As an expectant mom, you are probably watchful of your eating habits and careful about what you choose to eat and drink daily. If you are thinking of indulging in sugarcane during pregnancy, especially drinking sugarcane juice, but are unsure whether it is good for you, this post is for you.
Sugarcane juice is not only nutritious but also healthy and is a great drink to satiate any sweet cravings. Read on to learn about the benefits of drinking sugarcane juice during pregnancy and the precautions to take.
What Does Sugarcane Contain?
Sugarcane is a variety of tall perennialiXPlants that live year after year grasses native to the tropical areas of New Guinea and Southeast Asia, usually in places where warm temperature prevails (1). It is primarily used to produce sugar. However, its processing provides some valuable by-products such as molassesiXA thick, dark brown syrup derived from sugarcane as a byproduct of sugar refining and bagasseiXA dry, pulpy, fibrous sugarcane byproduct after the extraction of juice from the stalks too.
Sugarcane is rich in essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. Also, it is a rich source of soluble fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrientsiXA chemical found in plants that help prevent carcinogens from forming that make sugarcane juice a nutritious drink for prenatal nutrition, provided you are making it fresh and in hygienic conditions (2).
Is Sugarcane Safe During Pregnancy?
Yes, sugarcane juice is safe to consume during pregnancy. However, consult your doctor if you have gestational diabetes, as the risks are usually associated with your glucose tolerance levels (3.). Gestational diabetes affects approximately six to nine percent of women during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you are going for the packaged juice, do a quick quality check by reading the label for ingredients, nutritive content, preservatives, and shelf life. In any case, it is always better to consume freshly made sugarcane juice during pregnancy. You can also make it at home if you have a juicing machine.
How To Make Sugarcane Juice?
It is pretty easy to make fresh, flavorsome, and wholesome sugarcane juice in just three steps.
- Squeeze the stalks of sugarcane through a juicing machine
- Strain the juice in a glass
- Now comes the best part: add your favorite ingredients such as lemon juice, mint leaves, black salt, or ginger to enhance its taste.
This sweet and tasty glass of sugarcane juice would be perfect to meet your pregnancy cravings. Besides satisfying your sweet cravings, sugarcane also offers plenty of benefits in pregnancy.
Benefits Of Sugarcane Juice During Pregnancy
As an expectant mother, you can relish sugarcane juice for the following reasons.
- Strengthens immune system: Antioxidants in fresh sugarcane juice strengthen the immune system and help in fighting against infections, flu, and cold during pregnancy. It also maintains the bilirubiniXA yellowish pigment found in the bile, a liquid produced by the liver levels and protects the liver. A strong immune system is not only good for the mother but also safeguards the health of the baby inside the womb (4).
- Wards off morning sickness: STIKes Muhammadiyah Ciamis conducted a review revealing that the majority of pregnant women, approximately 70-80 percent, experience morning sickness. Extreme morning sickness, on the other hand, affects a smaller percentage, ranging from one to two percent, among all pregnant women. Morning sickness and nausea are a common symptoms experienced by pregnant women. However, drinking sugarcane juice with a bit of ginger will help reduce this concern (5).
- Boosts energy: Sugarcane juice is an excellent energy booster that can help you regain your strength quickly. If you are feeling weak and need a quick supply of energy, a glass of sugarcane juice could help. The sucrose content in sugarcane juice helps to heighten energy levels, provides hydration, quenches thirst, and will also restock the lost levels of sugar (6) (7).
- Fights urinary tract infections: Urinary tract infections are common during the pregnancy phase. Sugarcane juice, being a natural antioxidant and a good source of minerals, helps you fight UTI. Its consumption is also helpful to treat other diseases such as kidney stones and jaundice (8).
- Promotes fetal health: Sugarcane juice is a rich source of protein, which is good for both the baby’s and mother’s health. Also, it contains folic acid or vitamin B9 which is known to reduce the risks related to congenital disabilities including spina bifidaiXA condition that affects the spine from birth that can cause learning difficulties, bowel problems, and movement issues as well (9) (10).
- Keeps weight in check: Excessive weight gain is a common concern for pregnant women. The polyphenoliXA chemical found in plants that aid the body in fighting off diseases compounds present in sugarcane juice help in boosting the metabolism and maintaining your weight (2).
- Cures skin concerns: Acne can become worse during pregnancy due to the increased estrogen levels. Glycolic acid, commonly found in sugar cane, is known to treat acne effectively. So, drinking a glass of sugarcane juice will help you get rid of acne issues (11).
- Keeps dental issues at bay: Another common concern during pregnancy is bad breath and tooth decay. Drinking sugarcane juice regularly can prevent dental issues as it contains magnesium and calcium in good amounts (2).
