Eating Garlic During Pregnancy – Benefits, Risks & Recipes

Garlic cloves

An expecting mother is wary about the effects of just about everything in her developing baby. While many foods can be beneficial before pregnancy, once you are pregnant, the effect it has on you may be slightly or entirely different.

Garlic is known to have numerous medicinal benefits and is a regular part of the diet for many people. However, if you are unsure about the effects it may have on you or your baby while you are pregnant, it is ideal that you consult a doctor to discuss the pros and the cons of adding garlic to your pregnancy diet.

Is Eating Garlic Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes. Garlic is not only safe for pregnant women but it also comes with a list of benefits during pregnancy that is worth mentioning. However, care should be taken to consume garlic in moderation in the first trimester in order to prevent any negative effect on the foetus.

It is also important to exercise caution before eating garlic in the second and the third trimesters as excess garlic could lower your blood pressure and thin your blood. Hence, proper guidance from a doctor is advised about the quantity of garlic that is suitable for you.

How Much Garlic Can You Eat While Pregnant?

Pregnant women can consume about two to four cloves of fresh garlic each day. This translates to a rough 600 to 1200 mg of garlic extract. You can also use about 0.03 to 0.12 ml of garlic essential oil. In addition to this, you can also discuss with your doctor about the feasibility of taking garlic supplements while pregnant. A dosage of 400mg of garlic tablets that are available in a freeze-dried form may be taken three times a day when you are pregnant.

Benefits of Eating Garlic While Pregnant

Garlic is known as a healthy add-on to your diet for a lot of reasons and this holds true even when you are pregnant. Here are some of the benefits of eating garlic while you are pregnant.

  1. It Lowers Your Risk of Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia, also known as high blood pressure during pregnancy is a condition that is the cause of many problems for both the mother and the baby. While the mother may suffer from decreased kidney and liver functions, problems with blood clotting or even suffer from pulmonary oedema, there may also be an alteration in the blood flow into the placenta leading to premature or smaller babies.

Garlic is known to lower the risk of high blood pressure, as well as maintain the level of protein in the urine.

  1. Boosts the Weight of the Baby

In babies that have the risk of undergoing a pre-term birth or may be born underweight, garlic is said to boost the overall weight. This is because it lowers the chances of complications during birth and can also stimulate cells in the placenta according to a study conducted by adding garlic extract to the cells of the placenta. It was also identified that the enzyme activities that were not up to the usual mark in women with abnormal pregnancies, were visibly enhanced with the addition of garlic to the diet.

  1. Reduces Cholesterol and Lowers the Risk of Heart Problems

Garlic is well known as a remedy for the heart. This holds true even during pregnancy as the Allicin content in garlic can keep your cholesterol level balanced. It can also thin out your blood preventing the possibility of a stroke or an attack.

  1. Helps Prevent Cancer

Certain studies have indicated that garlic can prevent the occurrence of cancer, especially colon cancer. If you consume garlic, onions, and chives, your risk of stomach and oesophageal cancer are greatly lowered, as per a study.

  1. Shields You From Infections, Cold and Flu

Garlic has the ability to boost your immunity by wading off harmful bacteria in your body. This means that you can combat infections, flu or cold and keep your baby healthy and away from such infections.

  1. A Remedy for Yeast Infections

Garlic has Allicin which is rich in anti-fungal properties making it an ideal remedy to treat yeast infections in the vagina like yeast hypersensitivity syndrome and chronic candidiasis.

  1. Helps Alleviate Oral and Skin Infections

The anti-microbial property of garlic makes it a successful remedial option for skin infections or even infections in the mouth. Topical application of garlic in such cases is known to offer relief.

  1. Prevent Hair Loss

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

  1. Reduces Fatigue

Tiredness and fatigue are a regular part of pregnancies. Garlic is also known to lower the instances of fatigue in pregnant women and helps reduce dizziness and vomiting during pregnancy.

Garlic on chopping board

Side-effects of Having Garlic

Despite its multi-fold benefits, when consumed in large amounts, garlic can cause a few side effects in pregnant women. Here are some of the side effects of garlic on pregnancy.

  • Garlic is a natural blood thinner. If you consume excessive amounts of garlic, it may lead to uncontrollable bleeding during labour or in the event that you need a surgery or C-section during delivery.
  • Garlic can lower blood pressure. While a lower blood pressure is 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 your body to shock and also make you 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 level of sugar in your blood.
  • It may also lower your ability to absorb iodine and lead to hypothyroidism.

Women are often plagued with the question of eating garlic causing miscarriages. While garlic has the certain properties that may cause miscarriages, it is only when consumed in large quantities.

Healthy Garlic Recipes for Pregnant Women

Adding a regular amount of garlic in your diet during pregnancy can be beneficial to both you and your baby. However, it is always advised that you consult a doctor before you do so. In case your doctor approves of your garlic intake, then you can try out certain recipes that include garlic during your pregnancy.

