Onion During Pregnancy: Benefits and Risks

9 min read

Pregnancy is a crucial phase of a mother’s life. Food cravings are one of the biggest parts of pregnancy. Many pregnant women might run away at even a whiff of onion smell. On the other hand, they crave it in their food. The question here is, are onions during pregnancy safe?

Including onions in your meals is considered to be safe and nutritious, as it provides a large number of benefits to the mother and the child. Besides consuming the required amount of dietary fibers from the other fruits and vegetables, consuming onion during pregnancy can improve the immunity of the mother-to-be and protect her from a number of diseases and infections.

onions during pregnancy

Nutritional Facts About Onion

Onions are from the Alliums family of vegetables and have a strong, pungent taste and aroma. Owing to the antioxidant, anti-cholesterol, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties, onion during pregnancy is known to protect pregnant women from many fatal diseases.

Onions are rich in many vital nutrients like carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and fibers. They contain essential folic acid that is an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, sulfur, etc., which helps in regulating the growth of new cells. Moreover, these are rich in quercetin, which imparts protection against many common maladies like the flu, common cold, etc.

So, is onion good during pregnancy? The answer is yes! The many nutritional benefits of onions have helped in safeguarding many women from low sugar levels and promote the healthy growth of the baby and the mother.

Can I Eat Onions During Pregnancy?

cutting onion

Yes of course! As seen above, onions have many essential nutrients that can be beneficial to both mother and the child inside. Eating them is the best way to become healthy and it also helps in rejuvenating skin and mind. Pregnancy is a time when one has to be extra cautious as she cannot be medicated like usual. In such a situation, improving one’s immunity is a good step, and eating onions during pregnancy can do just that.

Can I Eat Raw Onions During Pregnancy?

Raw onions are more nutritious than cooked ones as cooking any vegetable will lead to a loss of various nutrients in them. However, one should not binge on raw onion during pregnancy. Moderation is the key here and it is advisable to follow this rule for anything and everything throughout the pregnancy.

13 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Onions During Pregnancy

woman holding bunch of onions

Here are some of the benefits of eating onion during pregnancy:

1. Skin and Hair Improvement

Onions are believed to improve hair growth as they are rich in vitamins. They are enriched with vitamin A and E that keeps the skin and hair glowing. Also, Vitamin C in onions is best for curing any skin pigmentation and helps in keeping the skin lively. Eating onion during pregnancy can improve the quality of hair and skin, for both you and the baby.

2. Constipation

Constipation is a big part of pregnancy that most women suffer from. As the baby grows and pushes against all organs, the digestion process slows down resulting in difficult bowel movements. If you are suffering from indigestion or constipation, regular consumption of onion can alleviate this issue. Onions are rich in dietary fiber and help smoothen out bowel movements.

3. Detoxification

Amino acids such as methionine and cysteine are found in onions. These acids help to detoxify and expel all unwanted substances from the body. Heavy metal content in the body is even more dangerous for the pregnant mother and developing child than usual. Consuming onion during pregnancy can help your body purge all these harmful contents from your body.

4. Cancer Prevention

Onions have anti-cancerous properties in them. They are also rich in organic sulfur compounds which not only help in preventing cancer but also help to break the free radicals. During pregnancy, free radicals tend to grow and might cause cancer in the body. Have onions during pregnancy and never worry about this issue.

5. Reduces the Risk of Heart Diseases

There is a compound named quercetin in the onions, which keeps the cholesterol level under control and keeps the heart rate normal. In addition to this, flavonoids and Organic sulfur present in the onion are useful in maintaining a healthy heart by reducing the risk of heart diseases in pregnant women.

6. Immunity Booster

Onions are rich in vitamin C – which helps improve your immunity. Catching a cold or suffering from a severe cough while pregnant is very uncomfortable. Eating onion during pregnancy can not only boost the mother’s immunity but of the growing child too.

7. Blood Pressure

Many women suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy. If left unchecked, it can lead to more serious issues like preeclampsia. When your diet includes onion during pregnancy, in the raw form, preferably, your blood pressure can be kept in check. Raw onions are a rich source of phytonutrients that help in regulating blood pressure.

8. Gestational Diabetes

Consuming raw and fresh onion during pregnancy, on a regular basis can help in breaking down any insulin resistance and help in stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Onion during pregnancy helps in fighting gestational diabetes.

9. Oral Health

Pregnancy brings along tooth decay and a number of gum-related issues like gingivitis, etc. Though these can be handled by a professional, it is not advisable to extract a tooth or get any serious treatment done while pregnant. Consuming onion during pregnancy can boost oral health by destroying bacteria responsible for tooth decay and improve the mother’s oral health.

10. Rich in Folic Acid

Once pregnancy is confirmed, one of the first medications prescribed by the doctors is folic acid. Onions are a very good source of this. Consuming onion during pregnancy can boost the folic acid content in the body and help with the development of the baby.

11. Helps to Prevent Swellings and Other Allergies

Onions have flavonoids, which are rich in anti-inflammatory properties. These flavonoids can reduce the swellings and allergies that an expecting mother is bound to experience. Eating onion during pregnancy can keep all those limb swellings in check.

