Top 10 Spices To Eat & Avoid During Pregnancy

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It is not fully known whether you should eat spicy dishes or ingest various spices during pregnancy. Some say it may cause problems during pregnancy, while others say it’s beneficial. Furthermore, you may have turned down all outside food because you are unsure of which spices to consume and which to avoid while pregnant.

This post includes an extensive list of spices to eat and spices to avoid during pregnancy to address all of your questions.

What Are Spices?

Spices have a very special place in our cooking, as the blanched vegetables once treated with a variety of spices can do wonders and produce a lip-smacking dish.

A spice is defined as a dried kernel, root, bark, vegetable, or fruit substance that adds flavor, aroma, and taste to your recipes. You can use spices, not just for flavoring, but they also serve as coloring agents and preservatives for a food item.

Spices differ from herbs, as the latter has a green leafy part attached to it. It is mostly used for garnishing or flavoring.

What Are The Top Five Spices To Eat During Pregnancy?

1. Turmeric

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Spices during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial. We all are well aware of the nutrient value of turmeric as a pain reliever and could do wonders for your skin. However, it contains a substance called curcumin which is a natural detoxifier that protects the liver from the damage of alcohol, chemicals, and some pharmaceuticals. It also helps in reducing oxidative stress. The safe limit is up to 8gms a day.

2. Ginger

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Ginger is an effective home remedy to treat morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting during pregnancy. Women suffering from morning sickness could take a dose of 1 gm ginger daily for four consecutive days to get immediate relief. Studies done in the past have shown that it helps in treating women with morning sickness but it is important not to overdo this.

3. Black Pepper

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Black pepper is a rich source of chromium, which is required by a pregnant woman. Low chromium levels can increase blood sugar levels and cholesterol, which could result in diabetes or heart diseases. A study has shown that for women who get diabetes as a result of pregnancy if they are on a regular diet of chromium could help in reducing it. Studies are ongoing for more accurate results and to announce a clear verdict. The recommended level is 30mcg daily and excess use is restricted.

4. Cardamom

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You can use cardamom scents or tea during pregnancy as they can help to beat nausea and are pretty safe (1).

5. Chives

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Fresh Chives are a rich and natural source of folate. As we know a pregnant woman needs folic acid for the fetus’s brain development, cell division, and DNA synthesis. Enough folate levels in your diet could prevent your baby from neural tube defects. It is advisable to consume folate-rich items with high vitamin C foods.

What Are The Top Five Spices To Avoid During Pregnancy?

1. Fenugreek

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Fenugreek seeds have a stimulant effect on the uterus and, therefore, are not advisable for pregnant women. Also, ingesting seeds through the mouth could cause bloating, gas trouble, and diarrhea. A high dose of fenugreek seeds could cause growth retardation in children (2) (3).

2. Asafetida

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A daily spice used in every household, it should be avoided during pregnancy as it may lead to miscarriage. It works as a contraceptive and could also result in blood loss so you need to be cautious.

3. Garlic

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Garlic contains some potent and potentially toxic substance that is not advisable for a pregnant woman. Also, if taken in a large amount, it could cause heartburn and bleeding as well (4). So, it is better to avoid it.

4. Angelica

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This spice contains a substance that could cause thinning of blood and hence is not advisable in pregnancy (5).

5. Peppermint

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Peppermint tea relaxes the uterus, and this could cause a miscarriage. Also, applying peppermint oil during pregnancy can trigger menstruation hence be extra cautious before using peppermint in any form (6) (7). From the list, you now know that there are herbs and spices to avoid during pregnancy. We have told you five spices to avoid during pregnancy. Do let us know more if you want to add to the list.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the side effects of eating spices during pregnancy?

Having spices or spicy food during pregnancy can cause heartburn or indigestion-related issues, which might lead to discomfort (8).

2. Do spices induce labor?

It is a myth that eating spicy food or spices can cause contractions or stimulate labor (9).

Spices add flavor, color, and aroma to our food. Moreover, they also contain substances that positively affect health. However, when it comes to pregnancy, spices may work differently. Therefore, spices during pregnancy need to be consumed with caution. While some spices are beneficial during pregnancy, some are to be avoided. Therefore, if you are pregnant, consume turmeric for its liver-detoxifying properties and ginger for its anti-nauseating properties. Avoid fenugreek because it stimulates the uterus and peppermint because it may cause miscarriage. Stay well-informed about the role of spices and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

References:

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Shivani Sikri

(Public health and Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics)
Shivani Sikri is the chief nutritionist and co-founder of Nutri4Verve. After completing her Masters, Shivani Sikri did a postgraduate in nutrition and health education, a postgraduate diploma in public health and nutrition (PGDPHN), and a postgraduate diploma in nutrition and clinical dietetics. She has also completed her certification in Nutrigenomics from the US.   Shivani recommends a well-balanced, holistic lifestyle... more

Ria Saha

Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant. She moved into freelance content writing in 2013 and worked for various websites including MomJunction, Brainpulse Technologies, and Emarketz India.

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