Eating Garlic In Pregnancy - Benefits & Healthy Recipes

Eating Garlic During Pregnancy – Benefits, Risks & Recipes

Medically Reviewed By
Archana Shah (Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian)
View more Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian Our Panel of Experts

Garlic is a herb that is grown all around the world and is a commonly used ingredient in many recipes. But it is more than just a flavouring agent as it offers various medicinal benefits, too. But does it also benefit a pregnant woman? Find out!

Garlic is known to help treat some pregnancy-related issues like high blood pressure and blood circulation. But if you are pregnant, you should be careful about how much garlic you include in your diet. Eating garlic in pregnancy or any other food will impact your health and your baby’s health, so you must be careful before including any new food or herb in your pregnancy diet.

Is It Safe to Eat Garlic During Pregnancy?

Can pregnant women eat garlic? Garlic is safe for consumption during pregnancy as long as it is consumed moderately. This is especially true for the first trimester of pregnancy. If you want to add garlic to any dish you make, make sure you don’t add too much, as overeating garlic in the first trimester of pregnancy can negatively affect the health of the foetus.

You must also exercise caution while including garlic in your diet in the second trimester as well as the third trimester of your pregnancy, as eating excess garlic during this time could lower your blood pressure levels and thin your blood. Hence, proper guidance from a doctor is advised about the quantity of garlic suitable for you.

Nutritional Value of Garlic

Garlic is a nutritious vegetable known for its unique flavour and potential health benefits. Here’s an overview of its nutritional value per 100 grams of raw garlic:

  • Calories: Approximately 149 calories
  • Carbohydrates: About 33.06 grams
  • Protein: Approximately 6.36 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: Around 2.1 grams
  • Fat: Roughly 0.5 grams
  • Vitamins: Garlic is a good source of vitamins like vitamin C, B6, and small amounts of B1, B2, B3, and folate.
  • Minerals: It contains essential minerals like manganese, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and trace amounts of iron, zinc, and selenium.

Additionally, garlic is renowned for its sulfur compounds, particularly allicin, which is believed to have various health benefits, including potential antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Remember that the nutritional content can vary depending on factors like variety, growing conditions, and preparation methods, such as cooking or roasting.

How Much Garlic Can You Eat While Pregnant?

Pregnant women can consume about two to four cloves of fresh garlic daily. This translates to a rough 600 to 1200 mg of garlic extract. During pregnancy, you can also use about 0.03 to 0.12 ml of garlic essential oil after consulting with your doctor.

Benefits of Eating Garlic While Pregnant

Is garlic good for pregnancy? Garlic is known as a healthy add-on to a pregnancy diet for various reasons. Here are some of the benefits of eating garlic during pregnancy.

1. Lowers Cholesterol Levels and the Risk of Heart Problems

Garlic is a well-known remedy for heart problems. Eating garlic during pregnancy can lower the chances of these complications. Garlic in its crushed or chopped form has allicin compound in it, which helps balance cholesterol levels.

2. Helps Prevent Cancer

Consuming garlic can prevent the occurrence of cancer, especially colon cancer. Eating garlic, onions, and chives can lower the risk of stomach and oesophageal cancer.

3. Lowers the Risk of Infections

Eating foods with garlic in them can boost your immune system and help fight various illnesses. By including garlic in your diet, you can combat infections and a cold or flu, and keep your baby healthy.

4. It Can Help Treat Skin Problems

The anti-microbial properties of garlic make it an ideal remedy for skin infections or even infections of the mouth. Topical application of garlic in such cases is known to provide relief.

5. It Can Help Prevent Hair Loss

Garlic is rich in allicin, a compound that is based on sulphur. Sulphur is known to prevent hair loss and also promote the growth of new hair.

