. Risk of birth anomalies – Consuming too many green potatoes can cause certain birth defects like anencephaly and spina bifida.