Herbs are a common part of our diet because they enhance the taste and smell of the food we eat. The most widely used herbs, which are the foundation of a great many recipes, are dill, mint leaves, parsley, coriander leaves, and basil. Especially coriander leaves are prized in Indian cooking for their strong flavor that stands out against the rest of the ingredients. But it’s important to know the benefits and safety precautions of the foods you eat while pregnant. Let’s learn everything there is to know about consuming coriander leaves during pregnancy.
Coriander leaves are easy to find and can be added to salads or used as a garnish for many different dishes. They are used as a garnish in many Indian dishes, almost everyday. Coriander seeds can be used in roasted meats, baked goods, pickled vegetables, and many other foods. It can be used as the base for a tasty marinade when mixed with other ingredients like peanuts, coconut milk, garlic, and lemon juice. Read on to know the pros and cons of adding coriander leaves to the pregnancy diet.
Is It Safe To Consume Coriander Leaves During Pregnancy?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)1 says that eating coriander leaves during pregnancy is safe as long as the leaves are consumed in the usual quantities used in foods (rather than concentrated forms as in medicine) and proper hygiene measures are taken when preparing the herb.
It has antidiabetic, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, diuretic, and sleep-inducing properties2. It has a lot of vitamins and antioxidants and has been shown to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Coriander seeds, which come from this plant, are often used in cooking. They are also not thought to be dangerous for a pregnant woman.
As a common piece of advice from more knowledgeable family members, a pregnant woman’s diet should include some coriander leaves. What makes this spice special is that it aids the body in excreting metals3.
Mercury, lead, and cadmium are just a few of the many toxic heavy metals that are known to cross the placenta and build up in fetal tissues. If you are exposed to heavy metals while you are pregnant, you may be more likely to have a miscarriage, stillbirth, or give birth to a child with a birth defect. These metals may also have an effect on a baby’s brain development4.
Can You Eat Raw Cilantro While Pregnant?
Coriander leaves, like many other herbs, are being used as a garnish on a variety of dishes because of the way they add both color and flavor. Fresh herbs, such as coriander leaves, are typically consumed without going through a “kill step” process first, such as cooking.
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The term “kill step” refers to the procedure used to inactivate potentially dangerous pathogens in a product. It’s an important precaution to take for the sake of food safety. The “kill step” typically involved one of the following processes: cooking, pasteurization, pathogen-killing washes, or irradiation.
These herbs are grown in the soil, making them vulnerable to bacteria and parasites in the irrigation water and soil. People are susceptible to getting sick from eating food contaminated with these microorganisms. Pregnant women are not only more vulnerable to food-borne illnesses, but they may also pose a greater risk to pregnant women.
During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is suppressed, which can cause her food-borne illness symptoms to become more severe or to last for a longer period of time. Premature birth or a miscarriage may result from this condition. Although there is currently no warning against eating raw cilantro during pregnancy, it is still wise for expectant mothers to take extra care when consuming coriander leaves.
Nutrition Facts Of Coriander Leaves
The leaves of coriander, also known as cilantro, are a rich source of vitamins A and C. In addition to these vitamins and minerals, one serving of coriander leaves also has a lot of other vitamins and minerals, such as dietary fiber, iron, manganese, calcium, vitamin K, phosphorus, and many others. In addition to these, it also contains trace amounts of sodium, zinc, and selenium.
There is a miraculous plant that contains 11 different essential oils and has a very low amount of saturated fat. The essential oil present in coriander accounts for its aroma and flavor. Coriander leaves have a good amount of linoleic acid, which has many positive effects on one’s health. According to this source, 100 grams of coriander leaves contain the following nutrients:
- 23 kcal
- 2.1-gram protein
- 3.67 gms of carbohydrates
- 4gms of protein
- 0.7 gms of fat
- 67 mg of calcium
- 521 mg potassium
- 1.8 mg of iron
- 4.7gms of fiber
- 24mg of Vitamin C
- 635mg of Vitamin A
- 310 mcg of Vitamin K
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Benefits Of Coriander Leaves During Pregnancy
Coriander leaves, like many other herbs and spices, have a number of health benefits that are particularly relevant to pregnant women. The following prenatal-friendly vitamins, macro-, and microelements can be found in healthy quantities in cilantro leaves thanks to the plant’s unique chemical makeup:
- Vitamin A (beta carotene)
- Folic acid.
- Vitamin K
Consuming coriander leaves during pregnancy has a number of health benefits, including the following:
1. Helps to strengthen the immune system
The leaves of coriander are an excellent source of vitamins C and E, which, when combined with the benefits provided by vitamin A, can work to gradually strengthen your immune system. In addition to assisting in the absorption of iron, vitamin C is known to improve the efficiency with which white blood cells function5.
Both the seeds and the leaves of coriander have antimicrobial properties that protect against a wide range of infections, such as those of the urinary tract and the digestive tract.
2. Promotes bone health and strength
During pregnancy, a woman’s bone density can become compromised, which can increase the likelihood that she will develop osteoporosis in the future. The leaves of coriander are a great source of calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are all minerals that are good for bone health. It also has vitamin K, which helps bones heal themselves and protects against diseases like osteoporosis. When you eat these leaves in dals and salads, they make your bones much stronger and relieve the pain in your joints6.
