Beans are a proteinous food that’s rich in iron and a staple food for many people. It can be prepared in a variety of ways and eaten at any time of the day. This is a healthy meal and should be a part of your pregnancy diet plan, but then we are going to look at best beans for pregnancy as there are some beans varieties to avoid during pregnancy.
Because they are over 400 different types of beans, deciding the one to stick to and go with can be confusing. This article covers the types of beans that can be eaten during pregnancy, the types to avoid, and the best of all the available ones. By the end, you should be equipped with all you need to know to make a healthy choice.
Can You Eat Beans During Pregnancy?
Although certain types of beans must be avoided or eaten in moderation, beans in general are a healthy meal. It provides nourishment and facilitates a couple of functions in the body.
However, it’s important to pay attention to your body and only feed it what it wants or needs. A lot of women complain about how beans worsen their pregnancy symptoms causing bloating and flatulence. This is still not the case for every woman.
Due to its rich protein and iron composition, it’s okay to eat this as often as your body desires, especially If you live in an area where beans are a staple food.
Also, pregnant women who have to deal with high blood pressure are advised to avoid certain foods in the carbohydrate class and use beans as an alternative.
So, yes, you can eat beans during pregnancy as it is a healthy nutrient source and a common food recommendation. All you have to do is eat the types that do not cause you intestinal problems while avoiding certain types that have been proven to cause certain issues.
Also Read: Best Food for 3rd Trimester
Beans To Avoid During Pregnancy
As stated earlier, there are numerous types of beans, and some of them aggravate or cause certain problems. To prevent food poisoning and other related troubles, you also have to be cautious of the method used in preserving what you eat.
Some Beans Varieties To Avoid During Pregnancy Include:
● Fava Beans
Fava beans also known as broad beans are sweet, green legumes. It is a bean variety that has been recorded to lower blood pressure. Pregnant women who are hypotensive or at risk of being diagnosed with hypotension should avoid or reduce the consumption of this bean variety.
● Soy Beans
A study carried out in the year 1994 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that soy protein contains iron absorption inhibitors. Generally, iron can be absorbed from both heme iron sources like meat and nonheme iron sources like plant protein.
While it is easier for the body to absorb iron from heme sources, the absorption of iron from non-heme sources can be inhibited in the presence of Soybeans.
Pregnant women should avoid eating Soy along with other plant proteins. And women with iron deficiencies may choose to gain these needed iron from heme iron sources.
● Avoid Beans With High Purine Content Like Mung Beans
Beans with high purine concentrations should be avoided by women suffering from gout or gouty arthritis. Foods rich in purine produce uric acid after undergoing digestion. These acids tend to be deposited at joints therefore worsening or increasing the risk of gout.
Purines are naturally not detrimental to our health but their by-products upon digestion may pose a serious threat. Though, high-purine vegetables do not pose the same risk as other purine food sources. Therefore, vegetable proteins can be used as an alternative in this situation.
● Dried Beans
Pregnancy sometimes comes with bloating and constipation. In many cases, pregnant women who eat dried beans complain about constipation. Ensuring you drink enough water after eating beans would help relieve constipation. If after trying this approach, nothing changes, you may choose to stick to other bean alternatives.
● Green Beans
Green beans are often consumed In their raw states hence they have to be washed properly. When it’s not washed thoroughly with water, it could lead to a disease or food poisoning. So pregnant women should avoid eating green beans that have not been properly washed.
● Frozen Green Beans
Green beans require proper storage to prevent spoilage. Green beans that were not stored properly should be avoided to prevent spoilage.
● Commercially Canned Beans
Commercially canned beans require a proper check before eating. Things to look out for are the date of production and the shape of the can. Freshly or recently prepared beans would do better than those close to expiration and the shape Of the can should be intact and not dented to be sure it’s not contaminated.
Also Read: Best Yogurt During Pregnancy
Benefits Of Beans During Pregnancy
1. It’s a Good Source of Amino Acids
Beans play several nutritional roles during pregnancy. It is rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Proteins are responsible for repairing and maintaining body tissues.