- Helps to relieve constipation: A lot of pregnant women suffer from indigestion and constipation. Including sugarcane juice in your routine diet may aid digestion and help combat the issue Also, you can get rid of stomach infections (12).
Although drinking sugarcane juice in pregnancy can be beneficial for your health, it does not mean you can have it more than you should.
Precautions With Sugarcane Juice During Pregnancy
Sugarcane juice is good for pregnancy. However, it should be consumed in limited quantities. In case you have diabetes, it is better to seek advice from your doctor before consumption. Last but not least, make sure your glass of juice is prepared fresh and in hygienic conditions. Otherwise, you may have to deal with unpleasant consequences such as food poisoning.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I drink stored sugarcane juice when pregnant?
Fresh sugarcane juice only stays suitable for a few hours and may spoil afterward. Hence, if you wish to drink sugarcane juice, opt for fresh juice and drink it as soon as possible. If you choose to drink store-bought sugarcane juice, check the ingredient list and avoid products containing artificial ingredients. It is advisable to check the ingredients with your medical advisor. Also, do not forget to check the expiry date of the drink.
2. What are the side effects of sugarcane juice during pregnancy?
The sugarcane juice’s sugar content could spike blood sugar levels, resulting in several complications such as ketoacidosis (13). Hence, it is recommended that pregnant women with gestational diabetes avoid it.
3. Does sugarcane juice cause miscarriage?
Mya Bellinger, a medical practitioner, specializing in internal medicine, immunology, and gynecology, says, “Sugar cane juice is safe to drink and does not cause miscarriage. However, a glass is fine as it is high in sugar and may not be good if consumed in excess amounts.”
3. How can pregnant women incorporate sugarcane juice into a balanced diet?
Pregnant women can incorporate sugarcane juice into a balanced diet by consuming it in moderation as part of their overall fluid intake. It can be enjoyed as a refreshing beverage alongside various nutritious foods, ensuring that it does not replace essential nutrients from other food groups necessary for a well-rounded diet during pregnancy.
4. What is the best time to drink sugarcane juice?
The best time to drink sugarcane juice is during the daytime, preferably in the morning or early afternoon. This allows the body to fully absorb the natural sugars and nutrients in the juice, providing an energy boost and hydration throughout the day. Consuming it on an empty stomach or at least 30 minutes before or after a meal is advisable to maximize its benefits.
Having sugarcane juice during pregnancy provides you with a rich source of essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Consuming freshly made sugarcane juice is preferred to opting for the packaged drink to avoid consuming extra sugar and preservatives from it. Sugarcane is also known to help relieve the signs of constipation, boost energy, prevent signs of UTI, and deal with morning sickness. However, if you have gestational diabetes or are prone to it due to genetics, get your doctor’s advice before including sugarcane in your diet.
Infographic: Advantages Of Sugarcane Juice During Pregnancy
Sugarcane juice can be a delicious and nutritious beverage for expectant mothers. So, check out the infographic below to learn about some possible health benefits of sugarcane juice for pregnant women. However, ensure to moderately consume the juice to avoid any side effects.
- Sugarcane juice is packed with essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, B1-B6, and C.
- It contains soluble fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are good for overall health.
- Drinking sugarcane juice can strengthen the immune system and boost energy levels.
- It can help to reduce morning sickness and fight urinary tract infections.
- Sugarcane juice is beneficial for fetal health and can help to maintain a healthy weight.
- It may also help to cure skin issues, prevent dental problems, and relieve constipation.
- Pregnant women can safely consume sugarcane juice, but those with gestational diabetes should consult a doctor before doing so.
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- U S Kadam S B Ghosh et al.; Antioxidant activity in sugarcane juice and its protective role against radiation induced DNA damage; Food Chemistry (2007)
- M Wang; More Than Acupuncture: Questions and Answers about Chinese Medicine; Page 232
- M S Rahman; Chewing Sugarcane Production: An Approach to Combat Malnutrition and Poverty; Bangladesh Sugarcrop Research Institute
- Sucrose; NIH
- M F Abdallah R Krska et al.; Mycotoxin Contamination in Sugarcane Grass and Juice: First Report on Detection of Multiple Mycotoxins and Exposure Assessment for Aflatoxins B1 and G1 in Humans; Toxins (2016)
- Why do I need folic acid in pregnancy; NHS
- Anna; ZHÈ JIĀNG – SUGARCANE JUICE; Moveable Feasts
- B Stokes; Is Glycolic Acid Safe And Effective In The Treatment Of Mild to Moderate Acne?; Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (2013)
- M Manohar; Ayurveda For All: Effective ayurvedic self cure for common and chronic ailments; Page 65
- Diabetes During Pregnancy;
- Dereje Tsegaye et al.; (2021); Food-related taboos and misconceptions during pregnancy among rural communities of Illu Aba Bor zone, Southwest Ethiopia. A community-based qualitative cross-sectional study.