Amla, the Indian Gooseberry has been deemed as an excellent antioxidant with exceptional properties that can boost our health. But can you eat amla during pregnancy? Are there any side-effects of eating amla during pregnancy? I loved to eat amlas during my pregnancy for their sheer sour and tangy taste that gave my mouth’s metallic taste a break. I also had Patanjali’s Amla juice for a brief period, but then ditched it to eat the raw fruit because I liked the texture of amlas. So lets know more about including the lemon-sized superfruit in your pregnancy diet.
Nutritional composition of Amla
Amla has an impressive nutritional profile, and you should actually consider including the fruit in your daily diet not just during pregnancy, but otherwise as well.
A bowl of 100 gm of Indian Gooseberries has the below nutritional components:
- Calories – 44
- Fat – 0.6 grams
- Carbohydrates – 10 grams
- Dietary fibre – 4.3 grams
- Proteins – 0.9 grams
Amla also has vitamin C, and a 100 gram of serving can give you about 46% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Additionally, it has many antioxidants, iron, calcium and vitamin A.
Is it safe to eat amla when pregnant?
Amla holds a distinguished position in Ayurvedic science, and the benefits have been passed down to generations. You must have noticed amla making the main ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines, and it is largely considered safe during the gestation period. Indian gooseberry has many nutritional benefits that make it highly desirable at the time when your health is of prime importance in the healthy development of the baby.
How does eating Amla benefits in pregnancy?
Not just during pregnancy, but otherwise also amla can be an excellent addition to your daily food routine. Blessed with rejuvenating properties and an impressive nutritional profile, it is the guilt-free, comfort food for many pregnant women. And not without some great benefits, listed as under-
1. Keeps you rejuvenated and energetic
As pregnancy takes over, the body starts to work overtime to support the growing baby. The excess blood, the pregnancy hormones and nausea makes one fatigue and exhausted early. Having some amla can help you feel rejuvenated and energetic by beating the fatigue, making your nausea go away and boosting your energy levels.
2. Keeps constipation at a bay
With pregnancy, the digestive system goes for a toss. Having a diet full of fiber, and supplementing it with amla can help you have regular bowel movements. Frequent digestive discomforts like acidity, indigestion, gas etc. can also be eliminated by adding amla to your pregnancy diet.
3. Detoxifies your body
To ensure a constant supply of purified blood and oxygen to the growing fetus, include Indian gooseberry in your daily regime. The detoxifying properties of amla rids the blood of mercury deposits, harmful toxins and free radicals making it healthier and purified.
4. Works wonders for immunity
Optimum vitamin C in your body boosts your immune system by building resistance to several pathogens. Vitamin C also supports various other functions of the body, and its deficiency can make you susceptible to infections. You certainly do not want this during your pregnancy, and a power fruit like amla, which contains 20 times the vitamin C as in an orange helps you boost your immune system.1
5. Restricts gestational diabetes
Many women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, even if they never had it earlier. Pregnancy hormones interfere with insulin in the body and cause pregnancy diabetes. Gestational diabetes can cause certain complications during pregnancy, but by having amla regularly, one can restrict the chances of developing this condition. Amla is known to have anti-diabetic properties – thanks to the antioxidants present in it. 2
6. Amla boosts baby’s memory and eyesight
Well, apart from you having amla during pregnancy helps your baby too. Amla is known to boost memory and cognitive functions of the brain, and that’s why it is often the major constituent in Ayurvedic medicines such as ‘chavanprash’. Amla also helps your baby have a great eyesight.
7. Control oedema with Amla
Amla is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and boosts blood flow. It can be particularly beneficial for women who suffer from swollen hands and feet (oedema) during pregnancy causing a lot of discomfort. Having amla can fight the condition, improve blood flow and relieve the symptoms.3
8. Normalises blood pressure
An elevated blood pressure during pregnancy is always a dangerous things with consequences such as a premature baby and other complications. The abundant vitamin C in amla makes it keep the blood vessels dilated, aiding in sustaining a normal blood pressure.
