What are the health benefits of palm wine during pregnancy? Palm wine is a fun beverage that comes loaded with many health benefits.
It’s the main brand of traditional wine in some countries including Nigeria, Ghana and many other African countries and around the world.
As earlier said, palm wine has many beneficial features being often used not just as a drink but for many different purposes. But is there any benefit of palm wine during pregnancy?
What Are The Health Benefits Of Palm Wine During Pregnancy?
The question over palm wine’s health benefits is vital for pregnant women. After all women in pregnancy need to take care of their health and wellbeing more than they did before.
That it’s no surprise then that women in Nigeria and all over the world are asking: what are health benefits of palm wine during pregnancy? Does palm wine affect pregnancy?
These are great questions because the advice on palm wine during pregnancy is confusing. But on the other hand, women in Nigeria are often told that it is OK, even encouraged, to drink palm wine during pregnancy.
Not only that palm wine offers a variety of benefits, ranging from potassium, iron and 3 different vitamins , it’s also believed to be good for the eyesight, breast milk production and treats conjunctivitis.
The benefits of palm wine are numerous so if you’re a fan of palm wine, good news!
One Nigerian woman said: “my sibs and I were born in West Africa and my mom was told to drink palm wine…every day from the 2nd trimester to have energy”.
Now, it may be the case that palm wine provides “energy and numerous other health benefits”. But there’s a problem. The problem is that palm wine is ALCOHOLIC.
According to the US Surgeon General, women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not drink alcoholic beverages.
Some pregnant women however choose not to take this advice and are happy to drink alcohol in moderation. Actually, drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a highly personal decision.
The problem with palm wine though is that women can never make an informed decision. The reason for this is that it’s very difficult to know how much alcohol is in palm wine. Can you?
Most palm wine is mostly sold informally, brewed at home or locally. Therefore there’s no indication of the alcohol content on the palm wine via a manufacturer’s label or specification.
The alcohol content of palm wine varies depending on the origin of the sap as well as the stage of fermentation and distillation.
There are different palm wine varieties in each region of Nigeria – Emu, Oguro, Tombo Liquor, Nkwu Enu, Nkwu Ocha and Mmin Efik being popular varieties and names.
Also, before palm wine has fermented, it will be non-alcoholic but over the course of fermentation, the alcohol levels will likely grow up.
Once distilled, the palm wine will have greater alcohol content.
Unless you meet with the palm wine tapper and tell him you wish they would not FERMENT the palm oil so you will get a perfectly safe to drink palm wine.
Remember not drink any kind of palm wine.
However, let’s be clear, the safest option for pregnant women is to stay clear of palm wine during their pregnancy. This is particularly so if the palm wine is sold informally or made at home.
According to research, pregnant women are advised not to drink fermented palm wine at all. It can cause miscarriages, still births and some abnormalities in babies because of its high alcoholic content.
Alcohol is capable of crossing the placenta into the fetus causing fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
This alone can lead to mental retardation and make a child to have a low intelligence quotient (IQ) and hence will be dull in school or any other activity that requires some level of IQ.
Finally, one should (especially pregnant women) be careful with the source of the palm wine. In villages and places with abundance of palm trees, it is very easy to get fresh palm wine.
However, when sources are scarce, palm wine sellers are known to dilute fresh palm wine with water and add artificial sweeteners like saccharine to make it sweet.
The resulting wine is lighter than the normal palm wine and can be spotted easily, but some vendors also add cassava starch to the palm wine to make it appear whiter.
Drinking adulterated palm wine can cause, has been reported to cause diarrhea, stomach upset and other water borne diseases if unclean water was used to dilute the palm wine.
Meanwhile, the artificial sweetener and sugars used can increase the risk of having type-2 diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Therefore stay clear as a pregnant mom!!!
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