Every food should be consumed within limits during pregnancy. Similarly, while you can safely have vinegar during pregnancy, knowing its proper usage is important to avoid possible complications.
Vinegar adds tanginess and a kick to your meals. With its high antioxidant content, vinegar can contribute to a healthy baby and pregnancy. However, consuming too much may induce certain side effects, especially in the later trimesters.
So, if you have been adding vinegar to most of your dishes and want to know if you can continue to do so while pregnant, read on. This post tells you about the benefits of vinegar for pregnant women, its side effects, and the types of vinegar you can consume.
Is Vinegar Safe During Pregnancy?
It is better to consume vinegar in limited amounts when expecting as there is no scientific evidence to prove the safety of vinegar during pregnancy (1). In most cases, you can eat salads, sautés and other foods with a dash of vinegar in pregnancy without concern.
Benefits Of Eating Vinegar
1. Increased Calcium Absorption
It’s important to get enough calcium when pregnant, to support your baby’s growing bones and protect your own. Vinegar can actually help your body absorb more calcium from your diet (2).
2. Rich Source Of Antioxidants:
- Vinegar contains a high amount of polyphenols which are antioxidants that can be especially good for you when you are pregnant (3).
- The antioxidants present in vinegar will protect your cells against any damage that might occur from free radicals.
- Having more antioxidants while you are pregnant will help to protect both you and your baby from any oxidative stress. It will help the overall health of your pregnancy.
3. A Good Flavoring Agent With No Added Sodium Health Risks:
While you are pregnant and even otherwise, it is important to keep your sodium intake within the recommended levels, which is 2,300 mg maximum per day (4).
- During pregnancy, you may crave extra sodium through various dips or other snacks. It can pose a health risk to both you and your baby, as high levels of sodium can cause health complications.
- Using vinegar is a great way to flavor your food without adding extra sodium. Also, vinegar is available in different flavors, so you can always mix and match to create interesting flavors.
When Should You Limit Vinegar Consumption?
While you are pregnant, it is common to experience heartburn, which occurs during the second and third trimester.
- Even though all pregnancies are unique, and you may have not experienced it in your earlier pregnancy, eating certain foods can increase heartburn.
- Vinegar is high in its acidic content, and excess consumption can cause heartburn while you are pregnant or increase your heartburn (5).
- If you experience an increase in heartburn after having vinegar, or if you feel it triggers heartburn, stop or limit your intake.
- While Apple cider vinegar does have its uses while you are pregnant (see point 1), there are instances when having it in excess can cause negative effects too. Therefore, it is better to be cautious about the quantity.
Side Effects Of Having Vinegar During Pregnancy
Is vinegar harmful during pregnancy? Well, while vinegar in limited amounts will not harm your pregnancy, there are certain food items that contain vinegar that could cause potential harm.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood or shellfish like oysters that are often served with vinegar sauce. While the vinegar will not cause you any problems, the undercooked or raw seafood can pose serious health concerns.
- Apple cider vinegar has a high amount of acid content, which can cause several dental issues, including erosion of your tooth enamel (6).
- It can induce nausea and vomiting in people who cannot stomach the taste and smell (6).
How To Have Vinegar While Pregnant?
The market is full of a number of flavors of vinegar today. It makes for a great pregnancy addition that will help to flavor your foods and side dishes. Here are a few types of vinegar that you can try out while you are pregnant. Check out the taste of each and see which one you like the most:
1. Balsamic Vinegar:
Balsamic vinegar has a strong taste that is flavored with a hint of sweetness too. It is a great addition to your homemade salads, sautéed vegetables, sautéed meats, noodles, rice or even fruit salads. Note that it does contain a higher amount of sugar as compared to other types of vinegar.
2. Rice Vinegar:
Rice vinegar has a very sweet but also a very strong sour taste, even though the entire effect is mild. You can add it to your soups or stir fried foods.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar works best as a marinade or dressing and has a unique taste.
Natural vinegar is obtained from fermenting fruit juices. It is a quick taste enhancer and can provide useful antioxidants in the diet. You can use vinegar to flavor your salads and sautés. However, it is quite acidic and may aggravate heartburn that usually occurs during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The dental issues may arise as well. Therefore, it would be best to consume limited amounts of vinegar during pregnancy to reap its benefits and avoid side effects.
- Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Study Suggests Vinegar Increases Calcium Absorption from Foods.
- Antioxidant Activities, Phenolic Profiles, and Organic Acid Contents of Fruit Vinegars.
- Sodium in Your Diet.
- ACETIC ACID.
- Exploring the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.
Jennifer House(MSc, RD)
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