Pregnant ladies have to think twice or thrice before they decide to eat any food item. After all, they have to think about the growing embryo inside, which needs to be nurtured carefully. While most of the food are safe to consume, there are some that might cause complications for the child inside. You might have heard people tell you not to consume papaya during pregnancy as it can generate heat, which might not suit the growing embryo. Similarly, one such controversial food is Maca, which has a lot of health potential, but women are wary of consuming it during pregnancy. Is it a safe food to have, or not, while pregnant, is a question that will be tackled in this article:
What is Maca?
Maca is a plant, which was used by the Incan civilization for promoting fertility. The plant is native to Peru, in South America. The plant was so prized that only the wealthy could afford it. It was used for treating tuberculosis, fatigue, anaemia, etc. Maca is available in a capsulated form, as herbal supplement, as well. It contains the precooked sun-dried maca powder, which can be easily had, with water.
Health Benefits of Maca
Some of the major health benefits of Maca include:
1. It helps deal with stress and depression
Pregnant women sometimes undergo stress. The extract from Maca root, can help in improving some of the symptoms, which are associated with anxieties and depression. It can improve the mental functioning. Maca has a positive effect on the learning, and is also an anti-depressant, so the pregnant ladies have a lot to benefit from this.
2. It gives you the necessary minerals
Maca has some of the important minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, amino acids, polypeptides, etc. All of these minerals are really essential for proper body functioning.
Now that we have gone through the health benefits of the wonder root extract, let’s check out some of the risk factors associated to the root.
As per the scientific studies, no severe side effects have been found for the Maca root extract. But, as there has not been much research done, the root should be avoided by the pregnant ladies, unless they have consulted with their doctors. Maca contains a compound called glucosinolate, which can increase the risk of getting goitre, especially if your diet does not contain adequate iodine, and you are suffering from thyroid problem. So, it would be good to consult the doctor, before taking this root.
A lot of women consume maca root for increasing the fertility chances. And, people do believe that maca might have some health benefits during pregnancy. The only reason for avoiding this root, is because sufficient research has not been done in this area. And, when it comes to pregnant ladies, one has to take extra precaution.
As per some of the health-care professionals, the root is absolutely safe to consume during the entire pregnancy term.But, these health-care professionals would have formed their opinions, based on individual case studies, and it does not encompass a wider section of pregnant women, in their analysis. So, it is always better to check with your gynaecologist, before you embark on the journey of Maca consumption.
Read More: Health Benefits of Maca For Children
Cases in favour of Maca consumption during pregnancy
There are various health advocates, who are advocating the use of maca during pregnancy. As per this group, some of the points in favour of maca are given below:
· The maca extract is loaded with prenatal vitamins, which are really essential for the expectant mothers. So, these can actually be used as an alternate for the prenatal vitamins, which are subscribed in the form of over the counter drugs.
· Also, the root is useful in balancing the hormones in the pregnancy. This can be particularly beneficial during the first trimester.
Cases against Maca consumption during pregnancy
As with every drug, or food items, there are always some pros and some cons. Some of the cons, which tilt the case against Maca consumption include:
· Maca might increase the testosterone levels, in the pregnant women. This might have an adverse effect on the expectant mother.
· Maca might have other side effects, as well, such as heartburn, insomnia, increase in heart rate, skin problems related to hormones, headaches, etc.
In spite of the contrasting beliefs of the health advocates, there are some features that have a general consensus from both the groups. And, it’s agreed that maca does not have any toxicity levels, and there is no risk of getting over-dosed. If a person is allergic to some of the roots, or food items, it is better for her to avoid it during pregnancy. And, whatever be the case, it is always good to consult the doctor, before consuming this controversial root.