Who knew that Kola nut – a fruit of the evergreen Kola trees found in the remote rain forests of Africa and used for its medicinal properties for centuries along with coffee berries and tea leaves would one day become an intrinsic part of the popular culture in the form of a soft drink! The Kola nut has a sweet rose-like aroma and a bitter taste that turns sweet upon chewing. While chewing Kola nuts or taking its supplements may have certain health benefits, there are side effects that you want to steer clear of as an expecting mom.
Kola nuts contain upto 2-4% caffeine, 3% theobromine apart from tannins, alkaloids, saponins and flavonoids. This enables them to assist in digestion, improve metabolism, boost energy levels, improve blood circulation and fight bacteria. They are also used to treat people who suffer from migraines and to ease symptoms of asthma. It is used to sweeten breath and it put the Kola tree on the map for being used as a flavouring ingredient in aerated beverages. The caffeine and theobromine act as stimulants. That’s why it is not advisable for an expecting mother to consume Kola nuts in excess. Studies show that intake of more than 300mg of caffeine a day during pregnancy can result in inhibited growth of the foetus, low birth weight, preterm birth or stillbirth.
While consuming kola nuts in food amounts may be okay, consuming supplements or other products containing excess Kola nuts may trigger allergic reactions, raise blood pressure levels, lead to insomnia, anxiety and nausea in a pregnant woman. It is best to consult your doctor about safe amounts of caffeine intake during pregnancy.