9. Excellent source of calcium
During pregnancy, calcium requirement of the body doubles because it is needed for bones and teeth of the fetus. In case you are not having a calcium rich diet, the baby’s calcium requirement will be extracted from the mother’s bones – leaving you at the risk of oesteroposis. Amla is a rich source of calcium and can help you get sufficient calcium during the pregnancy period.
10. Combats morning sickness
The sour-tangy-bitter taste of amla is actually very pleasing when you are dealing with bouts of vomiting and nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy. A few bites of amla will make you feel refreshed and better. Not only this, it also helps in boosting your appetite which goes for a toss when you are suffering from morning sickness.
11. Fights pregnancy anemia
When pregnant, the body needs to produce additional red blood cells to meet the baby’s requirements of additional blood. Amla not only contains iron but also helps to absorb iron from the prenatal supplements and keeps you and the baby in good health. Amla juice is particularly recommended to fight pregnancy induced anemia and maintain optimum haemoglobin levels.4
Possible side-effects of eating amla during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a delicate time for all of us, and nothing, no matter how beneficial or healthy it may be, should be consumed in large quantities. Pregnancy is the time to balance – and not overdo anything, no matter what the benefits. In this case too, you should have only an amla or two per day to derive maximum benefits. Although amla does not have any potential side effects, yet, refrain from eating amla if-
- You are battling diarrhea, since amla has laxative properties
- You have cold or cough because amla has a cooling effect on the body
- You feel any discomfort or abdominal pain after having amla or amla juice
Drinking Patanjali amla juice during pregnancy
While it is a good idea to drink amla juice made at home, by mixing the grinded pulp of two amlas with water and maybe some honey for added taste, it is best to avoid packaged amla juice. Packaged amla juice contains preservatives and sugar to increase shelf life, but can be bad during pregnancy when fresh should be preferred. Preservatives should be avoided during this delicate phase.
Though I have had Patanjali amla juice, it is best to seek your doctors advice if you want to have it daily. The brand has often been in radar for not meeting the safety standards.
How much amla can I eat during pregnancy?
Have about one to two fresh amla fruit – at once or break it into two times a day. If you are using powdered amla, a teaspoon of it in a glass of water should be enough for a day.
What is the best time to eat amla during pregnancy?
Whether you eat fresh amla fruit or have its juice, it is advised to have it in the morning on an empty stomach. Amla juice should be diluted in water, preferably lukewarm as otherwise it will be extremely hard to swallow. You can also add honey for extra taste.
Can I eat cooked amla during pregnancy?
Although amla can be made into delicious dishes, it is best to have it in raw form or when made into a juice during pregnancy. Cooking the amla depletes its nutritional value and so should not be encouraged.
How to eat amla during pregnancy?
Apart from having it as a raw fruit and made into a juice, you can also incorporate amla in your diet in the following ways –
- Picked amla: You can make amla into a pickle on your own, or get one made locally. Since the oils are the preservative in this, it has a good shelf-life and also satiates your taste-buds with the sour-tangy taste
- Adding amla to salads: In your regular salads, add two amlas chopped into small pieces. Have them along the rest of salad to experience the sudden rush of flavour in some bites
- Making amla candy: Boiled and de-seeded amla is soaked in a mixture of cumin seeds, carom seeds and some sugar. Once amla absorbs the moisture, the liquid is discarded and the amla is cut into smaller pieces. These pieces are then placed in the sun and dried out. Store them in air-tight container and enjoy a piece or two whenever you feel like
- Amla murabba: Amlas are perforated and then soaked in lime water for a day and then cooked in boiling water till they turn soft and tender. Afterwards, they are soaked in sugar syrup, with a dash of lime and cooked for some time. When they cool, store them in airtight container
- Amla as a dessert: Satiate your taste buds with this easy amla dessert that is full of flavour and nutrition. Soak amlas in honey for a few hours and keep them aside. After your meals, have them as a dessert. The goodness of honey and the nutrition of amlas will make you long for it even when it’s over!
Amla is truly a super fruit and has some amazing benefits during pregnancy. Keep the precautions in mind, and enjoy this fruit in all its glory.