1. Cauliflower Soup with Garlic Recipe

The perfect start to a meal, this vegetarian soup can be put together in a jiffy.

cauliflower soup with garlic

What You Need

  • 2 to 3 sliced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Chopped cauliflower
  • Chicken broth with low sodium – 5 cups
  • Some fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • Black pepper and Kosher salt

How to Prepare

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan and add garlic to it. Stir it until it starts to give its distinct aroma and until it is golden brown in colour. Keep this aside.
  2. In a pot add the chicken broth, cauliflower, thyme, salt and black pepper. Let this mixture simmer for 15 minutes until the cauliflower becomes tender.
  3. Shift this mix into a blender and blend it into a smooth puree.
  4. Garnish it with the roasted garlic and some thyme and enjoy.

2. Portobello and Black Bean Breakfast Burritos Recipe

A wholesome meal of mushrooms and black beans, this flavourful breakfast is the perfect start to a busy day.

burrito recipe

What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Flour tortillas, 4
  • Olive oil
  • Diced onion, 1 cup
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Canned black beans, 1 cup, rinsed and drained
  • Cooked brown rice, 1 cup
  • Egg whites from 4 eggs
  • ½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup salsa

How to Prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degree Celsius.
  2. Wrap the tortillas in a foil and heat them for about 15 to 20 minutes and keep them warm.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and the mushrooms to it. Cook this for about eight to ten minutes. Keep stirring it occasionally.
  4. Whisk the lemon juice, Tabasco, hoisin sauce, miso paste and the salt in a bowl. Pour this mix over the mushrooms.
  5. Transfer the mushrooms to a food processor and pulse it till it’s chopped and transfer it back into the pan.
  6. Add the egg whites, brown rice, and the black beans to the pan and cook over medium heat. Stir until the egg whites are cooked.
  7. Place the warmed tortillas on a plate and spoon this cooked mixture into it with some cheese and salsa. Fold the bottom and the sides and enjoy your burrito.

3. Snow Peas Stir Fry with Garlic Recipe

An all-time favourite of kids and adults alike, snow peas can he had as a side dish, or just by themselves.

snow peas stir fry

What You Need

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

How to Prepare

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

4. Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe

The sweet goodness of honey comes together with the distinct saltiness of soy sauce and is flavoured with a liberal dash of Ginger and garlic in this satisfying preparation of chicken.

honey garlic chicken

What You Need

  • ¼ cup garlic, minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¼ cup minced ginger
  • Chicken thighs

How to Prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius.
  2. Whisk the honey, garlic, ginger, soy sauce together until they are blended well.
  3. Pour this mixture over the chicken thighs and let it marinate for an hour or more.
  4. Place this in the oven for 20 minutes and flip it when its cooked halfway.
  5. You can serve this with rice or veggies.

5. Leek Bread Casserole with Roasted Garlic Recipe

A quick and satisfying meal, this casserole can be put together by a child too!

leek bread casserole

What You Need

  • One head of garlic
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
  • Water (2 cups and 2 tablespoons)
  • 8 bread slices without the crust
  • 4 cups of leek halved and sliced thin. (Use only the white and light green parts of the leek)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Shredded cheese, one cup
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
  • ¼ tablespoon pepper, freshly ground
  • Water

How to Prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.
  2. Take a baking dish and add ½ teaspoon of oil and ¼ inch of water to it. Roast the garlic head for about 30 minutes until it is tender. Peel it once cool and cut the cloves into thin slices.
  3. Boil water in a pot. Place the bread in a heatproof container and pour this boiled water over it such that the bread is immersed completely. Soak it for about 3 to 5 minutes and then place it in a colander strainer and squeeze out all the water. You should have moist bread with no dripping water at the end.
  4. Break this moist bread into smaller piece and keep it aside in a bowl.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat and put the leeks into this. Add two tablespoons of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt to this. Cook this partially and place a lid on the pan. You will need to stir the leeks once in a while. Let it cook for five to seven minutes until the leeks are tender. Ensure that the green colour isn’t lost.
  6. Shift the leeks to the bowl with bread. Add the sliced garlic, 1 and ½ tablespoon of oil, cheese, thyme, salt and black pepper to this and mix. Transfer this mixture to a baking dish and spread it evenly.
  7. Bake this for 30 minutes or until it is crisp and golden.

FAQs

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

Garlic and pregnancy can complement each other only when the garlic is consumed in moderation. Eating too much garlic when you are pregnant may cause irritation in your digestive tract and upset your stomach. Excess garlic may even lead to more serious issues like lower blood pressure, blood thinning, etc. It is also advised to stick to 2 to 3 cloves of garlic each day in order to avoid any complications. In case you notice any signs of complications, it is best to reach out to your doctor immediately.

  1. What If I Eat Raw Garlic on An Empty Stomach?

Eating raw garlic on an empty stomach causes no problems. In fact, it is known to help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of catching a cold or infections.

  1. Are Garlic Pills Safe During Pregnancy?

Garlic supplements during pregnancy are prescribed for women with conditions like preeclampsia and hypertension caused by pregnancy. However, it is always recommended that you reach out to your doctor before taking pills as excess garlic can be harmful to both you and the baby.

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

Also Read: Consuming Ginger During Pregnancy