Is It Safe To Eat Hummus While Pregnant?


Pregnancy is a special state. Nonetheless, it is not a disease. It means that the dietary requirement of pregnant women differs a bit from others, but not very significantly. Pregnancy requires a higher intake of nutrition-dense foods and increased calorie intake for fetal growth.

Additionally, during pregnancy, women need to eat foods that are safe for fetal growth. It is also essential to avoid foods that might stimulate the uterus. Foods that contain specific nutrients and help boost not only fetal development but also prevent congenital disorders should be preferred.

It appears that hummus is quite nutritious. Therefore, one can consume it frequently, as it does not contain any ingredient that might be bad for pregnancy. On the contrary, hummus appears to be quite good for pregnant women. Unlike other sauces and dips, hummus is almost like a complete food, containing all the vital nutrients.

What is hummus?

Hummus is a middle eastern dip. People in this part of the world have been eating it in small amounts for several centuries. There is enough evidence to suggest that people have consumed hummus for over 1000 years in countries like Egypt. It appears to have spread from there to other surrounding nations.

Since it is a dip, it has been consumed in small amounts – something to keep in mind. Therefore, one may consume hummus frequently but in smaller quantities.

It is made using mashed chickpeas, sesame seed sauce (tahini), lemon, garlic, olive oil, and spices. In its modern variant, people may add other ingredients and even some meat products, dairy products, and more.

Traditionally, quite like any other dip, people have consumed it cold. They often ate it along with other cooked and hot dishes.

It is also worth noticing that, generally, hummus is free from animal products. Thus, it is a vegan-friendly food. However, there are many different recipes for hummus. Therefore, if you have bought it from a supermarket, it is better to read product information, as some may contain animal products.

The nutritional profile of hummus

Hummus is amazingly rich in nutrients. It is because chickpeas are its primary component. Chickpeas are among the best source of vegan protein, dietary fiber, and other nutrients. However, hummus also contains healthy fats like those from sesame seeds and olive oil.

Chickpeas are among the best source of vegan protein, and hummus is mainly made of them. Chickpeas contain about 20% protein, which is relatively high for any legume. However, hummus may contain about 10% of proteins as it contains other ingredients [1], [2].

Additionally, hummus contains high-quality carbs. It has a low glycemic index. Thus, hummus is safe for those living with diabetes or diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Along with carbs, it contains a sufficient number of dietary fibers to promote intestinal health.

Hummus is also rich in healthy fats. Most of these fats come from sesame seeds (tahini) and olive oil, both of which are excellent sources of good fats.

The micronutrient profile of hummus is also equally good. It is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium and thus can promote bone health and growth.

Among vitamins, it is particularly rich in vitamin A and folate. Both these vitamins are quite suitable for fetal growth and preventing congenital issues.

Can it cause any trouble?

It is no secret that many people complain of bloating and digestive issues after consuming various legumes like peas, beans, and more. However, it appears that chickpeas are relatively less likely to cause any such digestive problems.

There are two reasons why some people struggle to digest legumes. First, legumes are high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is quite suitable for health. It promotes gut motility and microbiota, normalizes metabolism, and more. However, dietary fiber may cause some bloating.

Another, perhaps more significant cause of bloating is the content of difficult-to-digest proteins in legumes. Legumes are especially rich in phytic acid, which may cause bloating. However, studies show that the phytic acid content of chickpea is relatively low compared to other beans like soybean [3].

Thus, it would be correct to say that chickpea is quite readily digested. It does not contain extremely high amounts of non-soluble dietary fibers or phytic acid. Chickpea is free from other anti-nutrients.

Moreover, hummus is not only about chickpeas. It means that hummus is more readily digested compared to chickpeas. Not only that, hummus is a kind of dip, and people generally consume it in moderate amounts.

Is hummus safe to consume in pregnancy?

Yes, after a thorough analysis of the nutrition profile of hummus, one can confidently say that it is entirely safe to consume during pregnancy. In fact, it is rather a good and healthy food for pregnant women, packed with some vital nutrients necessary for fetal growth.

The concerns regarding their content of anti-nutrients are unfound. Some people may have issues digesting legumes, but then chickpeas are relatively readily digested. Moreover, hummus has other ingredients like sesame, olive oil, garlic, and some spices, that are all quite good for pregnant women.

Conclusion

Hummus is a dip that can be consumed in moderate amounts regularly and safely by pregnant women. It is among the healthy foods packed with nutrients. In fact, some of the nutrients in hummus are pretty useful for pregnant women, like various minerals and vitamins like folate.

Therefore, hummus is not just safe for consumption by pregnant women. In fact, its regular consumption in moderate amounts is recommended for a healthy pregnancy. In addition, consuming hummus is also suitable for preventing chronic ailments and has a beneficial impact on metabolic profile.

References

  1. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories. Accessed July 28, 2022. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4326/2
  2. Wallace TC, Murray R, Zelman KM. The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Nutrients. 2016;8(12):766. doi:10.3390/nu8120766
  3. Chitra U, Vimala V, Singh U, Geervani P. Variability in phytic acid content and protein digestibility of grain legumes. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1995;47(2):163-172. doi:10.1007/BF01089266
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