3. May help in controlling blood sugar levels
The anti-diabetic effects of coriander leaves have been studied here. Coriander’s bright green color comes from antioxidants, which have been shown to help enzymes work. As a result, it increases insulin secretion, which has the potential to bring blood sugar levels down.
Women who have gestational diabetes or high blood sugar might feel better if they ate coriander with every meal or drank coriander-infused water every day7.
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4. Helps to fight infections
Because of the antibacterial qualities of coriander, it may be effective in the prevention and treatment of infection8.
One of these chemicals that has shown potential in the battle against Salmonella infections9 is called dodecenal10. In addition, the antibacterial properties of coriander oil can be combined with those of other antimicrobials to fight food-borne illnesses11.
You can either consume the herb itself or use it liberally in dishes. Either way, you will be able to take advantage of the antimicrobial properties of coriander.
5. Coriander leaves have the potential to reduce LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.
In today’s society, high cholesterol is a given for anyone, regardless of whether they are pregnant or not. A study found that people who ate coriander leaves regularly had higher HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.
Because the mother’s estrogen levels are higher during pregnancy, the levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides all go up12. Pregnant women who ate coriander leaves had lower total blood cholesterol levels.
6. Has the potential to improve cardiovascular health
The extract of coriander has been put through a series of tests in the laboratory, and the results suggest that it may have the ability to act as a diuretic, thereby assisting in the removal of excess water and sodium from the body. This assists in lowering blood pressure, and as was mentioned earlier, it also has the potential to assist in the management of cholesterol levels.
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Since foods that are seasoned with coriander need less salt, people who eat more foods that are seasoned with coriander may be able to cut down on how much sodium they eat. This also helps to keep blood pressure at a healthy level throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
7. May be of some assistance in improving gut health
When a woman is pregnant, she may experience a wide variety of digestive issues, ranging from heartburn and constipation to gas and bloating. The leaves of coriander contain a significant amount of fiber, which, when consumed, can assist in the alleviation of digestive issues. Moreover, it shows promise as a treatment for a number of gastrointestinal complaints, such as bloating, nausea, gas, and bowel spasms.
8. Might benefit skin health
Acne, dry skin, oily skin, and other skin problems are extremely common during pregnancy. Iron, vitamin E, and vitamin A all found in high concentrations in this food help defend the skin from potentially damaging free radicals. In addition to its other benefits, coriander is a popular remedy for oily skin because of its oil-absorbent properties. It’s also a natural antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal that will leave your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
Other Benefits Of Coriander Leaves
Adding coriander to your diet is like adding a multivitamin because of all the benefits it provides. Coriander may be good for your health in many ways, including, but not limited to, boosting your immune system, lowering your blood sugar, making your hair grow back, and cleaning your skin. A few more benefits of coriander leaves are listed below.
- Coriander is excellent for digestion because it stimulates liver function and promotes regular bowel movements, so if you suffer from constipation
- There is a lot of vitamin K in coriander leaves, which can help with Alzheimer’s disease treatment
- The anti-cancer properties of the fat-soluble vitamin A and antioxidants in coriander leaves are very advantageous
- The anti-inflammatory properties of coriander are well-documented. Because of this, it helps with inflammatory diseases like arthritis
- Because of its antiseptic properties, coriander can be used to treat mouth ulcers
- The eyes benefit from the consumption of coriander. The antioxidants in coriander help keep your eyes healthy. It works well as a remedy for conjunctivitis
- An excellent herb for supporting the nervous system. It’s been shown to increase memory capacity
- Those with anemia can benefit from coriander’s healing properties. High levels of iron, like those found in coriander, are crucial for treating anemia
Related Reading: Eating Masoor Dal During Pregnancy- Benefits, Safety, And Risks
Risks Of Eating Coriander Leaves During Pregnancy
The risks stem from the herb’s antiplatelet or anticoagulant properties13. Platelets are tiny cells in our blood that aid in clotting, or coagulation. If a food or substance has anti-platelet properties, it means that it may reduce or slow platelets’ ability to stop bleeding. Foods or other things that make pregnant women more likely to bleed should be avoided more carefully.
Cilantro contains a lot of sodium. If you are trying to cut down on salt while you are pregnant, don’t eat cilantro.
Even with all of the health benefits that cilantro provides, it is best to use it in very small amounts during pregnancy. Not more than 10 g per day, and not on a daily basis. This is due to the plant’s hemostatic properties. It can cause blood clots to form in the early stages. Coriander extract is much stronger than regular coriander, so you should avoid it for the whole nine months.
If you already have some respiratory issues, it is recommended that you do not consume an excessive amount of coriander leaves because it can make your symptoms worse14. It has the potential to cause acute breathing problems, which, if left untreated, could eventually develop into chronic lung diseases like asthma. It’s possible that coriander leaves could trigger an allergic reaction in some people, which would show up as a reddening of the mouth and swelling of the nasopharynx.
The renewed interest in healthy lifestyle choices, including the consumption of more leafy greens and salads, can be attributed to the public’s growing concern for their health and well-being. Given the available data, coriander leaves may be generally safe to consume during pregnancy as long as they are cleaned and prepared according to standard food safety procedures. It’s important to remember that, like any other herb, eating too many coriander leaves while pregnant can lead to some unwelcome side effects, so moderation is key.