What Are the Benefits of Mushrooms for Pregnant Women?

During pregnancy, your unborn child is completely dependent upon you for the nutrients he needs to grow and develop. Getting proper nutrition during your pregnancy is even more important than normal. Filling your diet with nutrient-dense foods, like mushrooms, is a great way to ensure that you are meeting the nutritional needs for you and your baby.

A woman holds a handful of fresh picked mushrooms. Credit: waldru/iStock/Getty Images

Your B Vitamin Needs

B vitamins are important during pregnancy because they help you use energy from the food you eat and they promote healthy skin, nerves and digestion. Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, particularly riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. One cup of raw portabella mushrooms has 8 percent of the daily recommended amount of riboflavin for pregnant women and 21 percent of the recommended amount of niacin. One cup of shiitake mushrooms has17 percent of the daily recommended amount of pantothenic acid.

Your Vitamin D Needs

Vitamin D is another important nutrient during pregnancy, because it is necessary so that your body can absorb calcium in the intestinal tract, and for the development of bone and teeth. Very few significant foods sources of vitamin D exist, and mushrooms are the only plant food that contains the vitamin. A 1-cup serving of shiitake mushrooms has 12.6 international units of vitamin D.

Your Need for Iron

As the volume of your blood expands during pregnancy, your body needs more hemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying protein found in blood. This means that your body also requires additional iron, since iron is an essential component of hemoglobin. It can be difficult to get the 27 milligrams of iron in your diet that you need during pregnancy, but one cup of morel mushrooms has 8 milligrams of iron.

Your Need for Antioxidants and Fiber

Another nutritional benefit of mushrooms during pregnancy are the antioxidants they provide. Selenium and ergothionein -- both found in mushrooms -- help protect your cells from free-radical damage and boost your immune system. The fiber in mushrooms, along with other high-fiber foods, may help prevent constipation, which is common during pregnancy.

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