Pregnancy brings along a sense of excitement as well as confusion on what to eat and what not to eat. With the arrival of newborns comes the bombardment of opinions and old wives’ tales especially from mothers and mothers-in-law along with nausea, tiredness, mood swings, and hunger cues. As the body of pregnant women becomes vulnerable to certain foods during pregnancy, one such topic for discussion becomes “is it safe to eat garlic during pregnancy?”
Garlic – a pungent bulbous plant/herb from the Allium (onion) familya. Allium class of family also contains onions, scallions, leeks, and shallots. In ancient times, Garlic was used for flavoring food, as a medicinal herb, vampire repellant, pregnancy diagnostic kit, to protect pregnant women from evil nymphs, etc. It is said that garlic was used as the currency to pay and feed the workers and slaves on the pyramids. It was so popular that its shortage of this aromatic bulb caused the stoppage of the construction. From being revered as an offering to God and yet was not cooked and eaten by the Egyptian priests, garlic was both celebrated and condemned by the different belief systems practiced across the world.
For centuries, garlic have been recognized for its various health benefits for pregnant women. It is absolutely safe for pregnant women to consume garlic during the first trimester. But the real concern arises how much garlic you should consume. Generally, a pregnant woman should eat between two and four cloves of fresh garlic per day. Additionally, when consuming garlic during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, they should exercise caution, as eating too much garlic during this time may lower your blood pressure levels and thin your blood.
Garlic is a healthy addition to a pregnancy diet for a variety of reasons. Following are the 5 advantages of eating garlic during pregnancy:
1. Enhances a baby’s weight
Garlic helps with the low birth weight is an issue that arises during pregnancy. Several studies have shown that garlic helps babies of low birth weight or preterm birth gain weight. Garlic supplements also reduce the risk of birth complications by stimulating growth in the cells of your placenta.
2. Boosts blood circulation
Garlic has a unique property that has proven to be an effective blood flow stimulant. It contains potassium, which lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In order to maintain a healthy pregnancy, your blood circulation must be optimal since much of the nutrients required for your baby come from you.
3. Reducing the risk of high blood pressure
Pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure is a potentially harmful condition that affects nearly one in 10 pregnant women. Garlic lowers the risk of having high blood pressure in pregnant women by reducing oxidative stress or inhibiting platelet aggregation. As garlic thins the blood and triggers low blood pressure, it is advisable to intake garlic with caution during the second and third trimesters.
4. Reduces fatigue
Feeling tired and fatigued during pregnancy is a common symptom during pregnancy but garlic helps enhance performance and reduce fatigue. It also helps to alleviate nausea and dizziness during pregnancy.
5. Boosts heart’s health by lowering cholesterol
Garlic has natural medicinal properties which helps in dealing with heart-related issues during pregnancy. It relaxes the hardened blood vessels by producing nitric oxide hence reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in pregnant women. Garlic is also rich in allicin compounds, which helps to balance the cholesterol level when eaten during pregnancy.
With plenty of health benefits associated with garlic, you shouldn’t add too much of it to your diet too soon, no matter how tempting it may seem. If you consume too much, you might suffer from an upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, bad breath, and body odor.
Even though garlic has many cautions associated with it during pregnancy, moderation in consuming it is a better alternative than avoiding it completely. Crushing or chopping 1 -2 cloves of garlic and adding it to your diet can lower the risk of complications during pregnancy. A healthy pregnancy requires a balanced diet, as most of the nutrients for the baby come from the mother, hence it is advisable to consult your doctor before you add raw garlic or garlic supplements to your diet.
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