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Is It Safe To Consume Amla During Pregnancy?

When a woman is pregnant, her hormones are at peak, causing her to crave for a variety of food items that she never used to eat before willingly. In the first trimester, the expecting mother experience morning sickness and vomiting symptoms. Naturally, she craves for sour food that keeps her vomit sessions in check. Amla or gooseberry is one such remedy for these cravings.

Amla is round and light green in colour, which looks very similar to lemon. It is a superfruit that tastes sweet and sour. It is an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamin C. It also contains healthy nutrients like iron, calcium and phosphorus. That is why amla has always found a special place in Ayurveda since ancient times.

In this article, we will explore all the aspects of this healthy berry and whether it is healthy to consume during pregnancy.

Health Benefits Of Amla During Pregnancy

1. Gives relief from constipation

The digestive system is off the track during pregnancy. Problems like constipation and haemorrhoids become a common pain [1] . As amla contains a lot of fibre, it serves as an amazing source to cure bowel movements and regularize the discrepancies. Indigestion, vomiting, acidity can be minimized to the extent of being negligible [5] .

2. Rejuvenates and revitalizes the entire body

During pregnancy, a mother's body works overtime to feed itself as well as the baby. The body can easily become exhausted to produce extra blood and pregnancy hormones. Nausea can make the situation worse. Amla boosts the energy and provides the tired body with the necessary energy, thus rejuvenating the immunity [2] .

The sweet-sour flavour of amla plays an important role in the control of nausea symptoms. It can be taken as a juice or eaten raw, and the body strength will gradually improve over time.

3. Detoxifies the body

Amla contains a good amount of water. Hence, when it is consumed, the body feels the urge to urinate more often. Also, amla is an effective antioxidant. It detoxifies the body by eliminating deposits of mercury, free radicals and harmful toxins through urine. Thus eating gooseberry every day would ensure that the foetus receives a constant supply of clean blood and oxygen [3] .

4. Boosts the immunity system

Gooseberry is an antioxidant and can enhance the immunity system. It is common to deal with infections like common flu, cold, cough, urinary tract infection, etc. during pregnancy [6] . The high amount of vitamin C helps in fighting against such diseases and sustain the health. It builds resistance within the body if consumed every day.

Amla also enables lactation post pregnancy. This gives the added benefit to the baby to feed on immunity-boosting breastmilk.

5. Prevents gestational diabetes

Even if mothers had no history of diabetes prior to pregnancy, they are still susceptible to contract gestational diabetes. When pregnancy hormones interfere with the normal functioning of the body and disrupt insulin, this form of diabetes can occur. Amla has a lot of antidiabetic abilities which can normalize the flow of insulin and eliminate gestational diabetes over time.

6. Improves eyesight and memory of baby

Amla is a superfood that can be consumed to increase brain power and eyesight. It has been known to improve the cognitive and memory functions. Drinking a cup of amla juice every day can benefit the mother as well as the baby.

7. Helps in control of oedema

Gooseberry has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in the effective circulation of blood [7] . Women tend to suffer from swollen hands and feet during pregnancy, which causes them great discomfort and pain. Eating amla every day can help to reduce swelling by increasing blood flow, thus making the symptoms easier for expecting mothers.

8. Regulates normal blood pressure

High blood pressure during pregnancy is never a good sign. It can cause several complications at a later stage such as premature baby, miscarriage, etc. Amla has an abundance of vitamin C, which is an excellent antioxidant to dilate blood vessels. This conducts a normal blood pressure, thus increasing the chances of safe delivery of the baby.

9. Provides calcium

The mother's body starts craving for more calcium during pregnancy, because it is an essential nutrient needed in the formation of teeth and bones of the foetus. If the mother is not maintaining a proper level of calcium in her body, the developing foetus will extract its requirements from the mother's bones. She will be depleted of calcium and may be at high risk of osteoporosis. Amla is an excellent source to gain calcium; it can help the mother recover easily and meet all her body demands.

10. Cures morning sickness

During the first three months of pregnancy, the mother suffers from frequent episodes of vomiting, nausea and morning sickness. She craves for more sweet and sour food, and it feels refreshing on consumption. Amla is effective to tone down the vomiting symptoms; it helps the body to be energized and recover from the loss of appetite. Morning sickness can completely weaken the mother due to dehydration. Amla makes up for it with its high water content.

11. Prevents anaemia

The baby needs additional blood during pregnancy. Therefore, a mother's body needs to produce double the quantity of red blood cells than it does on a usual routine. Amla contains a good quantity of iron and vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an essential factor in absorption of more iron during the gestational period, thus contributing in good health of the baby. Amla juice is highly effective in fighting anaemia during this phase; it normalizes blood circulation and haemoglobin levels to a great extent [4] .