12. Breathing Issues

As the pregnancy progresses, mothers are known to have breathing difficulty due to the baby pressing against the lungs. Eating onion during pregnancy will help to bring down pulmonary issues like asthma. It helps to alleviate nasal congestion, thereby promoting peaceful sleep.

13. Weight Gain

Gaining weight while pregnant is not preventable. The mother needs to gain weight to support the growing baby. However, many mothers struggle to lose this pregnancy weight after delivery, because of too much weight gain during the pregnancy. Onions are low in calories and can be added to almost any type of food. Include more onion during pregnancy, in all your dishes. This will help you satiate those hunger pangs without loading on the calories.

What are the Side Effects of Consuming Onions During Pregnancy?

Onion during pregnancy, though very beneficial, can be a little difficult to consume too. The first and foremost reason being the smell! Onions have a strong and pungent smell and during pregnancy, one’s sense of smell is heightened. Pregnant women develop sensitivity to various smells and onions are among the top items on the list.

Consuming too much onion during pregnancy can have a reverse effect too. There are some women who experience sudden heartburn or breathing issues after consuming a relatively higher quantity of onions. Thus, it is advisable to consume onion during pregnancy in moderation. Other issues that occur because of consuming more onions during pregnancy can lead to some serious side effects like:

Certain Allergic Issues

Allergies during pregnancy are a common phenomenon. Eating an onion during pregnancy on a regular basis, though good for the pregnant woman, might result in some allergies.

Diarrhea

Excess consumption of onion during pregnancy can sometimes result in diarrhea instead of just helping with bowel movements. The rich fiber content can cause this.

Heartburn

During pregnancy, heartburns are very common as the pregnancy progresses. Eating too much onion during pregnancy can cause heartburn as some onions can be spicy and acidic too.

Breathing Issues

In extreme cases, you might even suffer from the anaphylactic shock that may adversely affect your pregnancy. This side effect of eating onion during pregnancy is very rare, so don’t get too worked up.

Which Type of Onions is More Beneficial?

There are many varieties of onions to choose from. When it comes to eating onion during pregnancy, one would obviously wonder which variety offers the most benefits.

1. Red Onions

The red ones are very effective, natural, and act as blood thinners as they are considered to be rich in flavonoids. However, they can be very spicy to taste and cause your eyes to burn while chopping them. If you are craving some strong flavors in your dishes, you can opt for the red onion during pregnancy.

red onion

2. White Onions

These are a great addition to your salads, hence a nice crunchy texture when eaten raw. The smell is quite strong, but the aftertaste of these onions is not as strong as red onions.

Hence, if you are experiencing reflux or nausea after eating red onions, you can opt for the white variety of onions during pregnancy. These onions when caramelized or sautéed can add a nice taste to your vegetables, making them highly suitable for Mediterranean dishes.

white onion

3. Yellow/ Sweet Onions

These onions have a sweet taste and are a great addition to your salads. If you are facing adverse sensitivity to the smell of onions, you can opt for this onion during pregnancy. If you want some caramelized onions with your dish, these can be a good option.

sweet onion

4. Shallots

This is a hybrid variety of onions and less pungent when compared to the other full-sized onions. If you want to eat onion during pregnancy but are finding it difficult to cook red or white onions due to their strong smell, you can opt for this smaller variety. They add a nice flavor either cooked or raw, to any dish.

Shallots

5. Spring Onions / Scallions

Want to include onion during pregnancy and eat some greens too? This could be a good bet! This variety adds a great flavor to your food and the greens add a nice crunchy texture. Many Chinese and Mexican dishes use these for garnishing. It is a very tasty and healthy option for your salads too.

spring onion

How to Incorporate Onions During Pregnancy?

Now, are you wondering how you can incorporate this versatile vegetable into your pregnancy diet? One can consume onion during pregnancy in the following ways:

  • Chop them up and add them fresh to your salads for a nice crunch and strong flavor.
  • Caramelize onions and add them to toasts and salads.
  • Saute onions to use in curries and as toppings in any dish.
  • Fresh raw onions can be included in your fresh vegetable salad.
  • Grind onion into a paste for a more creamy texture to your gravies.
  • Fresh onions in sandwiches with a variety of spreads can add a nice crunch.
  • Spring onions are a great garnish for almost any dish. You can add the greens to your rice too and add some extra flavor and crunch to otherwise mushy rice.
  • Garnish any of your starters that are packed with flavor and sauce.
  • Shallots cooked with your south Indian dishes can be very tasty and healthy.
  • Pickled onions are a great addition to sandwiches.

salad
The Verdict:
So, can your diet include onions during pregnancy? The answer is a big yes!

The key here is to ensure you don’t overindulge in this vegetable or any other food item for that matter. Yes, you may crave their smell or crunchy texture, but over-eating onions during pregnancy can prove to be unhealthy for you too.

Include little onions in all your dishes to add an extra zest of flavor and to also keep your consumption of onion during pregnancy in check. If at all you experience diarrhea or heartburn after eating onions, do take a break or consult your doctor or dietician. They will be able to guide you and provide you with an alternate plan as well.

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