I have come to realize that people pay paltry attention to foods that are common or rather cheap. They prefer to buy ones that are expensive while believing they are more nutritious. So is the case of this finger like, readily available vegetable called okra. Sometimes this is a complete misconception. This versatile vegetable can be added and prepared with other vegetables to suit your appetite. In this short post, I will be sharing with you why pregnant women should include servings of okra into their diets at recommended allowance before and during pregnancy.
The economy of our country has affected everything. Gone are those days when couples plan to get pregnant. Now, they only wake up to visit the clinic to find out from the Medical Doctor that the wife is pregnant without having a serious intention for the unborn baby.
It is essential that prior to pregnancy and during pregnancy, the woman ought to change her eating habits and consume certain foods that help the health of a pregnant woman. One of such foods is Okra vegetable. I have been privilege to work with children with developmental challenges. Asides from other complications which could lead to some of these developmental conditions, lack of folate or folic acid in a woman’s diet can cause Neutral Tube Defects such as Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida. These are not common birth defects but children with these conditions exist. Okra contains a reasonable amount of folate which helps in reducing the chances of a pregnant woman producing a baby with these conditions.
RECOMMENDED READING: Know more about Folic acid & Its Benefits
Besides being high in folate, Okra is low in calories and loaded with plenty vitamins such as A, thiamine, B6, C, riboflavin and minerals such as calcium, zinc and dietary fiber. The fibre helps in preventing constipation, while the low calorie of the vegetable helps in proper weight management during pregnancy. While no one should lose weight during pregnancy, it is essential to avoid being obese. It is clearly unhealthy.
Ensure you properly wash your okra vegetable to avoid contaminants and you cook them under low heat to avoid loss of nutrients that are essential in the proper development of the foetus.
Okra Nutritional value per 100 g
Energy 30 kcal 150 kJ
Carbohydrates 7.6 g
Dietary fiber 3.2 g
Protein 2.0 g
Folate (Vit. B9) 87.8g 22%
Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
Calcium 75 mg 8%
Magnesium 57 mg 15%
Vitamin A (660 IU)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.