6. Lowers Fatigue

Garlic is also known to lower the instances of fatigue in pregnant women. Tiredness and fatigue is a common problem during pregnancy but these can be taken care of by eating garlic. Eating garlic can even provide relief from dizziness and vomiting sensation during pregnancy

7. Prevents Gestational Diabetes

Some research suggests that garlic may help regulate blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes is a condition that can develop during pregnancy, causing high blood sugar levels. While more studies are needed, incorporating garlic into the diet may positively impact blood sugar control and potentially reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.

Garlic on chopping board

Side Effects of Eating Food With Too Much Garlic in It

Despite its multifold benefits, garlic, when consumed in large amounts, can lead to a few side effects in pregnant women. Here are some of the side effects of garlic during pregnancy:

  • Garlic is a natural blood thinner. If you consume excessive amounts of garlic, it may lead to uncontrollable bleeding during labour or delivery, whether normal or C-section.
  • Eating garlic in excessive amounts can result in low blood pressure. While low blood pressure can be beneficial for women with preeclampsia, it may be harmful to others. During pregnancy, the blood pressure lowers due to expanding vessels in the first few weeks. However, when the blood pressure drops to a dangerous level, it may send a woman’s body to shock and she might faint.
  • Garlic may react negatively with certain anti-coagulation medications like insulin, cyclosporine, coumadin, and saquinavir.
  • It can increase the insulin release and lower the levels of sugar in the blood.
  • It may also lower one’s ability to absorb iodine and lead to hypothyroidism.

Many women believe that garlic and pregnancy don’t go well together, as eating garlic can cause a miscarriage. While garlic has specific properties that may cause a miscarriage, it happens only when a woman consumes it in large quantities.

Precautions to Take While Eating Garlic During Pregnancy

Here are precautions to take while eating garlic during pregnancy :

  • Consume garlic in moderation to avoid digestive discomfort.
  • Seek advice from your healthcare provider before making dietary changes.
  • Raw garlic can be substantial; consider cooking it to mellow the flavour.
  • Garlic may lead to increased thirst, so stay hydrated.
  • Ensure proper food safety when handling and cooking garlic.
  • Consult your healthcare provider before taking supplements.
  • Be aware of garlic allergies and seek medical help if you experience allergic reactions.

These precautions will help ensure safe and beneficial garlic consumption during pregnancy.

Healthy Garlic Recipes for Pregnant Women

Adding a small amount of garlic in your pregnancy diet can be beneficial for both the mother and the baby. If you want to add garlic to the dishes you make, you should consult a doctor before you do so. In case your doctor approves of your garlic intake, then you can try out the recipes given below.

1. Cauliflower Soup With Garlic

Cauliflower soup with garlic in it would serve as a perfect appetiser for a healthy meal. You can make this healthy vegetarian soup in a jiffy.

cauliflower soup with garlic

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 sliced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • A bowl of chopped cauliflower
  • 5 cups of chicken broth with low sodium
  • Some freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • Black pepper and Kosher salt

How to Make

  1. Heat some oil in a pan and add the garlic to it. Stir it until it starts to give its distinct aroma or until it turns golden brown in colour. Turn off the flame. Transfer it to a bowl and keep aside.
  2. Take the chicken broth in a deep vessel. Add the cauliflower, thyme, salt and black pepper to it. Let this mixture simmer for 15 minutes until the cauliflower turns tender. Allow it to cool for some time.
  3. Transfer it to a blender and blend it to a smooth puree.
  4. Garnish it with the roasted garlic and thyme and enjoy.

2. Snow Peas Stir-Fried With Garlic

An all-time favourite of kids and adults, snow peas can be had as a side dish. You can make it in no time and enjoy during pregnancy.

snow peas stir fry

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of snow peas
  • ½ tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • Salt as per taste

How to Make

  1. Boil some water in a deep vessel and add the snow peas, salt, and some cooking oil to it. Let it cook for about one minute and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, fry the minced garlic and add the boiled snow peas to it. Sprinkle some salt and sesame oil and stir-fry.
  3. Transfer the stir-fried peas into a plate and garnish it with toasted sesame seeds.

3. Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe

Honey garlic chicken tastes delicious and can be eaten with rice.

honey garlic chicken

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of honey
  • ¼ cup minced ginger
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs

How to Make

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius.
  2. Whisk the honey, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce together until they blend well.
  3. Take the chicken thighs in a bowl and pour the above mixture over the chicken thighs, and let them marinate for an hour or more.
  4. Place them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Flip in between and glaze with the honey-garlic mixture and cook again.
  5. You can eat honey garlic chicken with rice or veggies.

4. Garlic and Spinach Stuffed Bell Peppers

This delicious starter can be eaten as it is or with a main course dish. 

Ingredients

  • 4 large bell peppers (any colour)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

How to Make

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Set them aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  4. heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until they become translucent.
  5. Stir in the chopped spinach, diced tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts.
  6. Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet with the spinach mixture, combining everything well.
  7. Stuff each bell pepper with the quinoa and spinach mixture.
  8. Place the stuffed peppers in a baking dish and cover them with aluminium foil.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
  10. If desired, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each pepper during the last 5 minutes of baking until it melts and turns golden.
  11. Serve hot and enjoy your delicious and nutritious garlic and spinach-stuffed bell peppers!

FAQs

1. What If I Eat Too Much Garlic While Pregnant?

Eating garlic while pregnant can be very beneficial as long as it is consumed in moderation. Eating too much garlic during pregnancy may irritate your digestive tract and upset your stomach. Excess garlic may lead to other serious issues like low blood pressure, blood thinning, etc. You should consume no more than 2 to 3 garlic cloves daily to avoid complications. If you notice any signs of complications, it is best to contact your doctor immediately.

2. What If I Eat Raw Garlic on an Empty Stomach?

Eating raw garlic on an empty stomach causes no problems. It is known to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of catching colds or infections.

3. Can I Eat Garlic Pills or Supplement During Pregnancy?

It’s essential to consult your healthcare provider before taking garlic pills or supplements during pregnancy. While garlic is generally considered safe when consumed as part of a balanced diet, supplements can be concentrated and may have different effects on your body. Your healthcare provider can offer personalised guidance and evaluate whether garlic supplements are appropriate for you, considering your specific health needs and any potential interactions with medications.

Obtaining essential nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements during pregnancy is often recommended. Garlic can be enjoyed in various dishes, adding flavour and potential health benefits when used in moderate amounts. By incorporating garlic into your meals as a natural ingredient, you can still enjoy its advantages while minimising the potential risks associated with concentrated supplements.

Garlic is an age-old remedy for many health conditions. It proves to be beneficial even during pregnancy, however, only when consumed in limited amounts. You are advised to discuss with your doctor the benefits and side effects of garlic consumption during pregnancy before making it a part of your diet.

References/Resources:

1. Meher. S, Duley. L; Garlic for preventing pre‐eclampsia and its complications; Cochrane Database Syst Rev.; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464897/; July 2006

2. Bakri. I. M, Douglas. C. W. I; Inhibitory effect of garlic extract on oral bacteria; Archives of Oral Biology, Volume 50, Issue 7, Pages 645-651; ScienceDirect; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0003996905000038; July 2005 

3. The Health Benefits of Garlic; Cleveland Clinic; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/6-surprising-ways-garlic-boosts-your-health/; March 2022

4. Ziaei. S, Hantoshzadeh. S, Rezasoltani. P, et al.; The effect of garlic tablet on plasma lipids and platelet aggregation in nulliparous pregnants at high risk of preeclampsia; European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Volume 99, Issue 2, Pages 201-206; ScienceDirect; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301211501003840; December 2001

5. Garlic as Hypertension Drug during Pregnancy Endangers Fetus; University of Gadjha Mada; https://ugm.ac.id/en/news/18119-garlic-as-hypertension-drug-during-pregnancy-endangers-fetus/; July 2019

Also Read:

Cloves in Pregnancy
Consuming Ginger during Pregnancy
Sesame Seeds Intake during Pregnancy 
Eating Chickpeas (Chana) when Pregnant

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