One of the foods that causes the most confusion for pregnant women is onion.
It’s healthy and full of vitamins and other nutrients, but is it okay to eat onion during pregnancy?
In short, the answer is yes.
Onions are safe for pregnant women and provide them with vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, iron, folic acid, carbohydrates, phosphorus, etc.
During pregnancy, women take special care of their health, bodies, and lifestyle.
Expecting mothers turn into detectives whose main mission is to investigate the food they eat and avoid anything that could present a potential danger to them or their unborn child.
However, onions should be eaten in moderation.
Just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean you should eat them in large amounts.
Onions are one of the most popular ingredients in almost every world cuisine. It adds a special flavor to every dish, but that’s not its only quality.
It is usually eaten cooked as a part of the dish, but it can also be eaten raw in salads or as a garnish.
There are several types of onion, including leeks, red, white, green, and spring onion.
Each type is perfectly safe for future moms.
However, onions do have certain side effects which are usually a result of overconsumption.
Eating Onion During Pregnancy
Many women are afraid to eat spicy food with strong flavors during pregnancy because they believe it could cause harm to the baby or even induce preterm labor.
However, there’s no scientific evidence for this or any confirmed examples of the theory.
Onion improves the taste of every dish, but it also enhances its nutritional value, which is why this vegetable is actually recommended for pregnant women.
This nutritious food provides great benefits to both the mother and the unborn child.
Onions increase the mother’s immunity, which results in a lower risk of contracting any kind of disease or infection.
This vegetable is a part of the allium family, known for its rich taste and aroma.
Eating onions during pregnancy is completely safe for all pregnant women who aren’t prone to heartburn and don’t have a known onion allergy.
Health benefits of eating onion during pregnancy
The onion is a very valuable plant in medicine because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
What’s more, it fights against cancer and cholesterol.
It’s also a great source of folic acid, which is crucial for the healthy development of the baby, especially during the first trimester.
1. Boosts the immune system
This is one of the crucial points of pregnancy.
The mother’s immune system gets weaker as the baby grows stronger in the womb, which is completely natural as the baby is receiving food from the mom.
Onion is full of vitamins, including vitamin C, which prevents diseases like the common cold or severe cough.
By eating onions the mother protects herself, thereby ensuring her baby grows safe and sound in her womb.
2. Improves hair and skin
Many articles, books, and funny pictures (memes) present pregnant women as exhausted, messy, and pale with bad hair.
We all know it’s just a bit of a joke and a funny way to show how overwhelming pregnancy can be sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the signs that your health is not in good shape.
If you notice a lot of hair loss or your skin in bad condition, you may be lacking vitamins A, E, or C.
One of the best ways to compensate for vitamin deficiency is to eat raw or cooked onions.
Onions are filled with vitamins A, E, and C, which make your hair and skin look shiny and healthy.
Vitamin C is a great cure for any type of skin pigmentation as well.
Although onions might make you cry, you’ll look really pretty!
3. Fights against gestational diabetes
If you are pregnant and haven’t heard of gestational diabetes, you are a very lucky mama indeed!
Unfortunately, a lot of pregnant women aren’t as lucky as you.
This type of diabetes develops during pregnancy, and unlike other types of diabetes, it affects the cell usage of glucose in the blood.
Gestational diabetes causes a high level of sugar in the blood, which can have a negative effect on the mother or her baby.
However, early treatment can significantly lower any risk during pregnancy.
It’s recommended to seek medical advice and a checkup before pregnancy, so the doctor can determine the risk of developing gestational diabetes or any other medical conditions.
There are no specific symptoms of gestational diabetes that could be noticeable during pregnancy.
Fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination are regular symptoms of pregnancy, so they’re not reliable.
Checkups are highly recommended if a woman gains a lot of weight before or during pregnancy.
Onions are great for the prevention of gestational diabetes because they stabilize the level of blood sugar and break down insulin resistance.
4. Fights high blood pressure
Unfortunately, gestational diabetes is not the only medical condition that can occur during pregnancy.
Preeclampsia, or toxemia, is a medical condition that can be diagnosed during pregnancy.
The main symptom is high blood pressure, which can cause very serious complications for both the mother and the infant.
Preeclampsia is usually diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It can do a lot of damage to the whole body, including kidneys and liver.
