Consuming Cinnamon in Pregnancy – Benefits and Risks
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During pregnancy, women often find themselves questioning the safety of various foods and spices. Cinnamon, a common spice that has been used as a culinary seasoning and herbal medicine for centuries, is no exception. A richly fragrant bark with many varieties, cinnamon’s spicy-sweet flavour makes it an extensively used ingredient in dishes, beverages and desserts. Many expectant mothers wonder whether it’s safe to include cinnamon in their diet during pregnancy. Although pregnant women can eat foods that have cinnamon as a flavouring ingredient, most doctors recommend against the use of its supplements during pregnancy. let’s dive into the article and find out the potential benefits and risks of consuming cinnamon during pregnancy.
Is Cinnamon Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
Many expectant mothers wonder, ‘Can you eat cinnamon while pregnant? Cinnamon can be safely consumed during pregnancy when had in limit as a flavouring or a seasoning agent. It has benefits as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, blood sugar regulator, and a natural flavouring agent. Although cinnamon has numerous health benefits, it also has dangerous side effects when consumed in higher amounts. Since it lowers blood glucose levels and prevents blood clots, pregnant women who are on medication for diabetes and blood thinners must be extra careful, especially around surgery. Cinnamon, aka, dalchini in pregnancy also stimulates menstrual flow, and large amounts can trigger a miscarriage.
So, if you are wondering if cinnamon is good for pregnancy, the answer is yes and no, depending on how much you take. Although, as per the US National Institute of Health (NIH), no certain evidence states that cinnamon is unsafe during pregnancy if you consume it in the amounts usually found in food, it is best to keep the quantity of cinnamon consumption in moderation. The association of cinnamon and pregnancy is not to be feared if consumed in moderation. The good qualities of cinnamon can otherwise turn harmful when you’re pregnant. Avoiding supplements and cinnamon-laden foods is a good idea. It’s also better for women with high-risk pregnancies to avoid cinnamon altogether, and if you are not in a high-risk category, you can include cinnamon in your diet in an amount less than the permissible limit after consulting your healthcare practitioner.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon for Pregnant Women
Some of the health benefits of cinnamon include:
1. It Is a Natural Antioxidant
Cinnamon is among the most valued herbs, as it is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols. Antioxidants fight free radical damage to the body and promote good health. It also plays a role in fighting off infections caused by fungi, bacteria and parasites.
2. For Gestational Diabetes
Cinnamon bark contains active ingredients that can regulate blood sugar levels. When it is consumed in low amounts with food, it can control blood sugar levels in women who have gestational diabetes. However, its role in pre-diabetic and diabetic treatments needs further research.
3. Natural Flavouring Agent
Cinnamon comes in multiple tastes and aromas, which makes it an excellent substitute for artificial flavouring agents in food preparations. Some of the types include:
- Chinese Cinnamon: Also called Indian spice, it has a sharp taste and aroma
- Ceylon Cinnamon: Originates from Ceylon, Brazil, India and Indonesia. It is a sweet spice that gives a burning taste and has a gentle, fragrant accent.
- Malabar Cinnamon: Has a sharp but slightly bitter taste
4. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Anti-inflammatory agents found in a certain variety of cinnamon, such as Cassia, are known to counteract enzymes that lead to inflammation in the body. When taken with food, this can ease joint pains and swelling in the body to give relief.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Regular consumption of cinnamon in food is shown to keep a check on systolic blood pressure, which is good for preventing high blood pressure in pregnant women. It lowers the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy, which is caused by high blood pressure. It can be avoided by including cinnamon in your diet in limited amounts.
6. Nutritional Benefits
Cinnamon has plenty of carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids. It is rich in Vitamins C and E along with niacin. Especially of higher content are choline, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid. It also consists of trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, manganese and zinc.
How Much Cinnamon Is Safe When Pregnant?
There are no studies that have established a safe amount of cinnamon to consume during pregnancy. General studies involving normal adults put the dosage around 1 to 1.5 grams of cinnamon bark a day. Healthy adults can tolerate that much without side effects.
Since not many studies have evaluated the safety of cinnamon during pregnancy, most of the known risks remain theoretical, based on what is known about some of its ingredients. The concern arises as foetuses do not possess a well-developed detoxification system to remove harmful substances; they are sensitive to toxins in food and medicine. Therefore, it is best to the quantity moderate when it comes to consuming cinnamon while pregnant.
How Can You Use Cinnamon?
