One day, you wake up and realize you are pregnant. You are on cloud nine and along with your happiness, pours in the advice of family, friends and relatives about dos and don'ts during pregnancy - What to eat and what not to, what to wear and what not to, how to sit, how to walk, how to sleep and the list goes on. Your tranquillity is broken and everyone comes rightfully to offer you advice. But when it comes to eating special foods like garlic during pregnancy, no one seems to be sure about the effects it has. Is it really safe to consume garlic during pregnancy? Benefits of garlic are numerous but what about the garlic side-effects during pregnancy? To help you know more about it and decide what is good for you, we have provided all the necessary information here.
Table of Content:
1. What is garlic?
2. Nutritional value of garlic
3. Consuming garlic during pregnancy - How safe is it?
4. Reaping health benefits by eating raw garlic - How much is recommended during pregnancy?
5. Benefits of eating garlic
6. Side-effects of garlic
What is garlic?
Garlic is a bulbous herbal plant originated from the variety of wild mountain onion. Just like onions, garlic also has long leaves and its subterranean part consists of garlic cloves.
Garlic is characterised by its pungent taste and a very strong smell and that is what makes cooking food out of the world. Garlic is not just an amazing spice which adds flavours to food but it could also contribute to adding health. The benefits of eating raw garlic are legendary.
‣ Garlic is a package of vitamins and nutrients. Along with vitamins, garlic cloves also contain natural antibiotic alistatin, organic iodine, garlisin and other active elements.
‣ Garlic is a natural antibacterial drug. What makes it different from an artificial or man-made antibacterial drug? Unlike the drugstore's antibacterial drug, garlic doesn't destroy the useful microflora in the human beings and helps your body without losing the healthy balance of your system.
‣ Garlic plays a major role in strengthening the blood vessel. Alistatin in raw garlic cloves helps in removing the tension in the blood vessel by interacting with erythrocytes that produce hydrogen sulphide. And hence, help in normalizing the bloodstream.
‣ Garlic is a natural blood thinner too. Hence, it helps in normalizing the high blood pressure.
‣ Garlic helps in maintaining your muscles by reducing the percent of hormone cortisol (the hormone that destroys the muscles) and by raising testosterone level.
‣ Do you want to be slimmer? Garlic could be one of the ways. It produces a significant amount of adrenaline which lowers the appetite and improves the metabolism process. And this certainly makes you slimmer.
Garlic can be consumed in various forms - Raw crushed or whole garlic cloves, extract, powder and essential oil. Each form of these contains different amounts of active constituents.
Nutritional value of garlic:
Garlic cloves are a packet full of vitamins and minerals. Each 100 g of Garlic provides 95% of Vitamin B6, 52% of Vitamin C, 33% of Copper, 21% of Iron, 18% of Calcium, 26% of Selenium, 73% of Manganese of recommended daily consumption.
Consuming garlic during pregnancy - How safe is it?
There are quite a lot of foods which haven’t proved themselves as either beneficial or harmful for pregnant women and garlic also falls into that category. When eating garlic during pregnancy is the centre of discussion, you could see how attitudes conflict. Opinions diverge in the opposite directions. Some argue garlic during pregnancy is safe and healthy considering its medicinal value and some argue it could be toxic and irritating to the inner organs. And others take a neutral stand - all is well in moderation. What exactly is it then?
Considering the advantages garlic has over the pregnant women health, it is definitely safe if consumed in small amounts. It is absolutely harmless and healthy to include garlic in your diet in the first trimester compared to subsequent trimesters. Since the garlic consumed in excess could lead to thinning the blood and could lower the blood pressure, it is advised to be more cautious in second and third trimesters.
Reaping health benefits by eating raw garlic - How much is recommended during pregnancy?
Health benefits of garlic are multifold. Consuming two to four fresh raw garlic cloves everyday could give you a good health without harming you or the little life inside you. Two to four garlic cloves are equivalent to 600 to 1200 mg of garlic extract or 5 ml of fluid extract or 0.03 to 0.12 ml garlic essential oil or 20 ml tincture.
