Doctors recommend consuming a lot of vegetables during pregnancy to ensure that the mother, as well as the fetus, gets adequate nutrition. Beetroots are a great winter vegetable that boasts impressive nutritional content. There are a lot of questions regarding consuming beetroot during pregnancy. Are you wondering whether eating beetroot during pregnancy is safe for you? Find out the answers to all your questions about consuming beetroot during pregnancy below.
Nutritional Value Of Beetroot
Even though beets do not contain much protein, you will get some of the macronutrients from a single serving. It is a good source of beta carotene and can be an addition to your list of pregnancy superfoods. Despite its low glycemic index, this root vegetable has a sweet taste.
According to a source, one cup of raw red beetroot (136g) provides,
- 58 calories, the majority of which comes from carbs (84%), followed by 13% from protein, and 4% from fat
- It has significant amounts of folate and traces of choline
- It is one of the best sources of vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium
- It also contains a modest amount of sodium and phosphorus
- Betacyanin is a nutritious pigment in beetroot that carries many health benefits.
- Beets also offer a decent amount of silica, selenium, and calcium
Is It Safe To Eat Beetroot During Pregnancy?
The majority of women can benefit from beets during pregnancy (exceptions to this include if you are prone to kidney stones). Raw, boiled, or juiced beets are known for having blood purifying, detoxifying, and body revitalizing properties.
It is safe for pregnant women to consume moderate amounts of beetroot throughout this phase. Are you wondering how much beetroot to eat per day during pregnancy? Well, this amounts to two medium beets per day.
Related Reading: Hummus During Pregnancy
Health Benefits Of Including Beetroot In Your Pregnancy Diet
The high vitamin/mineral content of beetroots makes them a highly recommended food for pregnant women, whether they are cooked, juiced, or raw. There are various ways to prepare beets. Eating beets during pregnancy can protect a pregnant woman and her unborn child from certain health problems.
The following benefits are associated with consuming beetroot during pregnancy:
1. Rich in folate
Consuming beetroot during pregnancy in the first trimester is highly beneficial as it contains a significant amount of folate. Folate is necessary for the development of the baby’s spinal cord and prevents neural tube defects1. Beetroots are one of the vegetables that contain the largest amount of folic acid. From an average beet, pregnant women can get between 100 and 150 micrograms of folic acid2. This is remarkable when you understand that pregnant women need 400 micrograms of folic acid3.
2. Improves oxygenated blood flow to the uterus
Beetroot is rich in nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator that relaxes and widens blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure4. This compound also has anti-inflammatory properties and discourages blood clot formation. Thus, eating beetroot ensures an abundant supply of nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood flow to the uterus. This contributes to optimal fetal growth and also reduces the risk of fetal growth restriction.
3. Helps prevent joint pains
Betaine, an antioxidant phytonutrient with anti-inflammatory properties, is responsible for beets’ dark red color. It can reduce inflammation and discomfort in joints that are common during pregnancy.
Related Reading: 15 Home Remedies For Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
4. Rich in iron and vitamin C
Beetroot is an excellent source of iron. Consuming foods rich in iron increases hemoglobin levels in the blood. Beetroot consumption during pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of iron deficiency anemia5.
In addition to iron, beetroot is a great source of vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. Getting enough vitamin C is very important and is one of the simple ways to boosts the immune system during pregnancy. It protects the expecting women from various infections.
5. Helps control blood pressure
Pregnant women are often affected by hypertension, anxiety, and stress. This results in high blood pressure. As already mentioned above, inorganic nitrates are abundant in beetroot. Inorganic nitrates facilitate the production of nitric oxide. This causes blood vessels to widen, thus lowering blood pressure. Thus, eating beetroot during pregnancy will be beneficial for expecting women experiencing gestational hypertension6.
Related Reading: 9 Early Warning Signs Of Postpartum Depression To Watch Out For
6. Regulate metabolism
It is vital to regulate metabolism for a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that beetroot extracts can potentially increase basal oxidative metabolism. Beetroot is extremely beneficial for metabolism due to its potassium content. Pregnant women can increase their potassium intake by eating beetroot or drinking its juice, and this helps to maintain electrolyte balance. This in turn will regulate metabolism during pregnancy.
