Okra During Pregnancy Third Trimester

Before you reach for that okra during your pregnancy, here are some health benefits of okra that will make you think twice about adding it to your diet.

1) Okra has the ability to prevent constipation and haemorrhoids

You can also prevent constipation and haemorrhoids by eating okra. Okra is a good source of fibre which helps to prevent constipation, especially in your third trimester. In fact, eating foods with high fiber content is one of the best ways to keep your digestive system healthy and strong in general.

But what about those pesky haemorrhoids? Well, it turns out that there are many different types of fibre that can help reduce the frequency or severity of these painful anal varicose veins (the technical name for haemorrhoids). Some types include whole wheat breads, bran cereals, barley flour and oat bran cereal just to name a few! Who knew?!

2) The soluble fibre of okra helps in the development of the foetus

The soluble fibre of okra helps in the development of the foetus. The process of digestion requires water, which is absorbed by the body from food. This process starts with chewing (mastication), mixing (trituration) and chemical digestion (hydrolysis).

3) Okra contains Vitamin C, which is beneficial during pregnancy

Okra contains Vitamin C, which is beneficial during pregnancy. Vitamin C is important for the development of the foetus as well as the mother’s health. It helps in the production of collagen necessary for formation of new cells in both mother and child.

At this time your body requires more protein than usual because it needs to produce hormones and enzymes required for childbirth. Okra contains protein that will give you strength during labor and delivery..

4) Okra helps in strengthening immunity

Okra is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C helps to strengthen immunity by fighting against infections. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that also helps to protect your body against illnesses.

It has long been known that some foods such as citrus fruit and berries contain high amounts of antioxidant properties, which help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases by neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals. In fact, it’s now believed that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can actually boost overall health and longevity! That’s because these foods contain antioxidants—powerful molecules that fight off harmful free radicals (molecules produced during normal metabolism). These free radicals can damage tissues throughout the body, including heart muscles, brain cells and skin tissue—which results in inflammation or impaired function of these vital organs over time if not properly neutralized.”

5) Okra consumption can reduce blood sugar levels

Okra consumption can also help in maintaining the blood sugar level. It helps to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and preterm labour.

In addition to this, okra is rich in vitamin C which plays a key role in preventing anemia during pregnancy. It also contains folic acid that helps prevent neural tube defects in a foetus.

6) It is good for a pregnant woman’s heart health, bone health and prevents neural tube defects (NTD’s)

If you are pregnant and eat okra regularly, it will be good for your heart health. It is also a good source of folate which helps to prevent neural tube defects (NTD’s) in the foetus. Neural tube defects include spina bifida and anencephaly among others. Folate doesn’t just protect the foetus against NTDs, it also prevents miscarriage and premature delivery.

Folate is important for the development of a baby during pregnancy because it helps build its tissues as well as preventing miscarriage and premature delivery. This vitamin can be found in fruits such as oranges and green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale. You can also get this vitamin from fortified cereals that have added vitamins A, D, E or K2 (known as ‘micronutrient fortified’) or from supplements if you don’t eat enough food that has folate in them!

okra is highly recommended during pregnancy

Okra is highly recommended during pregnancy. It’s a healthy snack that can be eaten at any time of the day. Its sweet and crunchy taste makes it an enjoyable treat!

Okra is also a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, fibre, iron. In addition to these benefits, okra has been shown to help with digestion during pregnancy by making the stool softer so it passes through your body easily (and less frequently).

Conclusion

Okra is a common food in India and has been used by women for centuries. This functional food can be prepared with various spices and ingredients. In fact, the taste of okra depends on the way it is prepared, which makes it versatile. This means that you will never get bored of eating okra during your pregnancy as you can always spice it up a bit! Okra combines several nutritional elements such as vitamins A, B6, C, E, K and folic acid (which prevents neural tube defects) all into one serving. These nutrients are essential for both mother-to-be and foetus development because they help to prevent constipation, heart health problems like high blood pressure; they also strengthen immunity while reducing blood sugar levels which in turn reduces chances of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Okra During Pregnancy Third Trimester

Ninth Month of Pregnancy Diet

In This Article

Last Updated on March 8, 2022

The ninth month of pregnancy is when you should relax and rest as much as possible. In the third trimester, your diet and lifestyle should account for both you and your baby’s health.