The most important part is early treatment. If you notice symptoms such as:
• High blood pressure (over 140/90mm Hg)
• Severe headache
• Too much protein in the urine
• Blurred or lost vision
• Abdominal pain
You should visit the doctor as soon as possible.
Swelling and weight gain are also possible, but they are common pregnancy side-effects, so they’re not very reliable indicators.
Raw onions are a good source of phytonutrients, which help to maintain good blood pressure.
However, you should be careful not to eat too many raw onions.
5. Prevents heart diseases
Pregnancy puts strain on the whole body, including the cardiovascular system.
However, pregnancy rarely causes any new heart diseases but can worsen existing heart conditions.
Of course, onions can’t make all your problems magically disappear, but they can keep the heart and cholesterol under control.
How is that possible, you may ask?
Well, it’s easier to explain than to pronounce.
A compound called quercetin keeps cholesterol low, while organic sulfur and flavonoids keep the heart in good health during pregnancy.
6. Prevents cancer
This is a very serious statement, and just to be clear, onions cannot kill cancer cells, but they are very effective at preventing the disease.
A high concentration of free radicals in the body can cause damage to proteins, DNA, and cells.
Unfortunately, pregnancy can increase the number of free radicals in the body, which means there is a higher risk of cancer.
However, onion contains anticancer compounds like organic sulfur, which breaks down free radicals and lowers the risk of getting cancer, especially colorectal and other stomach cancers.
7. Prevents constipation
One of the things that makes pregnant women the most miserable is constipation.
Unfortunately, a lot of pregnant ladies suffer from this condition, as well as other digestive problems, including gastric ulcers.
There’s less room for your digestive system as the baby grows, which means you end up with difficult bowel movements and slow digestion.
Eating dietary fibers is always recommended, but it’s almost mandatory during pregnancy for all of the reasons mentioned above.
If you suffer from difficult bowel movements or any other digestive issue, eating onions is the best decision you could make.
Regular consumption of onions, which are rich in fiber, can solve your digestive problems in no time.
8. Boosts oral health
Dental problems are quite common during pregnancy, especially tooth decay or gingivitis.
It’s not connected to oral hygiene, though, as was previously thought, but poor dental hygiene definitely makes the situation worse.
Gum-related issues can be prevented by eating onions, which kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis and tooth decay.
Onions can improve overall oral health, but they can also cause smelly breath, so watch out for that.
Pro tip: Apples are known as natural teeth cleaners.
Apples can fight bad breath and the bacteria that cause oral problems.
They’re also great for removing any kind of food debris from your teeth.
However, if you feel any pain or notice sore gums or other kinds of swelling or inflammation, pay a visit to the dentist for some professional advice.
9. Detoxifies your body
Onions are full of valuable nutrients for our bodies and should be consumed regularly in either raw or cooked form.
Of course, cooked onion has fewer nutrients than raw, but it’s easier to digest, especially for people who suffer from heartburn.
As well as vitamins, antioxidants, and several other useful compounds, onions also contain amino acids such as cysteine and methionine.
Amino acids are great for fighting against unwelcome substances in the body, especially during pregnancy.
Eating onion during pregnancy will help you detoxify your body and keep anything unwanted away from you and your unborn baby.
Onions will even clean heavy metals from your body in no time!
10. Prevents weight gain
Last, but not least, and maybe even the most important thing – onion consumption prevents weight gain.
Why is this important?
It’s impossible not to gain at least a little bit of weight during pregnancy.
It’s completely natural and nothing to worry about.
However, excessive weight gain can cause serious health issues, especially during pregnancy.
A large intake of unhealthy compounds may result in an increased risk of heart disease, higher blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and difficult labor.
All of these medical conditions can do serious harm to both the mother and her unborn child, so it’s very important to stay at the optimal weight during pregnancy.
Pregnancy weight is difficult to lose even after the delivery, which means a higher risk of other diseases as well.
However, because onions are low in calories, they can be added to any type of food.
If you eat more onions, you’ll eat less high-calorie food.
However, be sure not to eat too much onion either, for the reasons we’ll discuss now.
Side effects of eating onion during pregnancy
There are numerous benefits of onions for our bodies, which is why they should be regularly consumed.
However, excessive consumption of onion can cause some undesirable side effects.
The first and mildest side effect would probably be the smell – it doesn’t do anything bad to your body, but as a pregnant woman, you might start vomiting when you smell it.