Possible Side Effects Of Amla Consumption During Pregnancy

Amla has a plethora of benefits. However, it should be consumed in limit else it can cause problems like diarrhoea, dehydration, indigestion and constipation. Sensible care should be taken to avoid eating it during certain times.

- As amla gives a cooling sensation within the body, the mother should avoid eating it during cough and cold, as it can worsen the symptoms.

- Amla has laxative properties, so if the mother is already suffering from diarrhoea, it can disrupt the bowel movement even further.
- It's necessary to be considerate about the quantity of consumption. If eaten in moderation, amla is a superfood with wonderful healing properties. More than normal can reverse all the goodness.

How Much Amla Should Be Consumed During Pregnancy?

One amla a day is really beneficial for health. A teaspoon of amla powder can be consumed if it is available, which roughly amounts to 4 g. Vitamin C is present in sufficient quantity in a single amla.

One amla contains more vitamin C than what is present in an orange. It consists of 85 mg of vitamin C, which provides a substantial quantity during pregnancy. 100 g of amla has 500 mg to 1800 mg of this vitamin.

How To Eat Amla During Pregnancy

1. Amla can be boiled in sugar syrup along with cardamom powder. This can be a yummy substitute to sweet pickles. Amla murabba helps in the promotion of good health and immunity. It increases appetite during pregnancy and helps in effective digestion. The mother and the foetus are provided with enough strength. It enriches both of them with vitamin C.

2. Amla candy, which is prepared by boiling amla, is a good snack. It can be stored and eaten whenever the mother craves for something sweet-sour. To prepare this candy, amla pieces can be boiled in water. Later ginger powder and cumin powder can be sprinkled along with sugar. The slices are supposed to be kept in sunlight and dried for two days. Later, it can be sealed in an airtight container and enjoyed whenever possible. It improves the immunity of both mother and baby, and give them a beautiful skin. It is also good to be consumed during cough and cold.

3. Amla juice is a healthy part of the diet. Blend pieces of amla in a mixture along with honey, water and some crushed pepper. A pinch of salt can be added if needed. The pulp can be filtered to extract the juice. This entire combination is very soothing for the body. Although amla has cooling properties, honey acts as a warming agent. It helps to prevent cough and cold. It removes harmful toxins from the body and treats acidity.

4. Amla supari can be eaten as a mouth freshener. It is effective in controlling vomiting and morning sickness. It stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, thus treating indigestion. It relieves from abdominal cramps, colds and infections.

5. Amla powder, which is completely the by-product of amla, has wonderful health benefits for hair, skin and overall health. The fresh amla can be cut into several pieces and dried under the sunlight. It might be a little time-consuming. However, once they dry, they can be ground together to form a powder. It can be used while cooking or washing hair. It helps in hair growth and removes any scalp diseases. It has the same health benefits as fresh amla.

6. Amla pickle is a quick bite to satisfy pregnancy cravings. Fermented gooseberry is immensely beneficial to boost the body's cell repair system, in case of injuries. It reduces mouth ulcers. The liver remains protected from any potential damage.

Consumption of amla is not harmful in general. However, the doctor must be consulted before eating a particular food item during pregnancy.

View Article References
  1. [1] Cullen, G., & O’Donoghue, D. (2007).Constipation and pregnancy. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, 21(5), 807-818.
  2. [2] Middha, S. K., Goyal, A. K., Lokesh, P., Yardi, V., Mojamdar, L., Keni, D. S., ... & Usha, T. (2015). Toxicological evaluation of Emblica officinalis fruit extract and its anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging properties. Pharmacognosy magazine, 11(Suppl 3), S427-S433.
  3. [3] Guruprasad, K. P., Dash, S., Shivakumar, M. B., Shetty, P. R., Raghu, K. S., Shamprasad, B. R., … Satyamoorthy, K. (2017). Influence of Amalaki Rasayana on telomerase activity and telomere length in human blood mononuclear cells. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 8(2), 105-112.
  4. [4] Layeeq, S., & Thakar, A. B. (2015). Clinical efficacy of Amalaki Rasayana in the management of Pandu (Iron deficiency anemia). Ayu, 36(3), 290-297.
  5. [5] Gopa, B., Bhatt, J., & Hemavathi, K. G. (2012). A comparative clinical study of hypolipidemic efficacy of Amla (Emblica officinalis) with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase inhibitor simvastatin. Indian journal of pharmacology, 44(2), 238-242.
  6. [6] Belapurkar, P., Goyal, P., & Tiwari-Barua, P. (2014). Immunomodulatory effects of Triphala and its individual constituents: A review. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 76(6), 467-475.
  7. [7] Golechha, M., Sarangal, V., Ojha, S., Bhatia, J., & Arya, D. S. (2014). Anti-inflammatory effect of Emblica officinalis in rodent models of acute and chronic inflammation: involvement of possible mechanisms. International Journal of Inflammation, 2014, 1-6.
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