Which Foods Should You Eat in the Ninth Month?

Indulge in healthy and nutritious foods similar to those you had in the first and second trimester. But you’ll need to eat bigger meals as your baby is putting on weight. Here are some foods you should include in the third-trimester pregnancy diet.

1. Fibre-Rich Foods

Include fresh vegetables, fruits, cereals, oats, bread and whole grains in your diet.

2. Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium-rich foods are a must in the last stage of pregnancy. Your growing baby needs calcium for the development of strong bones. Cheese, yoghurt, lentils, almonds, leafy greens are good choices.

3. Iron-Rich Foods

Iron deficiency is a major problem faced by women in the third trimester. Even if you take iron supplements, your diet should be consist of iron-rich foods. Iron is available in raisins, broccoli, chicken, peas, berries, eggs, fish, etc.

IRON RICH FOODS

4. Foods With Vitamin C

Eat tomatoes, cauliflower, strawberries, broccoli, bell-peppers and oranges. These are not only high in vitamin C but are also good for your skin.

5. Folic Acid-Rich Foods

Folic acid is vital for your baby’s growth, especially for spine development. If you don’t take folic acid supplements, add foods like beans, green leafy vegetables, and chickpeas to your plate.

6. Foods With Vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary for your baby’s eyes and also helps your eye health. Foods like sweet potato, carrots, and spinach are full of Vitamin A. 

Summing Up: Foods to Eat During the 9th Month of Pregnancy

  • Fresh fruits like strawberries, and oranges
  • Fresh veggies like tomatoes, cauliflower, beans, sweet potato, carrots, and peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-grain foods
  • Dairy products like cheese, yoghurt, eggs, chicken, and fish
  • Lentils
  • Leafy greens like spinach
  • Dry fruits like raisins, and almonds

A balanced diet keeps common pregnancy symptoms like heartburn and constipation at bay. It also ensures the proper development of the fetus.

Which Foods Should You Avoid in the Ninth Month?

Here’s a list of foods to avoid in the early as well later stages of pregnancy:

by Taboola

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1. Caffeine

Caffeine is highly dangerous to your little one during pregnancy. If you simply can’t do without it, limit the intake to 200 mg a day. Chocolate may also contain caffeine, so it’s better to cut down on its consumption.

2. Alcohol

Avoid alcohol throughout pregnancy.

AVOID ALCOHOL

3. Soft Cheese

Cheese that is unpasteurized can lead to listeriotic, an infection which is hazardous to your baby. So, stay away from it.

4. Tobacco

Tobacco can affect the development of the foetus.

5. Fish With High Mercury Content

Some types of fish like shark, marlin and swordfish contain a high amount of mercury, which is harmful to the baby.

6. Raw Meats

With uncooked or half-cooked meat, you run the risk of contracting a bacterial or viral infection that can cross the placenta and cause harm.

7. Junk Foods

Chips, cakes, cookies and candy have little nutritional value and are high in sugars and fats. They should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether.

Summing Up: Foods to Avoid During the 9th Month of Pregnancy

  • Coffee and chocolate with caffeine content
  • Alcohol
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Tobacco
  • Fish with mercury content like swordfish, shark and marlin
  • Raw meats
  • Junk foods

Tips

These tips will help manage your meals better.

  • Split your meals into 6-7 portions instead of 3 large ones.
  • Consume water throughout the day.
  • Eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day.

Eating a balanced diet and including exercises like brisk walking and yoga help to avoid complications and risks for both the mother and the baby.

Which Vegetables Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body, and pregnant women should consider adjusting their eating habits to adapt to these changes. Diet is one of the most important factors that can affect a pregnant woman’s overall health and the health of her child. Important foods to avoid include raw shellfish and undercooked eggs.

Eating a healthful diet is essential during pregnancy, but there are some foods that pregnant women should avoid altogether. Many people understand the risks of eating high-mercury fish or raw meats, but there are also other foods that many people would not expect to cause potential issues during pregnancy.