However, most beans are incomplete proteins as they do not contain all nine essential amino acids. Regardless, beans can be eaten in many different ways and It remains an essential diet for both vegans and non-vegans. Also, beans contain a lower number of calories compared with most animal proteins.
Folates are another essential nutrient gotten from beans. This nutrient Is responsible for the production of healthy red blood cells. It also helps in preventing possible neural tube defects as the baby develops.
Naturally occurring antioxidants protect the cells from free radicals. Free radicals are substances gotten from the breakdown of food. The role antioxidants play helps in protecting the heart and reducing the risk of cancer.
Beans are a rich source of an antioxidant known as polyphenols. These polyphenols help in countering the damaging effect of free radicals on the body cells.
4. Lowers The Risk Of Developing Cancer
Based on research, beans have shown the ability to reduce the growth of colorectal cancer cells. Also, its oxidative ability shields the body cells from free radicals that can damage them.
5. Stabilises Blood Glucose
Beans are a rich source of fiber. Studies have shown that consuming a high-fiber diet like beans reduces the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, adding beans to the diet lowers blood pressure. Women who become hypertensive during pregnancy can try making this a regular part of their diet.
6. Prevents The Accumulation of Fats In The Liver
The consumption of animal protein accelerates the accumulation of fat in the liver. In addition to the different methods suggested for the prevention of this action, beans can be eaten as a substitute. Beans being a plant protein does not contain as much fat.
Also Read: Best Cereals for Pregnant Women
Are Baked Beans Good For Pregnancy
Beans can be prepared in a various ways including baking. There are plenty of delicious baked beans recipes you can try preparing. Baked beans just like boiled beans are rich in fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, and many more.
There are no research studies to show that baked beans can be detrimental to your health or your baby’s health during pregnancy. So feel free to eat this as often as you like. Though, this meal tends to aggravate symptoms like heartburn and constipation for some women.
10 Best Beans For Pregnancy
Of the over 400 beans and other legumes that can be eaten during pregnancy, some are readily available with more nutrients. And can be eaten with a range of other foods. The ten best beans for pregnancy include:
1. White Beans
White beans are rich in folate, iron, and the mineral copper. Iron and folate are of special importance as they aid the creation and movement of red blood cells through the body. The fiber component of white beans helps in managing pregnancy symptoms like constipation.
White beans can be eaten with soup, stew, or salad.
2. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans have a variety of vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, molybdenum, manganese, potassium, vitamin K and folate. It helps in removing unwanted substances from the body. Kidney beans can be eaten with different kinds of soup and salad.
3. Black Beans
Black beans are a wonderful source of protein for vegans. It contains minerals like iron and magnesium as well as vitamin B6. This is the perfect diet to ensure you only add the right weight during pregnancy. It’s also associated with the ability to lower blood pressure.
4. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are very rich in folates. Pregnant women need enough blood supply so they do not face the risk of blood shortage during pregnancy and postpartum. Folates help in the creation of body tissues and red blood cells. It also protects the baby from developing neural tube defects.
5. Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas
Garbanzo beans contain folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. It is rich in fiber and protein. Just like Pinto beans, it helps the body generate red blood cells and ensures the proper development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
6. Soy Beans
Soybeans are a complete protein as it contains nine essential amino acids. It contains calcium, folate, vitamin B, potassium, and iron.
7. Navy Beans
Navy beans are very rich in protein and fiber. It contains vitamin B and a host of other minerals. It is also a rich source of folate and magnesium. Navy beans are mostly eaten with a complementary dish or soup.
8. Green Peas
Green Peas contain beta-carotene, manganese, magnesium, folate, calcium, potassium, protein, fiber, and vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. It helps in boosting the functions of the immune system.
9. Black-Eyed Peas
Black-Eyes peas are rich in folate, manganese, and vitamin A. Folate helps in maintaining a healthy blood supply. Manganese helps in boosting your energy levels and vitamin A helps with vision.
Lentils are legumes. They are a rich source of iron, protein, potassium, and folate. Potassium reduces the occurrence of muscle cramps and aids blood circulation. It also lowers blood pressure.
Beans in general are an essential food source that should be a part of the pregnancy diet. The bean varieties listed above are more common and easy to prepare. They are also rich in nutrients that are required to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy and postpartum.