7. Beetroot maintains bone density
Beetroots contain many nutrients that support bone health. Folate, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and copper are all essential minerals that build and strengthen bones.
Thus, beetroot helps strengthen bones and prevents decalcification of bones and teeth during pregnancy.
Beetroots also help the body in utilizing calcium, thereby maintaining the bone density of pregnant women. Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, but regular consumption of beetroot lowers this risk to some extent7.
Related Reading: Top 10 Calcium Rich Foods For Pregnancy
8. Helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Beetroots are a low-glycemic food which means the body takes longer to absorb their sugar content. In other words, it doesn’t cause an instant spike in your blood sugar. Along with their natural sugar, they contain fiber, potassium, and folate, which are beneficial for pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
Furthermore, beetroot is a rich source of betalain and neo betanin, two nutrients that positively influence glucose levels, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress resistance. It is beneficial to drink beetroot juice every morning during pregnancy so it will gradually and steadily transform into glucose, providing energy throughout the day8.
9. Promotes a healthy liver
It is thought that betaine in beetroot has hepatoprotective and hypolipidemic effects. Betacyanin, which is found in beets, is also capable of detoxifying the liver and blood. Beetroot helps eliminate fatty acids and toxins from your body, ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
10. May lower the risk of preeclampsia
As a consequence of chronic hypertension, pregnant women are at increased risk of pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, and early preterm birth. Beetroot is high in dietary nitrate, which lowers the risk of preeclampsia9.
11. Helps with healthy weight gain
Pregnancy increases the body’s nutrient needs. For this reason, if you increase your food consumption, you might end up facing pregnancy complications because of being overweight. As they’re high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, manganese, and iron, beets are an excellent addition to your diet. Beets are low in calories, high in fiber. So, you get all the nutrients you need from this root vegetable without gaining weight.
12. Helps prevent constipation
Hormones may cause digestion to slow down during pregnancy. Pregnant women should eat fiber-rich foods to avoid constipation. Consuming beet juice or eating boiled beets can be an easy home remedy to relieve constipation during pregnancy, as beets contain high amounts of fiber.
Beetroot Juice During Pregnancy
A good way to take in many of the benefits of beets is to juice them. Known as the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier, glutathione is naturally produced by the human body. Beet juice has been found to increase glutathione production in the body, which is one of its major benefits10.
In the process of juicing, the pulp – which contains the most fiber – is often left behind. That’s quite a drawback. By consuming whole beets, you can still enjoy the benefits of beets, along with their fiber content. As a matter of preference, you are free to juice beets instead of eating them if that’s what you like.
NB: About two beets are needed to make one glass of juice. This means one glass of beetroot juice meets your daily amount of beetroot. You can also mix your juiced beet with orange or apple juice to make a tasty drink
Beetroot juice during pregnancy: Things to remember
- During pregnancy, you should always drink homemade beetroot juice
- If you decide to buy beetroot juice over making it yourself, be sure it is pasteurized and unpasteurized juice may contain harmful bacteria
- Make sure you thoroughly wash the beets before making beetroot juice
- As they’re grown in soil, they’re likely to be infected with Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma, which may result in pregnancy complications. Therefore, pregnant women should always wash Beetroot carefully before eating it, particularly if eating it in raw form
Related Reading: 10 Drinks To Avoid During Pregnancy
Ways To Include Beets In Pregnancy Diet
Several ways can be used to incorporate beetroot into your pregnancy diet. A simple way to incorporate it into your pregnancy diet is to slice it and mix it in a salad with other vegetables. Other ways to incorporate it into the pregnancy diet include:
- Baking beets along with other vegetables is a healthy option
- You can also roast it in a little butter or ghee
- You can make a healthy dish by boiling beetroot and seasoning it with salt and pepper. This would be a great option for a snack during pregnancy
- Including beetroot juice in your pregnancy diet is an excellent idea
- It is also beneficial for pregnant women to mix its juice with other vegetable juices, such as carrot juice or fruit juice like apple or orange juice. Not only does this enhance the taste, but it also enhances the nutritional value
- Beetroot can be grated and added to the dough to make crispy parathas or tortillas
Note: Despite the many ways to consume beetroot, it is important to not overdo it. No matter what dish you prepare, keep the number of beets moderate, which is two medium beets per day.
