As a woman becomes pregnant, she is required to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Whatever an expectant mother eats, she also feeds it to her baby. Her body should be well-taken cared of. And one the ways in doing so is getting the proper nutrition that she needs and she deserves. Whatever she does, whatever she consumes will be the foundation for a healthy baby and a safe delivery in the ninth month. That is why she needs to be very careful with her intake since even that simple, healthy food and drinks may have adverse effects on her and the baby in her womb. She can’t just conclude that whatever she eats at the time when she is not yet pregnant remains safe for her while in gestation.
One common plant known for its numerous benefits is the chicory. Also known as wild succor, it is a popular plant related to the dandelion. The herb originally came from Europe but is now being cultivated all over the world. It existed for a thousand years as history tells it that it has been used during the early civilization. Some parts of the plant are edible. Its leaves are used in salad. The flower or the buds can be pickled. The root can be roasted and grounded into chicory coffee. It can also be dried to be used as a tea. Its shoots can be eaten like fresh greens.
The plant is also known for its many medicinal properties. Its root is pulverized to serve as medicine and supplement. With its myriad uses and benefits is it still safe to expectant mothers?
Contents of the chicory root
Chicory root holds 75% of water. The remaining 25% includes protein, sugar and inulin fiber. It also contains different micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, although not high enough to suffice the needed recommended daily intake.
The root contains a very high level of inulin, a water-soluble dietary fiber. It is also a probiotic that promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Aside from these, there are active compounds in the chicory roots that are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.
Its benefits during pregnancy
During pregnancy, if it cannot be avoided, it is advised that chicory root should be taken in very small quantities. It has high nutritional contents that can be beneficial.
For one, chicory root contains inulin, a strong probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that keep the gut healthy. Chicory root, as coffee or tea helps to resolve digestive problems like constipation, indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn and acidity at the time of pregnancy.
Chicory root juice also helps in preventing uterine cancer as well as the growth of tumors because of the high quantity of phytochemicals and polyphenols in the herb.
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The root extract of the plant is an effective diuretic and helps to eliminate toxins in the kidney. Thus, it prevents the risk of fluid retention, as well as swelling of the lower extremities among pregnant mothers. It contains an anti-inflammatory property that helps lessen joint pains. Chicory roots are natural sweeteners that it can serve as a healthy alternative to people with diabetes. It helps to delay the onset of diabetes.
Furthermore, the plant contains sedative properties that help to relax and reduce anxiety and calm the mind. This then removes stress and its harmful effects on a person, especially during pregnancy. Thus, it reduces the chance of heart disease and hormonal imbalance as well as insomnia.
Chicory’s strong anti-oxidant properties cleanse the liver. It also boosts immunity and fights bacteria that cause different diseases. Pregnant women need to be protected so as not to contract any diseases.
The negative effects
It is not enough that we just know the benefits we can get from the chicory plant. We should also need to be keen on the negative and dangerous effects of consuming it during pregnancy, especially when taken into excessive amounts.
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For one, someone who has allergies to daisies, chrysanthemums, and ragweed is possibly allergic to chicory. One may suffer irritation upon contact with the plant. It can lead to different problems like hives, itching, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, dizziness, wheezing, and worse, loss of consciousness.
Chicory roots should be washed and prepared carefully since it may be contaminated with toxic substances. The plant is also unsafe for consumption to someone who has gallstones since it stimulates the production of bile.
One of the main risks in consuming chicory among pregnant mothers is that the plant may cause sudden uterine contractions that may lead to miscarriage. The plant is also a natural emmenagogue that may trigger menstruation during pregnancy, thus may increase the risk of abortion.
Also, due to the high fiber content of its root, taking it in large quantities will lead to bloating, nausea, flatulence, diarrhea and severe stomach cramps.
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Overconsumption can lead to contrasting effects compared when taken in a small amount. For example, small intake may increase appetite, but too much of it will lead to weight loss that is unhealthy during pregnancy. Chicory can provide the nutrients needed by the body, but over consumption will lead to body imbalance. It can also lower blood sugar levels, but may trigger hypoglycemia if not properly supervised.
Pregnant women’s need is different compared to those who are not pregnant. We might say that certain food is healthy or beneficial because of its medicinal and healing property, but it doesn’t automatically apply when on an expectant mom. We cannot conclude that herbal or natural means safe.
Lack of evidence in the effectiveness of the plant coupled with the potential health risk that it may bring, is not recommended to be taken when someone is pregnant. If you wish to do so, better visit your doctor and ask for guidelines and limitations in consuming it. There are a wide variety of options that can cure or resolve different health issues – solutions that will not put your pregnancy at risk. Always choose the better and healthier options.