Pregnancy affects the immune system, which may make some women more susceptible to infection. Many foods carry bacteria or other infectious germs that may cause problems during pregnancy. Even in cases where the pregnant woman does not feel sick, some of these germs may still affect the fetus.

Certain fish

White fish steaks with greens, sprouts and beans on plate
Fish can have a high mercury content, which is unsafe for the fetus.

Though many people see fish as a good, clean source of protein and nutrients, such as fatty acids, the type of fish a pregnant person eats is very important.

Some fish tend to be high in mercury, which is very toxic and cause problems for both the pregnant parent and the fetus.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (USDHHS), pregnant women should avoid the following fish:

  • big eye tuna
  • marlin
  • swordfish
  • king mackerel
  • shark
  • orange roughy
  • Gulf of Mexico tilefish

They also recommend avoiding all raw or undercooked fish, such as from sushi or sashimi. Uncooked fish may contain parasites or harmful bacteria. Cook all fish to 145℉.

However, many fish are still safe to eat while pregnant. As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source note, some fish contain lower levels of mercury, including:

  • anchovies
  • sardines
  • herring
  • catfish
  • flounder
  • salmon
  • canned light tuna
  • tilapia

These fish choices can help provide helpful nutrients, and the FDA recommend eating two to three servings of these fish each week.

Alcohol

Though some people may think they can drink small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, there is no safe level for alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source note that any alcohol in the woman’s blood passes to the fetus through the umbilical cord. This may cause a range of physical or mental developmental issues.

Most doctors will advise pregnant women to avoid alcohol.

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Raw shellfish

While pregnant, it is best to avoid all raw seafood, especially raw shellfish. The USDHHS food safety website notes that raw shellfish, such as oysters, crab, and clams, may be a potential source of Vibrio bacteria, which can cause cholera and other infections. Cook all shellfish to 145 °F.

These infections may cause loss of water and electrolytes in the body, which can be severe and potentially fatal. They may also cause a change in the immune system that puts the child’s health at risk.

A study in the International Journal of Infectious DiseasesTrusted Source reports that there is a link between abnormal changes in the immune system during pregnancy and other issues, such as poor fetal growth, preterm birth, and preeclampsia.

Deli meats or other cured or undercooked meats

Deli meats and soft cheeses are not safe to eat during pregnancy.
Deli meats and soft cheeses are not safe to eat during pregnancy.

Some types of meat could harbor the potentially dangerous Listeria bacteria.

According to the CDCTrusted SourceListeria infections may be particularly dangerous for pregnant women and newborns. Listeria can also lead to miscarriage.

To avoid contracting Listeria, cook all meat to 165℉ before eating it. This includes all meats that a person would normally eat cold, such as sliced meats from a deli.

This may be more difficult for cured meats, such as Serrano ham, pepperoni, or pancetta, so it may be best to avoid these meats.

Raw or undercooked greens and sprouts

Greens and sprouts are generally great foods to add to the diet as they contain large amounts of fiber and nutrients. However, some greens or sprouts may contain bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause infection.

A study in the Clinical Microbiology and Infection notes that bacterial infections of the blood, of which E. coli infections are among the most common types, are potentially fatal during pregnancy. It is essential to avoid E. coli while pregnant.

The CDCTrusted Source note that E. coli infections are hard to pin down because they can derive from many different sources.

An E. coli infection can cause a variety of problems, including food poisoningurinary tract infections, and respiratory illness.

About 20 percent of E. coli infections are due to contaminated foods, which may include greens and sprouts.

Avoid raw or undercooked sprouts, such as:

  • mung beans
  • alfalfa
  • clover
  • radish

Always use fresh, new sprouts and cook them thoroughly before eating them.

The USDHHS also warn against eating salads made in a store deli. Be wary if the salad contains ingredients that may carry bacteria, such as ham, chicken, or seafood.

Raw or undercooked eggs

Eggs are a simple source of protein and nutrients, but undercooked or raw eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria. The CDCTrusted Source note that a Salmonella infection typically lasts about a week, though it may be more serious in people with compromised immune systems and very young children.

