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Eating Beetroot During Pregnancy: Health Benefits And Side Effects

10 Health Benefits Of Eating Beetroot During Pregnancy

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Cravings are common during pregnancy. If you crave sweets too often, you could try eating veggies or fruits that satiate your sweet tooth, to avoid fattening and zero nutrition foods like sweets or cakes. One such option is beetroot, which is used to make desserts, shakes, and even curries that you may include in your pregnancy diet.

Read this MomJunction post to understand the benefits of beetroot in pregnancy, its side-effects, and some yummy recipes using the root vegetable.

Can You Eat Beetroot During Pregnancy?

You may consume moderate amounts of beetroot during pregnancy. This comes up to two around beetroots a day. The vegetable is known to have blood purifying, detoxifying, and body revitalizing properties and may be consumed raw, cooked, or juiced.

Nutritional Profile Of Beetroot

A 100 gram serving of raw beetroot might provide you the following nutrients that could help with your pregnancy needs (1).

NutrientRDA (2)(3)(4)Per 100g of beetroot
Total folate600μg109μg
Calcium1000mg16mg
Magnesium350-360mg (3)23mg
Potassium2900mg325mg
Iron27mg0.8mg
Dietary fiber28g (4)2.8g

Health Benefits Of Beetroot Or Beetroot Juice During Pregnancy

Here is how eating beetroot during pregnancy might help with the below issues.

  1. Birth defects: The horticulturists in the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that beets are among foods with the highest folic acid content (5). Including beetroot might help in the nervous system development of babies and could minimize the risks of birth anomalies such as spina bifida.
  1. Immunity: The book Super foods for pregnancy by Sussanah Marriott says that beetroot is known to have antioxidant properties that could build immunity. Pregnant women require high immunity levels to steer clear of various ailments and infections.
  1. Decalcification of teeth: Beets have a good amount of silica, which enables the body to utilize minerals such as magnesium and copper (6). Along with it, it also has calcium and magnesium, which might help pregnant women deal with the decalcification of teeth.
  1. Metabolism: Beetroots provide potassium that might help balance the electrolytes and control the metabolism substantially during pregnancy. Also, it may help maintain blood pressure levels in expecting mothers (7).
  1. Joint pains and swelling: Beetroot contains trace amounts of betalain, which acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent (8). It is likely to avert pain and swelling in the joints (6).
  1. Blood purification: Beetroot has the ability to purify the blood (9),  and could help prevent the risk of diseases and infections in the fetus. Consuming beetroot juice could boost your physical stamina and maintain blood pressure.
  1. Anemia: Beetroot contains iron that could boost the hemoglobin count in the blood (10). It might therefore help reduce the risk of anemia.
  1. Healthy liver: The book, Neal’s Yard Remedies Healing Foods, talks about beetroots’ liver cleansing properties.  A group of antioxidants called betacyanins is likely to support this action.
  1. Fetal development: The folic acid content in beets might aid in the optimal development of the fetus (5).
  1. Digestion: The dietary fiber in beetroot could improve your digestion (11) and aid in healthy bowel movement, thus managing constipation.

The vegetable could also result in a few side effects in some people.

[Read: Potatoes During Pregnancy]

Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Beetroot During Pregnancy?

If the doctor tells you not to eat beetroot excessively, there could be some valid reasons for that. Some of the possible risks of having beetroot and its juice during pregnancy are mentioned next.

  • Beetroot contains betaine, which could cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • High quantities of oxalate are known to cause kidney stones (12).
  • The presence of nitrates may trigger fatigue (13).
  • Might cause beeturia, a condition where urine and stools turn red (14).

How To Eat Beetroot During Pregnancy?

Here is how you may include beetroot in your pregnancy diet.

  • Slice them and combine them with other vegetables to make a salad.
  • Bake along with other vegetables or eat them roasted.
  • Boil beetroots and season them with salt and pepper to make a healthy dish.
  • A juice of beetroots and carrots makes a great breakfast or evening beverage.
  • Grate the beetroot and add to the dough to make crunchy parathas or tortillas

Keep reading for a few beetroot recipes that you may try during pregnancy.

[Read: Tips To Boost Immune System In Pregnancy]

1. Beetroot powder:

Beetroot powder

Image: Shutterstock

One to two teaspoons of homemade beetroot powder can be added to water or any juice.

You will need:

  • One beetroot

How to make:

  1. Rinse and peel the fresh beet and cut it into thin slices. You may also use a food processor to slice it quickly.
  2. Allow the slices to dry in a food dehydrator or an oven on low heat, or sun-dry by covering with a net.
  3. Once they are completely dry, blend them in a grinder or a food processor.
  4. Store the powder in an airtight container to keep it fresh for an extended period.

Preparation time: 12hr 30min

2. Pickled beetroot

Pickled beetroot

Image: Shutterstock

Pickled beets can be used as a snack, in salads or as a side dish with sandwiches or tortilla rolls.