Risks And Precautions Of Eating Beetroot During Pregnancy
Although beetroot has some benefits, you should consider the risks before incorporating it into your pregnancy diet. Here is a list of possible side effects of beetroot during pregnancy that should not be ignored.
- The consumption of large amounts of concentrated fresh beetroot juice causes gastric discomfort, nausea, and vomiting11
- Concentrated beet juice has been known to cause temporary paralysis of the vocal cords. Your voice may temporarily change to a hoarse sound, and you may have trouble swallowing or coughing as a result of tightened vocal cords. It can be very alarming although this effect is temporary and causes no harm. Beet allergies are considered to be the cause of this effect. Beets should be consumed in moderation and mixed with other fruits and vegetables to reduce this risk.
- In terms of lowering blood pressure, beetroot is very effective. The downside is that eating beets further lowers your blood pressure and could bring it to unhealthy levels if you already have low blood pressure
- If you have been diagnosed with low blood pressure, it is best to consult with a physician on how much beet is safe for you
- Beeturia is a condition characterized by reddish urine and stools resulting from excessive beetroot consumption. The symptoms are harmless and will disappear when you reduce or discontinue your intake of beets. If, however, you feel sick or the color of your stool does not disappear even after discontinuing beetroot consumption, call your doctor right away, as changes in stool color may indicate an internal issue or an iron deficiency.
- The oxalic acid in beets can form oxalates when combined with calcium and/or vitamin C. High levels of oxalates can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure. Due to this reason, expectant mothers should limit their intake of beets if they have kidney disease, are prone to kidney stones, or are following a low-oxalate diet for another reason. A study found that boiling beets significantly reduced their soluble oxalate content. Therefore, eating boiled beets is a safer option for those who are prone to kidney stones
- Beets are not recommended for pregnant women with gout. Beets contain oxalate, which increases uric acid, which in turn aggravates gout.
- Because oxalic acid binds calcium, foods high in this acid hinders calcium absorption. Beets are rich in oxalic acid, so if you eat a lot of them, your blood will be high in this acid. No matter how much calcium you eat, it cannot be absorbed. Calcium is one of the top essential minerals as far as pregnancy is concerned.
Beets have plenty to offer in terms of nutrition, and they can fight inflammation and provide many benefits during pregnancy. It is, however, important to follow moderation when it comes to eating beetroot during pregnancy. Also, to minimize the negative effects of beet juice while maintaining its nutritional value, it can be mixed with other fresh vegetable juices.
Be sure to select small to medium-size beets that feel firm and have smooth skin. If the root tips of the beets have hairs, avoid them. Choose beets based on their greens. Perky, crisp greens are a sign of fresh beets.
Pickled beets are popular among pregnant women. As the bacteria will have been killed during the making process, store-bought good brands of pickled beets are relatively safe during pregnancy.
Pickled beets that are made at home are fine to eat during pregnancy, but make sure the jars and containers are sterilized thoroughly to prevent contamination.
Be sure to follow a safe recipe that includes enough acidity and salt to prevent bacteria from growing.
If you consume beetroot powder only in ‘food amounts’ instead of larger, medicinal amounts, then beetroot powder should be safe to consume during pregnancy. Be sure that the beetroot powder contains only dehydrated/dried beetroot.
Powdered beetroot should be used in the same amounts as fresh beetroot after it is hydrated. Even if it is made from raw beetroot, powdered beetroot is considered to be safe for pregnant women to consume since it is sterilized during the process of powdering.
There is no real best time to eat beetroot during pregnancy. It is safe to include them in a pregnant woman’s diet (moderately) throughout her pregnancy.