It is not advisable for pregnant women to take cinnamon in large quantities on a daily basis. A pinch of the spice or less than half a teaspoon is acceptable regularly. Cinnamon can be used in cooking for a rich flavour in dishes like pulao and biryani. Its presence in pastries, pies and other bakery products is small enough to be harmless to the foetus. Cinnamon tea in pregnancy is also okay once in a while, as long as it is used sparingly. Cinnamon also contains essential oils that can be dangerous to the foetus and can even cause miscarriages. Therefore, it is advisable to put off aromatherapy that uses essential oils of cinnamon during pregnancy.
Some Other Ways to Consume Cinnamon in Pregnancy
You can make a multitude of preparations with cinnamon as a common spice. If you decide to include cinnamon in your diet during pregnancy, here are some safe ways to do so:
- Sprinkle on Food: Add a pinch of cinnamon to your yoghurt, oatmeal, or fruit salad for a subtle flavour boost.
- Cinnamon Tea: Enjoy a cup of hot cinnamon tea with some oat biscuits or chocolate cookies. Just make sure the spice concentration in the tea is not too strong. As per the general rule of NHS, drinking no more than 1 to 2 cups of herbal tea a day during pregnancy should be fine.
- Baked Goods: Use cinnamon in moderation when baking. You can enhance the taste of muffins, bread, holiday cookies, and other treats.
- Desserts: Mild-cinnamon-flavoured apple pie, puddings, custards, pumpkin pie jazz up any mood.
- Savoury Dishes: The flavours of curries, fried rice, soups, biryani, sauces, and chutneys boost like anything with the addition of cinnamon powder.
Precautions to Take While Having Cinnamon
- Do not use cinnamon if you have an intolerance toward it or have obstetric problems.
- Ceylon types of cinnamon are recommended for cooking for its mild flavour.
- Avoid consuming poor-quality or expired spices.
- In high-risk pregnancies with a risk of miscarriage, it should be avoided entirely.
- Beauty recipes involving cinnamon should be replaced with other constituents, such as the essential oil of cinnamon. is considered harmful during pregnancy.
Side Effects of Cinnamon in Pregnancy
For those wondering if cinnamon and pregnancy can go together, here are some side effects to look out for:
- Too much cinnamon can disrupt glucose regulation during pregnancy. It has been observed that taking 1 to 6 grams of it every day can reduce the average fasting serum glucose levels in those with diabetes in less than 40 days. It can spell trouble for women having a cesarean section, as it can cause problems with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Even if you plan to have a normal delivery, it may be of concern in case you end up with complications that need emergency surgery.
- If you are on blood thinners, cinnamon can raise the risk of bleeding. In the event that you need to undergo emergency surgery or have a caesarean section during delivery, cinnamon in the system increases your risk of bleeding. If you’re on blood thinners such as antiplatelet agents or anticoagulants, cinnamon can lower the platelet count. Therefore, doctors suggest avoiding cinnamon a few weeks prior to any surgery.
- If you are on any regular medication, cinnamon may interfere with it and cause complications. As observed in the case of certain medications for diabetes, cinnamon interferes with the proper function of the drug. Since there are no known drugs listed on this front, consult your doctor before using it during pregnancy.
- Cinnamon allergy is the most common of all the spice allergies in people. As pregnancy makes you sensitive towards certain foods, look for signs such as a burning sensation in the mouth or inflammation in the tongue, cheeks or throat.
- In large amounts, such as in supplementary form, cinnamon can cause miscarriages. Ayurveda also suggests limiting its use during pregnancy.
1. Is it safe to drink milk and cinnamon in pregnancy?
It is generally safe to drink cinnamon milk in pregnancy, considering the quantity of cinnamon is moderate. If you are trying the milk and cinnamon combination for the first time during your pregnancy, it would be best to first consult your doctor.
2. Can cinnamon treat urinary tract infections in pregnancy?
There is limited evidence suggesting that cinnamon can have health benefits in treating different ailments, including urinary tract infections. However, when it comes to pregnant women, the available evidence is not sufficient. This means that more research is needed in this area to better understand cinnamon’s potential effects and safety during pregnancy.
3. What are the other spices I should avoid during pregnancy?
Pregnant women should avoid consuming spicy or extra-spicy food during pregnancy as it causes heartburn, indigestion, and high blood pressure, and moreover, high concentrations of spices can potentially trigger complications. Additionally, there are certain spices that pregnant women should be cautious about and avoid during this delicate phase of their life, including liquorice and fenugreek.
Cinnamon is good for pregnancy. When taken in normal food amounts, cinnamon can be safely had by women who have a healthy pregnancy. So, don’t hesitate to add it to your desserts from time to time!
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