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Many women crave spicy food during pregnancy and it’s normal. But spicy foods are not really safe for consumption during pregnancy. The quintessential spice additives green chillies and red chillies are not recommended during pregnancy as they cause acidity, heartburn, and other digestion problem. The next best alternative pregnant women consider is black pepper. Black pepper has medicinal properties and is good for health. But when it comes to pregnancy, you wouldn’t want to take chances! So if you want to include in your pregnancy diet, find out whether or not it safe for pregnant women!
Is It Safe to Eat Black Pepper During Pregnancy?
Yes, black pepper is safe for consumption during pregnancy, but it should be consumed in moderation. Like any other food, it is harmless when consumed in moderation. It can be used alone or in combination with cumin powder for seasoning salads, fruits and vegetables. Excess consumption of pepper, however, can lead to acidity and burning sensation in the stomach.
Nutritional Facts of Black Pepper
Black pepper is an excellent source of some vital nutrients. It is packed with vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin K. It also contains essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium. potassium and copper. It is a very good source of antioxidants also.
Health Benefits of Consuming Black Pepper During Pregnancy
Including black pepper in your pregnancy diet (in moderation, of course!) can be very beneficial for your health during pregnancy. Some of them are listed below.
1. It helps improve immunity.
Black pepper is known to improve the immunity of the body. During pregnancy, a regular and optimal intake of pepper in the diet serves as a natural immunity booster.
2. It improves digestion.
The growing uterus in pregnancy presses against the digestive system and causes acidity, indigestion, and heartburn. One of the natural ways of combating this problem during pregnancy is including pepper in your diet frequently. It significantly reduces flatulence and bloating that occurs during pregnancy.
3. It provides relief from cough and cold.
If you have a cold and cough during pregnancy, taking medicines for the same is not recommended as they may interact with pregnancy medication and cause side effects. But you can try some simple home remedies for cough and cold. One of the best home remedies for curing a bout of cold is including pepper in all the foods. Adding pepper to a soup can also alleviate the symptoms of the cold.
4. It may help fight depression.
Depression is common among pregnant women both during pregnancy and after delivery. Consumption of pepper daily in small amounts can ensure good mental and emotional health.
5. It may prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Folic acid is a very essential vitamin for a pregnant woman, especially in the first trimester of her pregnancy. The consumption of folic acid is essential for preventing the occurrence of neural tube defects. You can include pepper and other ‘folic acid’-rich foods in your diet to meet your daily requirements of this nutrient.
6. It keeps blood pressure in check.
Blood pressure can be harmful to an expecting mother as it can lead to further complications in the last trimester and during delivery. Slightly elevated blood pressure can be controlled naturally by the regular consumption of pepper.
7. It may help fight acne.
Pepper can also help fight acne. It is, in fact, one of the safest and natural ingredients that can flush out toxins from your body and lower the chances of skin infections. Applying a mixture of honey and pepper or including pepper in small amounts in your pregnancy daily diet can help you get acne-free skin.
8. It may help prevent cancer.
The antioxidant in pepper can help in combating the rapid changes in the body of an expecting mother and prevent free radicals from attacking healthy tissues to cause cancer. Pepper contains antioxidant piperine, which may help kill certain cancer cells and even inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Pepper along with turmeric can even prevent the growth of cancerous cells in breasts.
Side Effects of Consuming Pepper During Pregnancy
Pepper can be consumed during pregnancy and it won’t cause any harm if you include it in your diet in moderation. But some women experience certain side effects even if taken in small amounts.
1. It may lead to an allergic reaction.
Some women may experience an allergic reaction to some food substances during pregnancy. Pepper can trigger a series of symptoms indicating an allergy. If you experience any such reaction, it is better to avoid the intake of pepper, especially during pregnancy. You can try adding just a pinch of it to give the required spicy flavour and check if the reaction persists. You can also consult your doctor if the allergic symptoms are severe.
2. It may result in a burning sensation.
Experiencing a burning sensation in the stomach or throat after consumption of pepper is quite normal. But during pregnancy, when there are issues of indigestion and heartburn, consumption of pepper can sometimes worsen the situation. In such cases, it is best to avoid spicy foods.
3. It can increase body heat.
If yours is a summer pregnancy, it is best that you ditch the spicy items as they can increase body heat. Including pepper or other spices in your diet can increase the heat of the body and cause indigestion issues, mouth ulcers, and other such complications.
Including pepper in your diet in normal doses may not cause any harm but it does have potential side effects for pregnant women. Other than causing digestion and gastrointestinal problems, it may make the pregnancy journey difficult for a woman. Furthermore, if black pepper oil is used topically (on the skin), it may act as a uterine stimulant and lead to early contractions.
Pepper is the king of spices and it offers numerous benefits for the health. However, it should be consumed in moderation. Adding a dash of it in your diet is sure to help you tide over a lot of pregnancy-related health concerns easily. But do consult a doctor before making it a part of your diet!
Also Read: Eating Cloves during Pregnancy