There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to pregnancy diet. Some of these may seem contradictory because some foods that are highly nutritious and considered healthy may not be good for a pregnant woman for some reason or the other. Similarly, there are many safety concerns about consuming garlic during pregnancy as well.
Garlic is one of the most debated pregnancy foods when it comes to safety aspects. Garlic is well known for its anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Garlic offers amazing medicinal benefits as well.
Garlic is an incredible source of organosulphur that offers a plethora of health benefits. This compound is responsible for the rich aroma and sharp flavor of garlic as well. According to some midwife tales, craving garlic during pregnancy is an indication of carrying a baby girl. Again, there is no scientific backup for this.
Related Reading: Garlic And Fertility – How To Use The Herb For Best Results
Consuming garlic during pregnancy is a debated topic. So if you wonder how safe is to add garlic paste while cooking your favorite dish during pregnancy, this post is for you. Let’s evaluate the risks, precautions, benefits, and safety concerns of garlic during pregnancy.
Garlic During Pregnancy – Is Its Safe?
So far no studies emphasize garlic is completely unsafe during pregnancy. Likewise, no study says it is perfectly safe as well. Therefore, when it comes to safety of eating garlic during pregnancy, it is most likely to be safe when used in the amounts generally found in food.
Garlic is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You can reap its benefits if consumed in moderate amounts. However, it is important to be cautious about eating garlic when you enter your second and third trimester.
This is because excessive garlic intake during the last stages of pregnancy can bring about two potential side effects that could adversely affect the pregnancy – thinning of blood and lowering the blood pressure.
Therefore, if you already have pressure variation issues or other underlying health issues, it is always better to ask your doctor about the safe quantity of garlic you can have. Consuming two to four cloves of fresh garlic daily during pregnancy is usually considered safe.
Nutritional Profile Of Garlic
- Carbohydrate: 33.1 gram
- Dietary fiber: 1.2 gram
- Protein: 6.4 gram
- Omega 3 fatty acid: 20 mg
- Omega 6 fatty acids: 229 mg
- Vitamin K: 1.7 mcg
- Vitamin B6: 1.2 mg
- Vitamin C: 31.2 mg
- Pantothenic acid: 0.6 mg
- Calcium: 181 mg
- Phosphorous: 153 mg
- Potassium: 401 mg
- Sodium: 17 mg
- Zinc: 1.2 mg
- Magnesium: 25 mg
- Iron: 1.7 mg
- Manganese: 1.7 mg
- Selenium: 14.2 mg
- Choline: 23.2 mg
Garlic also contains traces of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate
Benefits Of Eating Garlic During Pregnancy
As already mentioned the medicinal property of garlic has been recognized and used to treat various ailments for thousands of years. Some of its medicinal properties are beneficial during pregnancy as well.
Here are the top benefits of eating garlic during pregnancy.
1. May help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure
Garlic and high blood pressure have a connection. According to experimental studies, garlic can act as a platelet inhibitor and a vasodilator. It also reduces oxidative stress. Thus eating garlic helps to enhance blood circulation and reduces the chances of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a common issue during pregnancy found to affect 10% of pregnancies. The blood volume that increases by 50% during pregnancy can take a toll on blood vessels. Garlic can potentially reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension significantly.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure and high protein level in urine. Thus, eating garlic during pregnancy may help with reducing the risk of preeclampsia.
Related Reading: Top 10 Protein-Rich Foods For Pregnancy
2. Helps to reduce cholesterol
Garlic has cholesterol-lowering properties. It is a rich source of allicin, a magic content that is very effective in lowering cholesterol levels. According to a source consuming half to one clove of garlic every day (preferably on empty stomach) can potentially reduce the cholesterol levels by around 10%.
3. Eating garlic during pregnancy can help to increase the birth weight of the baby
Low birth weight means during birth, the baby weighs less than 2.5 kg. Low birth weight can happen due to many pregnancy complications. A baby with low birth weight can lead to many risks in the future. Eating garlic during pregnancy might help to prevent low birth weight.
Related Reading: 18 Foods To Eat To Increase Fetal Weight During Pregnancy
According to some studies, garlic should be consumed by pregnant women whose babies are at the risk of being small or having a pre-term birth. This is because some components in garlic can stimulate the placental cells. Thereby, the enzyme activity that was decreased (as in an abnormal pregnancy like preterm pregnancy) gets enhanced. This reduces the chances of low birth weight.
