Though a beautiful phase for every woman, pregnancy is not always easy. Women experience many mental and physical changes during pregnancy due to changing hormone levels. There are many do’s and don’t they need to follow. Extra care has to be taken about their nutrition. A balanced and varied diet is recommended. Most vegetables and fruits are beneficial to eat as the pregnant woman needs a lot of nutrition. However, many foods are a strict no to eat during pregnancy. Still, many vegetables may be perceived as harmful but are not, or they may be foods people are not sure about. One such vegetable is rhubarb. Different people have different opinions about the consumption of rhubarb for pregnant women. Let us know whether it is safe to eat rhubarb during pregnancy.
What Is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a fleshy vegetable with a sour taste. This perennial plant is characterized by its edible, celery-like stalk, and its stalk is usually red. Despite being a vegetable plant, its leaves are inedible.
Is Rhubarb Safe in Pregnancy?
Rhubarb is a delicious and beneficial vegetable. But you may wonder, “Is rhubarb good for you in pregnancy?” or “Can I eat rhubarb when pregnant?” It is safe to consume during pregnancy, as it poses no risk to the pregnancy. However, pregnant women should ensure to eat only the stalks of the vegetable and not the leaves. Pregnant women should always consult their doctors before consuming any rhubarb medication. As everything consumed in excess can cause harm, it’s advisable to not go overboard with rhubarb despite it being safe.
Benefits of Rhubarb During Pregnancy
Doctors advise pregnant women to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they are natural sources of many essential vitamins and minerals, good for the health of the mother and fetus. Rhubarb is a healthy choice during pregnancy due to its many health benefits. The benefits of eating rhubarb during pregnancy are:
1. Strengthens Immune System
2. Aids in Digestion
It has high fiber content. Fibers aid digestion and are good to consume during pregnancy to help boost the pregnant woman’s digestive system.
3. Strengthens Body’s Natural Defense
Rhubarb is a rich source of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help in boosting and strengthening the natural defense of the body. So, eating rhubarb is good for the health and well-being of pregnant women.
4. Improves Heart and Bone Health
Rhubarb improves heart and bone health with a high Vitamin K1 content.
Risks of Eating Rhubarb While Pregnant
Though there are many benefits to eating rhubarb during pregnancy, there are still few risks in consuming it during pregnancy. The risks of eating rhubarb during pregnancy are:
- Rhubarb leaves are inedible, so they shouldn’t be consumed anytime, especially during pregnancy. The leaves of the rhubarb plant contain anthraquinone glycosides, which can trigger contractions in the intestine that can be harmful to the pregnant woman and the fetus.
- Rhubarb leaves can also be poisonous and cause breathing difficulties, seizures, kidney stones, coma, vomiting, or stomach pain. All these can be fatal during pregnancy.
- Rhubarb is acidic, so it should be eaten in limited quantities. Eating too much or in large quantities can cause calcium deficiency in pregnant women as it has a high quantity of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is known to bind calcium and prevents it from getting absorbed by the body leading to calcium deficiency.
Pregnancy-safe Rhubarb Recipes
It is best to eat rhubarb in dishes safe for pregnant women to get its benefits without any risks. Here are some safe recipes to include rhubarb in the pregnancy diet:
1. Rhubarb and Orange Crumble
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Rhubarb – 600 grams
- Orange – 1 qty
- Caster Sugar (Golden)- 50 grams
For the crumble
- Plain flour- 180 grams
- Unsalted butter- 100 grams
- Porridge oats- 50 grams
- Soft brown sugar or golden caster sugar – 100 grams
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- First, wash the rhubarb and trim its ends to prepare the filling. Then chop it into chunks of 1-inch length.
- Place the rhubarb pieces in an oven-proof dish.
- Now cut the orange in halves from the middle. Take one half and squeeze its juice over the rhubarb pieces kept in the oven-proof dish.
- Cut and slice the other half of the orange into thin slices. Now remove the peels of the orange slices and spread them evenly over the rhubarb pieces kept in the oven-proof dish.
- Sprinkle the caster sugar (from the filling ingredients or 50 grams) over the rhubarb and orange slices in the oven-proof dish.
- Take a bowl and add butter, flour, and oats to prepare the crumble. Now rub all three with your hand until they mix well in a gravelly texture.
- Fold the sugar in this mixture.
- Spread this mixture/topping evenly over the filling of rhubarb and orange slices kept in the oven-proof dish.
- Now place the oven-proof dish in the preheated oven.
- Bake the dish for 30 to 40 minutes till it turns golden and is bubbling.
- Once done, take it out from the oven.
- Serve the Rhubarb and Orange crumble. It can be served with cream or natural yogurt.
2. Rhubarb Charlotte
Total Time: 60 minutes
- Rhubarb – 2 kg
- Oranges (juice and zest)- 2 qty
- Star anise -3 qty
- Sugar- 100 grams
- Panettone or bread (cut in 2 cm thick slices )- 1 kg
- Butter (melted)- 200 grams
- Greek yogurt or Crème fraiche (to serve)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/ gas mark 4 /160-degree fan.
- Take an ovenproof dish of the size of about 30cm x 22 cm.
- Take a pan and poach the rhubarb slowly and gently in orange juice and zest. Add sugar and star anise in it.
- Mash the rhubarb to break all large pieces. Remember to mash and not puree the rhubarb.
- Using a scissor, cut the crusts or edges of bread or Panettone. The slices should be cut in such a shape that they can completely cover the sides and bottom of the ovenproof dish. Keep some aside to cover the top of the dish.
- Take a pastry brush and brush the melted butter to layer completely the sides and bottom of the ovenproof dish.
- Sprinkle a bit of sugar on the butter layer. Shake the ovenproof dish to distribute the sugar granules over the bottom and sides.
- Apply melted butter with the help of a pastry brush on both sides of the bread or Panettone pieces. Now lay them in and on the sides of the ovenproof dish.
- Spoon the rhubarb mixture from the pan and fill in the ovenproof dish. Spread evenly and cover with remaining bread or Panettone pieces. Brush the top of the bread of Panettone pieces with a generous layer of melted butter.
- Keep the ovenproof dish in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes till the top of the dish turns golden.
- Take out once the dish is done.
- Serve with Greek yogurt or crème Fraiche.
Rhubarb is a delicious vegetable full of vital nutrients, good for health. Consuming it during pregnancy is completely safe, albeit reasonably, and when taken in the right form.