If your pregnancy hormones are playing their role and making you puke at even the smell of garlic, you could always choose garlic supplements in the form of freeze-dried tablets. The tablets can be taken in the dosage of 400 mg thrice a day. But above all, since you are pregnant and you absolutely don’t want to do anything that could cause even the slightest discomfort to your baby, it is best to get your doctor’s approval before consuming raw garlic cloves or garlic in any other forms.
Benefits of eating garlic:
In spite of all the warnings, prohibitions and reinsurance you get to hear from your friends and relatives, it is proved that garlic is a healthy add-on to your diet - during your normals days and also during pregnancy period. So, what are the benefits you could reap from garlic? Here they are:
1. Protection from infections, cold and flu: The antibacterial property and the ability of garlic to boost the immunity by killing the harmful microorganisms in your body helps you to combat against infections. Eating raw garlic cloves or even smelling it could help you in brushing-off the flu or cold.
2. Alleviates the oral and skin Infections: During pregnancy, it is normal to have a lower immunity and being vulnerable for infections. The antimicrobial property of garlic provides the remedy for such infections. The application of garlic or its extract topically at the infection side offers relief from pain and irritation.
3. Prevents Hair Loss: Hair loss is one of the problems most of the pregnant women face. And garlic acts as one of the resolutions for this. The Sulphur-based compound Allicin present in garlic prevents hair loss and also promotes hair growth.
4. Reduces Fatigue: With the baby growing each day in the tummy, the pregnant woman undoubtedly puts on weight and fatigue accompanies along the way. Eating garlic during pregnancy helps in lowering the fatigue and keeps dizziness and vomiting in check.
5. Lowers the risk of Pre-eclampsia: Pre-eclampsia is a condition in which the mother-to-be will have high blood pressure during pregnancy causing many problems such as lowering kidney and liver function, increase in chances of blood clotting, pulmonary oedema. Garlic becomes a superhero in such cases. Eating garlic during pregnancy lowers the risk of high blood pressure and also maintain protein level in urine.
6. Boosts baby weight: If the baby has the risk of preterm birth, eating garlic during pregnancy boosts overall weight in the baby and also lowers the chances of birth complications.
7. Lowers the Cholesterol: Garlic is known for its ability to treat the heart. It is known as ‘A remedy of heart’. Allicin content in garlic balances your cholesterol level and also thins out your blood preventing a stroke or heart attack. It holds true even for pregnant women.
8. Remedy for Yeast Infection: It has been noticed that eating garlic during pregnancy has helped many pregnant women fight yeast infection. The antifungal property of the garlic makes it an ideal remedy to treat yeast infections such as yeast hypersensitivity syndrome and chronic candidiasis.
Side-Effects of Garlic:
Garlic consumed in moderation is good for health. But if it goes beyond the moderate amount, despite the multi-fold benefits, it could cause a few garlic side effect in pregnant women.
1. Thins out the blood: As said above, garlic is a blood-thinner. If consumed excessively, there might be uncontrollable bleeding during labour. In such cases, the doctors might advise a surgery or C-section. This is one of the major garlic side-effects.
2. Lowers blood pressure: For the women with preeclampsia, garlic lowers the blood pressure and it is good for health. But in the case of pregnant women with normal blood pressure, it could be harmful. The blood pressure fallen to a dangerously low level could send your body to a shock.
3. Reacts negatively for medicines: Garlic might not support a few anticoagulation medications like insulin, cyclosporine, Coumadin, etc and might react negatively to those.
4. Lowers the blood sugar level: Garlic might increase the insulin release in the body and could cause lowering of the blood sugar level.
5. Affects the absorption ability: Garlic might lower the iodine absorption ability of the body and could lead to hypothyroidism.
All kind of foods have “For” and “Against” statements when the person who is asking about it, is a pregnant woman. Whether “Benefits” outweighs “side-effects” or vice versa is what matters. In any case, “consuming in moderation” is the mantra for all varieties of food.