Pregnant women can prevent infection by avoiding sources of raw or undercooked eggs, such as:

  • poached or fried eggs with a runny yolk
  • lightly scrambled eggs
  • salad dressings that contain egg, such as Caesar dressing
  • tiramisu
  • eggnog
  • artisan or homemade ice cream
  • cake batter
  • cookie dough
  • hollandaise sauce
  • casseroles and other products containing eggs

When buying eggs, choose pasteurized eggs. The pasteurization process kills all bacteria in the egg, reducing the risk of infection. Always check the labels of store-bought products containing egg to check for pasteurization. Cook all eggs and products that contain eggs to 160 ℉.

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Soft cheese

Many kinds of cheese contain helpful bacteria, but some contain harmful bacteria as well.

The USDHHS recommend that pregnant women avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as:

  • feta
  • Gorgonzola
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Roquefort
  • queso fresco

Soft cheese may contain harmful bacteria, such as Listeria or E. coli. It is safer to eat hard varieties, such as Swiss or Cheddar cheese. Pasteurized cheese is an even better choice, so check the label to ensure the cheese is made from pasteurized milk.

Caffeine

Barista pouring caffeinated coffee into mug in cafe
Drinking high amounts of caffeine may increase the risk of pregnancy loss.

While some people can enjoy a small amount of caffeine during pregnancy, doctors often recommend that pregnant women avoid it completely because caffeine can pass to the fetus.

A fetus is unable to break down caffeine, which can cause problems.

As a 2016 study in Public Health NutritionTrusted Source notes, pregnant women who consume higher levels of caffeine may run the risk of pregnancy loss, though the research is still inconclusive.

Unpasteurized milk or fruit juices

The USDHHS advise pregnant women to avoid both unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized fruit juice.

Unpasteurized milk may contain E. coliListeria, or Salmonella.

These bacteria can cause severe infections in pregnant women, especially if their immune system is already stressed. Always drink pasteurized milk and check the labels of any milk-containing foods to confirm this.

Unpasteurized juice or cider may be a source of E. coli. Avoid raw fruit juices or cider, including fresh squeezed juices, such as orange or apple juice. Boil any unpasteurized juice or cider for at least 1 minute to eliminate bacteria before letting it cool and drinking.

Takeaway

Though there are some restrictions to the diet while pregnant, these restrictions help to ensure the health of both woman and child.

As pregnancy causes many changes in the body, doctors may recommend individual dietary options.

By working with a doctor or nutritionist, most people can find a diet plan that helps them avoid problematic foods during pregnancy.

Benefits of Okra During Labor

Okra is a flowering plant known for its edible seed pods. It’s cultivated in warm and tropical climates, such as those in Africa and South Asia.

Sometimes referred to as “lady’s finger,” okra comes in two colors — red and green. Both varieties taste the same, and the red one turns green when cooked.

Biologically classified as a fruit, okra is generally utilized like a vegetable in cooking.

It’s frequently used in Southern American cuisine and a popular addition to gumbo. Yet, it can have a slimy texture, which some people find unappealing.

Though it’s not one of the most common foods, okra is packed with nutrition.

Here are 7 nutrition and health benefits of okra.

1. Rich in nutrients

Okra boasts an impressive nutrient profile.

One cup (100 grams) of raw okra contains (1Trusted Source):

  • Calories: 33
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Magnesium: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 14% of the DV

Okra is an excellent source of vitamins C and K1. Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that contributes to your overall immune function, while vitamin K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s known for its role in blood clotting (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Additionally, okra is low in calories and carbs and contains some protein and fiber. Many fruits and vegetables lack protein, which makes okra somewhat unique.

Eating enough protein is associated with benefits for weight management, blood sugar control, bone structure, and muscle mass (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

SUMMARYOkra is rich in many nutrients and particularly high in vitamins C and K. This fruit is unique, as it provides protein, a nutrient that many other fruits and vegetables lack.

2. Contains beneficial antioxidants

Okra packs many antioxidants that benefit your health.

Antioxidants are compounds in food that fend off damage from harmful molecules called free radicals (6Trusted Source).

The main antioxidants in okra are polyphenols, including flavonoids and isoquercetin, as well as vitamins A and C (7Trusted Source).

