How Safe Is Cabbage During Pregnancy?
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on Sep 25, 2018
Pregnancy is a crucial phase of a woman's life. Pregnancy not only makes her feel special but also makes her vulnerable. Any negligence concerning her diet or lifestyle can take a toll on the progression of her pregnancy and development of the unborn baby. So, eat healthy while you are expecting. Vegetables are generally one of the foods that you should eat plenty of when you are pregnant, typically the leafy vegetables. But are all leafy vegetables, even though highly nutritious, safe during pregnancy? Here, let’s look at the safety of eating one specific leafy vegetable –cabbage– during pregnancy.
Cabbage is a green, leafy, cruciferous vegetable. There are several varieties of cabbage available in the market. It is highly nutritious. The entire vegetable is edible and you can have it raw by adding in salads and coleslaw, or in pickled or cooked forms.
Nutritional Value Of Cabbage
Cabbage is a good source of many essential nutrients. Some of the major nutrients and its approximate percentage present in cabbage (per 100 grams) are:
- Vitamin C = 61%
- Dietary fiber = 10%
- Vitamin B-6 = 5%
- Potassium = 4%
- Calcium = 4%
- Magnesium = 3%
- Iron = 2%
- Vitamin A = 1%
- Protein = 2%
- Also has phosphorous, manganese, folate, Vitamin K, B1 AND B2
Is Cabbage Safe During Pregnancy?
It is safe to eat properly cooked cabbage during pregnancy. Here are some important reasons:
- Cabbage holds numerous medical advantages that are beneficial for expecting mothers
- It is rich in nutrients and nearly gives the same effect of taking multivitamin tablets over the span of pregnancy
- Some researches stipulate that babies born to mothers who comprised cabbage in their daily menu during pregnancy develop a higher immunity to some cancers
Nonetheless, it ought to be noticed that it may not be safe to eat raw cabbage during pregnancy if certain conditions are not well-thought-out.
Also Read: Is It safe To Take Lexapro During Pregnancy?
Is It Safe To Eat Raw Cabbage During Pregnancy?
Eating Raw cabbage is not safe during the course of pregnancy unless necessary precautionary measures are taken. As cabbage can easily contaminated by bacteria and fungus, it can cause foodborne illness like listeria. Unlike during the non-pregnant state, Listeria in the course of pregnancy can raise several issues that can lead to miscarriage, preterm labor, life-threatening infection of the newborn, and even stillbirth. The continual use of pesticides and fungicides during cultivation also contaminate the cabbage, thereby making it unsafe to eat raw during pregnancy. Cooking the cabbage (steaming or stir-frying) limits the impact of pesticides and microbes to some extent.
Benefits Of Eating Cabbage During Pregnancy
Cabbage provides lots of health benefits to the expecting mother. Here are some of the important health benefits of consuming cabbage during pregnancy:
- Prevents constipation:Cabbage contains a large amount of dietary fiber. Therefore, including cabbage in the daily menu will help to improve digestion, regulates bowel movements, and also help to prevent constipation, which is a common issue during pregnancy
- Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes: The high fiber content of the cabbage helps to regulate the blood sugar level and bring down the chance of gestational diabetes among the expecting mothers.
- Prevent birth defects: Cabbage contains folic acid, which helps to prevent birth defects like neural tube birth defects in the newborns by enabling proper DNA replication.
- Controls weight gain: Women requires only about 300 extra calories per day once they enter their second and third trimesters. Cabbage is low in calorie and high in nutritional value. Thus, including cabbage on the daily menu will help the pregnant women to maintain minimum body weight gain throughout pregnancy without compromising on nutrition
- Prevents swelling: Cabbage leaves are used for facilitating swollen legs which are quite common during the third trimester of pregnancy. Wrapping cabbage leaves around the legs is a common practice to ease the swelling.
- Reduces the risk of anemia: Cabbage is rich in Iron, which plays a vital role in increasing hemoglobin count and generating RBC. Therefore, regular consumption of cabbage during pregnancy will help to reduce the risk of anemia, another common issue that surfaces in the course of pregnancy
- Improves immunity: The antioxidants and vitamin C present in the cabbage helps to boost the immunity in the course of pregnancy.
- Regulates Blood pressure: Cabbage is a rich source of electrolytes as it is enriched with minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. These minerals play a significant role in regulating heart rate and blood pressure
- Has anti-cancer property: Cabbage contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are anti-cancerous in nature and fight against cancer-causing cells. Thus, when consumed regularly, not only cabbage helps to prevent cancer in the mother but as already mentioned, a child who born to the mother who regularly consumes cabbage during the gestational period lowers the risk to have cancer later in their life
Is Chinese Cabbage Safe During Pregnancy?
There are different varieties of Chinese cabbage. The commonly used variety is Napa cabbage. It has elongated, firmly packed, curly pale green leaves. It is used in Chinese cuisine. Wash it thoroughly with running water as it can be contaminated with microbes and pesticides. You can slice it and stir-fry with your choice of sauce. It will also give good flavor when added to stews and soups. It is as beneficial as ordinary cabbage.
Is Cabbage Juice Safe During Pregnancy?
Cabbage juice is very beneficial during pregnancy. It is safe to drink cabbage juice unless you are not allergic to cabbage. Avoid cabbage and cabbage juice if you are prone to gas formation as cabbage can trigger gas formation. Mixing cabbage juice with carrot juice and celery juice makes a healthy combo drink for pregnancy.
What Precautions Should Be Taken When Eating Cabbage During Pregnancy?
As already stated, cabbage can carry disease-causing microbes and pesticides. Therefore,
- Wash thoroughly the cabbage leaves before cooking or using it in salads. Remember that a single wash will not be sufficient
- Use cooked cabbage instead of raw as pregnancy is not a period to take chances
- Overcooking will also spoil its nutrition. Therefore, it is better to stir-fry cabbage with little oil in high flame for 5 minutes
- Buy cabbage cultivated in organic farms
- Never buy cabbage that is cut. The moment the cabbage is cut, its nutritional value starts to decrease
- Use freshly cut cabbage for cooking. But keep aside the sliced cabbage for around 10 min before cooking. This is because the myrosinase enzymes in the shredded cells of the cabbage will be active only after 5 to 7 minutes