Are spicy foods safe during pregnancy?
Food cravings are very common during pregnancy and spicy food is often at the top of that list. If you are pregnant and wondering “can I eat spicy food while pregnant?”, then read on!
To answer the question, eating spicy food while pregnant does not have any negative impact on your unborn baby. But, hold on. Before you rejoice and add that extra dash of spice to a dish, you should know the effect that spices can have on your vulnerable system.
Here is how your body might react to spicy food during pregnancy:
- Heartburn: The heat generated by that chilli sauce that you love may initiate or aggravate heartburn or an inflammation-like feeling in your chest area. Since heartburn is a common condition during pregnancy, its best to avoid the chillies that can exacerbate the discomfort.
- Stomach pain and diarrhoea: You might set yourself up for stomach pain caused by gas and indigestion, if you have spicy food during pregnancy. Too much spice may also cause diarrhoea, which needs to be controlled immediately if you are pregnant. If you already have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), your gastrointestinal tract will not be very accepting of spices. In such cases, its best to steer clear of spicy food.
- Morning sickness: The infamous nausea that you experience in the first trimester could get worse with spicy food. Certain tastes and smells can trigger extreme nausea and cause you to vomit even on an empty stomach. Thus eating spicy food during the first trimester of pregnancy may not be ideal, especially if you are suffering from a bad bout of morning sickness.
Moderating the intake of spicy food during pregnancy
For those of you who love to eat your meals with that extra kick of spice, there is no reason to give it up completely if your body permits. Remember that too much of anything can be harmful, hence moderation is the key thing here.
Here are some balancing acts that can help.
- If certain spices are causing discomfort, try using alternatives. For example, if whole red and green chillies are intolerable, trying using black pepper instead. This will give you a dash of spice and yet not make you feel sick.
- If you’ve had something very spicy during one meal, try to make the rest of your meals light for the day.
- Instead of ordering that spicy paneer dish from your favourite restaurant, make it at home. This way, you can keep a close watch on the amount of spice you add to the food and don’t feel uncomfortable.
In a nutshell
Here’s the tricky part about pregnancy – your body does not always accept your choices, even if they are scientifically safe and logically rational. The same applies for hot and spicy dishes that tempt you with their exciting flavours, but may not be ultimately right for your gut. So, if you feel fine after consuming spicy or hot dishes, then you can continue consuming them in moderation alongside a balanced diet. However, if you’ve noticed a pattern where your body reacts differently every time you have something spicy, you may have to reduce its intake or even cut it down completely for a few days and reintroduce it later.