Are you losing sleep worrying about your sudden loss of appetite during pregnancy? Is your bowel discomfort adding to your pregnancy blues? Are your grannies advising you to chew Betel leaves to boost your digestion while you are expecting? Are you clueless whether it is safe to consume Betel leaf during pregnancy?
Betel leaf is an important part of the Indian culture. It has been in use since 400 BC. Its consumption after a meal was a common practice among Kings and nobles of that era. Betel leaf has many health benefits associated with its consumption. However, is it safe to chew it during pregnancy? Let us find out.
The Benefits of Betel Leaf
According to scientific research, Betel nut and Betel leaf could have many valuable health benefits because of its anti-infective, immunomodulatory, hepato-protective, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, anti-diabetic and many other valuable properties. Betel leaf is also an effective mouth freshener. Consumption of Betel leaves also boosts oral hygiene. Studies suggest that Betel leaf extracts have a chemopreventive effect, and reduces tumor growth in mice. Betel leaves also have many antiseptic and stimulating benefits.
[ Read: Drinking Herbal Tea During Pregnancy ]
Why is Betel Leaf Consumption Common During Pregnancy?
As per traditional belief, eating Betel leaf during pregnancy improves digestion and stimulates appetite. Some also believe that the application of Betel leaves during breastfeeding improves milk production in lactating mothers.
In addition, Betel leaf is also a rich source of antioxidants. It is also a natural and effective cure for cough, bleeding gums, dehydration, wounds, inflammation, constipation, diabetes, headache and lower back pain.
Is it Safe to Consume Betel Leaves During Pregnancy?
While Betel leaf has many health benefits associated with its consumption, it is best to say no to it during pregnancy.
- Reports from the World Health Organization reveal that chewing Betel nuts with Betel leaves during pregnancy could increase the risk of cancer significantly. The prolonged consumption of eating betel nut during pregnancy may also cause cancer, particularly oral cancer.
- According to the International Journal of Medicine and Public Health, the women in rural areas of Bangladesh regularly consume Betel nut and Betel leaf and therefore suffer from folate deficiency. Such a deficiency during pregnancy could lead to neural tube defects, preterm birth, low birth weight, defects in the nervous system, and retarded growth. (1)
[ Read: Eating Ginger During Pregnancy ]
Staying Safe During Pregnancy:
Considering the contradictory opinions on the consumption of Betel leaf during pregnancy, it is safe to avoid it. There are several other ways to stimulate the appetite and improve digestion during pregnancy.
- Consume smaller meals. Take a balanced diet. Avoid the intake of fatty foods that are too heavy and difficult to digest.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you have eight glasses of water per day.
- Consult your doctor and engage in some light physical activity or yoga to improve digestion and overall health during pregnancy.
[ Read: Ramdev Baba Yoga For Pregnant Women ]
- Seek your doctor’s advice if your tummy is still troubling you.
Remember, pregnancy is a crucial time when your health and your child’s growth are at stake. Giving up a few habits to safeguard your baby from any health complications is totally worth it. Your pregnancy is a great time to initiate a healthy lifestyle. Later on, you can teach your baby the same by leading by example. Try to refrain from trying any traditional tips to solve your minor discomforts during pregnancy. You must consult your doctor before following any food fad.
If you still vouch for the benefits of Betel leaf during pregnancy, please share your reasons with us.
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