Vinegar While Pregnant

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

You may not think of vinegar as a health food, but this fermented liquid is a calorie- and sodium-free flavor enhancer that's rich in antioxidants. And when you're pregnant you want to fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods, like vinegar, that offer health benefits. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about how vinegar might affect your pregnancy.

Up Your Antioxidants

Vinegar is more than a simple condiment you add to your mixed greens. The tart liquid is a rich source of antioxidants, which protect your cells against damage from free radicals.. Raising your intake of antioxidant-rich food may help protect you and your baby from oxidative stress, which may help improve the health and outcome of your pregnancy, according to a 2000 article by Carol Jenkins and others published in Antioxidants and Redox Signaling..

Flavor Without Sodium

While there are medical exceptions for the need to restrict your sodium intake, in general, it is recommended that pregnant women consume the same amount of sodium as recommended to everyone, which is 2,300 milligrams a day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, most Americans already consume more sodium than they need, and finding ways to flavor food without the salt using a variety of different flavored vinegars is a healthy way to go..

When to Limit

Heartburn is common during pregnancy, and you may experience symptoms during your second and third trimesters. While everyone is different, eating certain foods, including highly-acidic foods such as vinegar, may exacerbate your symptoms. If the burning and discomfort worsen after consuming vinegar, you may want to limit your intake or avoid it altogether.

Apple cider vinegar is promoted as a cure-all and many people drink it on a daily basis. However, there are concerns that the acid from the daily consumption may erode tooth enamel. Poor oral health can affect your baby's health and has led to preterm labor.

Serving Tips and Suggestions

Vinegar comes in a variety of flavors, making it a versatile ingredient to include in your pregnancy diet. The sweet and strong taste of balsamic vinegar makes a delicious addition to any green or fruit salad -- though its sugar content makes it higher in calories than other vinegars. The mild flavor of rice vinegar lends a sweet yet sour taste to any stir fry or soup. You can also use apple cider vinegar to make your own salad dressing. Any vinegar makes a good meat tenderizer and marinade.

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