There are certain foods, such as soft cheeses and swordfish, that pregnant women shouldn't eat because they pose a danger to their unborn babies. Eggplant, however, is not one of the foods you need to avoid. In fact, eggplant is a nutritious addition to your pregnancy diet because it's rich in certain nutrients your baby needs to grow normally.
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Eggplant Is Safe
Eating eggplant is safe and is recommended by Jonny Bowden, a nutritionist and co-author of "The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy." Adding eggplant to your pregnancy diet can help you consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, which supply a wealth of essential nutrients that your unborn baby needs to grow and that you need to support a healthy pregnancy.
Good for Your Baby
Eating a serving of eggplant will supply you and your developing baby with small amounts of key nutrients. A 1-cup serving of cooked eggplant delivers about 3 percent of the 15 milligrams of vitamin E you need each day to support the formation of your baby's red blood cells and muscles. You'll also get about 2 percent of the 600 micrograms of folic acid you need to reduce your baby's risk of birth defects. Eggplant also supplies trace amounts of iron for blood formation and vitamin A for eye formation.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
Saute eggplant slices and top them with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices for a tasty and nutritious side dish. Skip fried eggplant dishes, however, such as eggplant Parmesan. Eating fried foods can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable, and chances are, you're already feeling somewhat uncomfortable because of your pregnancy. Make a healthier version of eggplant Parmesan by sauteing eggplant slices and topping them with bread crumbs, low-sodium marinara sauce and reduced-fat Parmesan cheese. The Middle Eastern dish baba ghanouj is another healthy choice, and it's made with cooked eggplant, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Mash the ingredients together and serve the mixture with whole-wheat pita chips.
Think About This
Always wash eggplants before using them. Unwashed vegetables are dangerous for pregnant women because they can harbor bacteria that could make you sick and put your unborn baby in danger. According to the American Pregnancy Association, unwashed vegetables can be contaminated with toxoplasmosis, which can be present in the soil that eggplants grow in. Exposure to toxoplasmosis can increase your baby's risk of low birth weight, premature delivery, fever, jaundice, eye disorders, mental retardation and convulsions, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Wash eggplants with warm water and soap before preparing and eating them to reduce your risk significantly.