The sense of smell usually becomes very sensitive during pregnancy, and most women usually put onion at the top of the worst-smelling food items list.
Excessive consumption of onion during pregnancy can cause heartburn. In addition, it can cause heavy breathing, which is why it should only be consumed in moderation.
Onions also contain vitamin A and chromium, which are not necessarily bad, (they are part of our body) but can have a negative effect if taken excessively.
Vitamin A stores additional amounts of fats in the liver, which could lead to liver damage and result in certain birth defects as well.
Of course, this won’t only happen because you eat onions, but if you eat other food that contains vitamin A as well it could become too much for your body.
Chromium is an essential mineral in breaking down fat, carbs, and proteins.
However, if you take too much chromium you might have some side effects like headache, allergy, irregular heartbeats, sleep issues, and even liver or kidney damage in severe cases.
1. Causes an allergic reaction
Allergies are not rare during pregnancy, as the immune system gets weaker.
It’s not a surprise if a pregnant woman has an allergic reaction to something she never had problems with before, including onions.
This is why pregnant women should moderate their consumption of all food items, not only onions, to prevent any negative reaction that might complicate her or her baby’s health.
2. Causes heartburn
As I mentioned before, onion is a major cause of heartburn, a condition caused by acid regurgitation which feels like fire burning through the chest.
Onions are spicy, which makes them a great addition to various dishes, but the spiciness and acid might also cause rather uncomfortable conditions.
3. Causes diarrhea
Well, this was quite predictable after we said it’s a good remedy for constipation, right?
Excessive eating of raw onion during pregnancy can cause diarrhea, which is not good for your body.
This digestive problem can cause hot flashes, increased body temperature, and dehydration, which can have a bad influence on the healthy development of the baby.
If you notice any of these issues after eating onions, make sure to visit your doctor in time and avoid onions altogether until your doctor tells you what to do next.
Which Onions Have More Benefits?
There are several different types of onion, and most people are confused about which one has the most benefits for our body.
1. Sweet/Yellow onions
As the name suggests, yellow onions have a sweeter taste and go great with any type of salad.
If you have problems with the smell of onions, this one will be perfect for you because it doesn’t have a very strong smell at all.
It’s perfect for caramelization too.
2. Red onion
These are very spicy, but they’re very beneficial as well.
Red onions are effective as blood thinners and are rich in flavonoids.
If you can eat spicy food during pregnancy without any aversion to food, red onion is a great choice for you.
3. Spring onion
Very delicious, especially during spring as a salad or in Mexican and Chinese cuisine.
Spring onions add freshness to any dish, as well as lovely flavor.
It’s a good source of vitamin B and minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and folic acid (the leafy part of the onion).
Shallots are a hybrid form of onion that is milder than white or red onions.
It doesn’t have a strong taste and adds a nice touch to every dish.
It also helps with maintaining regular blood sugar levels, which makes it a great replacement for stronger types of onions.
5. White onions
White onions work amazingly with salads by adding great taste and crunchiness.
They’re milder than red onions and go great with Mediterranean cuisine.
It could be said that red onions are the most beneficial type, but if you can’t stand the smell or strong flavor, any other type of onion will work just fine and yield optimal results.
Eating Onions During Breastfeeding, Yay Or Nay?
Many future mamas worry about their diet during breastfeeding, only choosing food items that will increase breast milk production and excluding food that could potentially harm their babies in any way.
There is some food you shouldn’t be eating while breastfeeding, and onions often undeservedly end up on this list, even though they have numerous benefits.
Of course, there are some side effects, but most of them only occur as a result of eating too many onions.
Moderate consumption of onions will not harm you or your child.
To Sum Up
So, is onion welcome in a pregnancy diet? Of course!
Eating onions can help maintain a healthy pregnancy through all trimesters, and lower the risks of well-known medical conditions like:
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Listeriosis (caused by Listeria monocytogenes)
• Gestational diabetes
• Preeclampsia, etc.
Onions are considered superfoods because they contain vitamins and minerals crucial for the healthy development of the baby and mother, such as:
• Fatty acids
• Folic Acid, etc.
Even though onions have various benefits, they should be eaten moderately during pregnancy because of certain side effects that may pose risks to the mother or her baby.
I know it’s hard to resist food cravings, but if you crave onions try to only eat a healthy amount, just enough to satisfy your cravings and your daily nutrient requirements.
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