4. Helps to prevent cancer
Studies show garlic can potentially prevent certain forms of cancer. Garlic is deemed to be very effective in preventing colon cancer or stomach cancer. Even though not directly associated with pregnancy, this anticarcinogenic property of garlic is another good reason to include it in your diet.
5. Garlic can keep common infections at bay
During pregnancy, the immune system of a woman is highly compromised, and therefore she is prone to various infections. Garlic is well known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
Also, according to studies eating garlic increases the number of virus-fighting T-cells in the bloodstream. This helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common infections during pregnancy including cold and flu.
Also, the high sulfur content of garlic is another reason for its ability to enhance immunity. The sulfur compound in garlic helps the body with the absorption of the trace elements like zinc, which is an immunity booster.
Related Reading: 11 Indian Home Remedies For Cold During Pregnancy
6. Helps to prevent skin and oral infections
Pregnant women often contract gum issues. Garlic can help the gums to stay healthy. According to a study published in the July 2005 issue of Archives of Oral Biology, garlic can potentially inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Likewise, pregnancy can bring about an array of skin issues. The antimicrobial property of garlic can help prevent this.
Note*: Please note that to reap all the above-mentioned benefits, garlic should be eaten in moderation. Excessive intake of garlic can trigger various annoying side effects.
Risks And Precautions Of Eating Garlic During Pregnancy
Like any other food, garlic has its own share of potential risks. However, there are some precautions you can follow when eating garlic during pregnancy.
Here are some potential side effects/risks of eating garlic during pregnancy:
1. May trigger excessive bleeding
The blood thinning property of garlic can bring about excessive bleeding during delivery or during surgical procedures like c-section.
2. May cause a sudden drop in blood pressure
Excessive consumption of garlic during pregnancy can make the blood pressure drop to a very low level causing dizziness. The chance of a sudden drop in blood pressure is something a pregnant woman should try to avoid. A sudden fall in blood pressure can affect fetal health and also even make the mother faint suddenly.
3. Can affect thyroid function
Excessive intake of garlic could hamper the ability of the body to absorb iodine from the food. This can adversely affect the function of the thyroid gland. Improper functioning of the thyroid gland can bring about serious consequences during pregnancy.
Related Reading: 7 Home Remedies For Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
4. Can trigger gastric issues
Garlic contains sulfur components that can generate excess gas. Excessive consumption of garlic during pregnancy can bring about bloating and nausea. It is observed that many people who eat raw garlic on an empty stomach experience vomiting and severe heartburn. Excessive consumption of garlic can also cause diarrhea.
Two to three pods of garlic won’t cause any harm during pregnancy. Also, there is no need to stay away from dishes in which garlic is used as an ingredient. On the other hand, if you plan to consume garlic in other forms like garlic-infused oil, garlic capsules, etc, always consult the doctor beforehand.
Garlic supplements contain a high concentration of garlic essence and you could easily go overboard. Here your doctor will help you to find the right dose. Likewise, pickled garlic is also not a good option as it may contain high sodium content which nullifies the benefits of garlic.
If there is a scheduled c-section it is better to stop eating garlic a few days prior to it to lessen the chances of bleeding. Likewise once the due date nears try not to eat raw garlic for the same reason.
Now you understand how nutritious garlic is and how to reap its benefits during pregnancy. During pregnancy your body may react differently to foods. So in case you feel any discomfort after eating garlic, discuss it with your doctor.
Generally, consuming two to four fresh garlic cloves is safe. This equals around 600 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) garlic extract. But when it comes to the safety of garlic during pregnancy, usually garlic used as food is considered rather than its supplement form. Therefore, like for the intake of any other supplement during pregnancy, you should seek the permission of your doctor before having garlic supplements as well.
Are you craving garlic bread during pregnancy? Are you wondering about the safety of eating garlic bread during pregnancy? Here comes the good news. You can eat garlic bread with a healthy twist. You can make garlic bread with whole-grain bread. Sulfur in garlic helps to absorb zinc.
Zinc is a trace element that is essential during pregnancy. Whole grains contain zinc. So by eating whole wheat garlic bread, besides quenching your craving, you are taking a healthy step as well.
Even though according to a source, excessive intake of garlic (as in supplements) can increase the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, there are no many scientific study results to support this. So let’s put it this way- while eating garlic in normal food amount is safe, consuming it in medicinal amounts is riskier during early pregnancy.