You will need:

  • 1lb beetroot (around six to seven small ones)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves

How to make:

  1. Remove the root and one-inch green stem from the beetroots and scrub them clean, to remove any dirt.
  2. Place them in a medium-sized saucepan and add water to boil them.
  3. Cover with a lid, simmer and let it remain for 45min until they turn tender.
  4. Remove the water and rinse using cold water. Allow to cool down.
  5. Peel the skins and slice them thinly into a large bowl.
  6. Make a vinaigrette by mixing vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a separate saucepan.
  7. Pour the vinaigrette over the sliced beets. Cover and marinate at room temperature for half an hour.
  8. Discard the bay leaves and store in an airtight jar for later use.

Preparation time: 55min

Servings: 4

[Read: Benefits Of Carrot During Pregnancy]

3. Easy beet greens recipe

Easy beet greens recipe

Image: iStock

With a distinct and delicious taste, beetroot leaves have vitamin and mineral content. These leaves, with a good folate and vitamin A content, may prevent neural tube defects and facilitate healthy fetal growth (5).

You will need:

  • 2 bunches of beetroot leaves
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper powder for taste
  • Salt for taste
  • 2 lemons

How to make:

  1. Boil salt water in a large pot. Add beetroot leaves and cook until tender, for two minutes.
  2. Drain the water and put the leaves in cold water. Once the leaves turn cold, remove them from the water and chop coarsely.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute and add greens.
  4. Top with salt and pepper. Stir until hot and remove from flame.
  5. Eat with lemon wedges.

Preparation time: 20min

Servings: 4

4. Raw beet salad

Raw beet salad

Image: Shutterstock

Beetroot salad makes a healthy snack or starter that is also super delicious.

You will need:

  • 1lb beets (grated)
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper powder

How to make:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss.
  2. Adjust the seasoning to suit your tastes.
  3. Serve fresh

Preparation time: 20min

Servings: 4

[Read: Eggplant (Brinjal) During Pregnancy]

5. Beetroot tea:

Beetroot tea

Image: Shutterstock

A unique caffeine-free tea you can make at home, beetroot tea has invigorating properties.

You will need:

  • 1-quart water
  • 4 beets, peeled and finely shredded
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 lemons, freshly squeezed for juice
  • 4 sprigs mint

How to make:

  1. Boil water in a saucepan.
  2. Add beets, lemon juice, and honey. Let it boil.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for about 20 minutes.
  4. Strain and serve with a sprig of mint and ice.

Preparation time: 20min

Servings: 8

6. Beetroot halwa

Beetroot halwa

Image: Shutterstock

The halwa is an easy and healthy Indian dessert that you can try to beat your sweet cravings with.

You will need:

  • 2 medium-sized beetroots
  • 1tsp oil
  • 1½ cup + ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Nuts, chopped, for garnishing

How to make:

  1. Peel and grate the beets. Heat oil in a saucepan and add the grated beetroot.
  2. Sauté for about two to three minutes.
  3. Add 1½ cup of water, salt, and stir well. Cover and cook until the beets are cooked completely.
  4. Separately dissolve cornstarch in 1/4th cup water. Add this cornstarch solution to the cooked beetroot and mix properly.
  5. Add sugar, cardamom powder, and cook for another three minutes. Turn off the heat.
  6. Serve it warm by garnishing with chopped nuts

Preparation time: 20min

Servings: 4

Have more questions about eating beets while pregnant? Keep reading then.

[ Read: Juices To Drink During Pregnancy ]

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does craving beetroot during pregnancy tell something about the baby’s gender?

According to old wives’ tales, a craving for sweet foods such as beetroot may indicate that you are carrying a girl. However, it is just one of the many ways to guess the sex of the unborn child, but not a reliable one.

2. What is the best time to eat beetroot during pregnancy?

You may include beetroot in your first trimester as the vegetable has folic acid necessary for the development of the baby’s spinal cord. According to the FDA, you might require about 400 to 800mcg of folic acid per day, and an average-sized beetroot contains 100 to 150mcg folic acid (5). Consuming the vegetable in the second trimester could also provide the essential nutrients that might be helpful for a healthy pregnancy.

Consult your physician to have beetroot in the right quantities and at the right intervals when you are expecting. A physician’s guidance will help you avoid the side-effects of consuming beetroot.

Do you have any beetroot recipes to share with our readers? Tell us about it in the comments section.

References

1. Basic Report: Beets, raw; USDA
2. Michelle A. Kominiarek and Priya Rajan; Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation; Med Clin North Am (2017)
3. Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation; Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
4. Lisa S. Brown; Nutrition Requirements During Pregnancy; Jones And Bartlett Publishers
5. Scientists Get the Facts on Folic Acid in Red Beets; University of Wisconsin (1997)
6. Muhammad Ansar Farooq and Karl-Josef Dietz; Silicon as Versatile Player in Plant and Human Biology: Overlooked and Poorly Understood; Front Plant Sci. (2015)
7. Beets-Two Vegetables in One; University of Arkansas System
8. T Clifford, G Howatson, D J West, E J Stevenson; The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease; Nutrients (2015)
9. John A; Beets; Northern Illinois University, Sustainable Food Project
10. How can I get enough iron?; IQWiG
11. Beets; New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
12. Avoiding kidney stones; Harvard Health Publishing
13. R Domínguez, J L Maté-Muñoz, Eduardo Cuenca, et al.; Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2018)
14. Eastwood MA and Nyhlin H; Beeturia and colonic oxalic acid; QJM. (1995)
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