Research shows that eating a diet high in polyphenols may improve heart health by lowering your risk of blood clots and oxidative damage (8Trusted Source).

Polyphenols may also benefit brain health due to their unique ability to enter your brain and protect against inflammation (9Trusted Source).

These defense mechanisms may help protect your brain from symptoms of aging and improve cognition, learning, and memory (9Trusted Source).

SUMMARYOkra is rich in antioxidants that may reduce your risk of serious diseases, prevent inflammation, and contribute to overall health. Most notably, it contains polyphenols that may contribute to heart and brain health.

3. May lower heart disease risk

High cholesterol levels are associated with a greater risk of heart disease.

Okra contains a thick gel-like substance called mucilage, which can bind to cholesterol during digestion, causing it to be excreted with stools rather than absorbed into your body.

One 8-week study randomly divided mice into 3 groups and fed them a high-fat diet containing 1% or 2% okra powder or a high-fat diet without okra powder.

The mice on the okra diet eliminated more cholesterol in their stools and had lower total blood cholesterol levels than the control group (10Trusted Source).

Another possible heart benefit of okra is its polyphenol content. One 4-year study in 1,100 people showed that those who ate a diet rich in polyphenols had lower inflammatory markers associated with heart disease (11Trusted Source).

SUMMARYAnimal research suggests that okra may bind to cholesterol in your gut and lower blood cholesterol levels. It’s also rich in polyphenols, which fight harmful inflammation and protect your heart.

4. May have anticancer properties

Okra contains a type of protein called lectin, which may inhibit the growth of human cancer cells.

One test-tube study in breast cancer cells found that the lectin in okra may prevent cancer cell growth by up to 63% (12Trusted Source).

Another test-tube study in metastatic mouse melanoma cells discovered that okra extract caused cancer cell death (13Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that these studies were performed in test tubes with concentrated and extracted components of okra. More human research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn.

SUMMARYOkra contains a protein called lectin, which is being studied for its role in cancer prevention and treatment. More human research is needed.

5. May lower blood sugar

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is very important for your overall health. Consistently high blood sugar can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Research in mice indicates that eating okra or okra extract may help decrease blood sugar levels (14Trusted Source).

In one study, rats given liquid sugar and purified okra experienced fewer blood sugar spikes than animals in the control group (15Trusted Source).

Researchers suggested that the okra decreased sugar absorption in the digestive tract, leading to a more stable blood sugar response (15Trusted Source).

That said, okra may interfere with metformin, a common diabetes medication. Therefore, eating okra is not recommended for those taking this drug (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARYEating okra has been linked to blood sugar control. Yet, some research suggests that it may interfere with common diabetes medications.

6. Beneficial for pregnant women

Folate (vitamin B9) is an important nutrient for pregnant women. It helps lower the risk of a neural tube defect, which affects the brain and spine of a developing fetus (16Trusted Source).

It’s recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 400 mcg of folate every day.

A review that included 12,000 healthy adult women found that most consumed just 245 mcg of folate per day, on average (17Trusted Source).

Another study that followed 6,000 non-pregnant women over 5 years discovered that 23% of participants had inadequate folate concentrations in their blood (18Trusted Source).

Okra is a good source of folate, with 1 cup (100 grams) providing 15% of a woman’s daily needs for this nutrient.

SUMMARYEating okra may help pregnant women meet their daily folate needs. Folate is important for preventing neural tube defects.

7. Easy to add to your diet

Though okra may not be a staple in your kitchen, it’s quite easy to cook.

When purchasing okra, look for smooth and tender green pods without brown spots or dried ends. Store them in the fridge for up to four days before cooking.

Usually, okra is used in soups and stews like gumbo. It contains mucilage, a thick substance that becomes gummy when heated. To avoid slimy okra, follow these simple cooking techniques:

  • Cook okra at high heat.
  • Avoid crowding your pan or skillet, as this will reduce the heat and cause sliminess.
  • Pickling okra may reduce the slime factor.
  • Cooking it in an acid-like tomato sauce reduces the gumminess.
  • Simply slice and roast okra in your oven.
  • Grill it until it’s slightly charred.

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