Honey in pregnancy is not only delicious but a beneficial product. It contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. While today we mostly use sugar, honey has been used as a natural sweetener by many nations for ages. Its antimicrobial properties were known in Egyptian, Indian and other ancient cultures. The biggest advantages of honey consist in its sweetness and nutritiousness. But, is this natural sweetener harmful to health, especially for pregnant women? Is honey good for a pregnant woman? Let's find out.
Is taking honey good for a pregnant woman?
Pregnant women can be worried about eating honey as it is believed that it can cause botulism which affects the foetus. Botulism is actually a serious illness caused by a harmful bacteria Clostridia preserved in honey.
The chances that pregnant women can be affected by this infection are low because their immune system is able to fight the illness before it starts. When talking about a baby, it cannot be affected by the bacteria as it is protected by the placenta. Thanks to the anti-microbial properties of honey, microbial organisms cannot be cultivated in this substance. That's why honey is a very useful food for pregnant women, but it should be consumed in moderate amounts. Avoid eating honey if your doctor advised against it.
One thing to remember is that honey is really not safe for babies as their digestive systems are not mature enough to fight the bacteria of botulism. It is not recommended to give honey to a child before it turns one year.
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The benefits of honey in pregnancy
Honey has numerous health benefits but, probably, the greatest benefit of this substance consists in its ability to substitute sugar, but still, it should be consumed judiciously. Here are the most significant benefits of honey:
- Improving the immune system. The medicinal properties in honey boost the immune system to fight bacteria. A strong immune system is hugely important for a pregnant woman as it protects a baby as well.
- Easing sore throat and cough. Besides the antibacterial properties, honey has anti-inflammatory properties. If added to the ginger or lemon tea, it relieves cold and cough. While there is no scientific evidence for or against its use to fight flu, it is often used to recover from the illness quickly.
- Ulcers curation. Pregnant women who are suffering from gastritis and ulcers can relieve their pain by consuming honey that is known to heal the wounds in the stomach. Thanks to the antibacterial properties, honey decreases the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria that causes ulcers.
- Relieving insomnia. There is no need to take pills if you are suffering from insomnia. Honey can effectively improve the quality of your sleep and overcome insomnia. Just mix a cup of milk with a spoon of honey and drink the delicious mixture before you go to bed. The effect is achieved by hypnotic and stress relieving properties.
- Preventing allergies. Allergy is usually caused by low immunity. Thanks to the presence of pollen in honey, it can improve the resistance to different seasonal allergies. You might be allergic to pollen, so consult your doctor before you consume honey to treat your allergy.
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Honey in pregnancy side effects
When eaten in large amounts, honey can be harmful to a pregnant woman's health. Here are the side effects:
- Aggravating insulin sensitivity. While honey is a natural product rich in vitamin, antioxidants, and minerals, it also contains a lot of fructose and glucose that are known to raise blood sugar level. It can lead to diabetes. To keep an insulin resistance on the safe level, eat no more than 30 grams of honey a day during the pregnancy period.
- Digestion issues. Excessive consumption of honey may lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
- Dental health issues. Similarly to the sugar produced from sugar beet, sugar cane, and other artificial sugars, sugar in honey is known to cause dental cavities and tooth erosion.
- Weight gain. Honey is quite a calorie food that causes weight gain.
Precautions to take while eating honey
When eating honey, be sure you are doing this the right way:
- It is not recommended to dilute honey in hot water or add it to hot beverages as all the nutritious ingredients lose their usefulness. It is better to wait until the water is warm.
- When added to foods rich in vitamins C and D, honey will destroy the benefits of the vitamins and minerals.
- Use only pasteurized honey from trusted manufacturers as a raw product may contain bacteria of botulism.
Eating honey may be both beneficial and dangerous. Everything depends on amounts, the quality of the product, and health condition. Honey benefits in several ways during pregnancy as it is rich in nutrients and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. As for the dangers of honey during pregnancy, its excessive consumption may cause some side effects including cramps, weight gain, teeth sensitivity and others.