Subscribe for daily wellness inspiration

Like onlymyhealth on Facebook!

Health dangers of betel nut

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 31, 2015
Quick Bites

  • Betel nut is considered unsafe for health by the WHO.
  • Several countries, including US, have banned usage and import of betel nuts.
  • It has been widely associated with increased cancer risk.
  • Doctors call for immediate withdrawal from chewing betel nuts.

Betel nut holds a key position in several Asian cultures where it is consumed dried, fresh or wrapped in a 'Paan' almost every day by a large number of people. Although the exact preparation varies across Asia and even within each country, paan usually contains slaked lime, betel leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and tobacco.  While betel holds a key place in these regions, it is also a root cause of worry for several researchers.


betel nut


The International Agency for Research on Cancer has associated almost all of the ingredients of paan, except cardamom and cinnamon, as cancer-causing agents with betel nut being at the top of the list. The World Health Organization has even classified betel nut as a carcinogen. While you may have enjoyed chewing betel nuts, it's time you start looking at the damage it is capable of doing to your health. Here are some of the most commonly known health risks of betel nut.



Many studies have shown convincing links between betel nut consumption and increased risk of cancer of the mouth and esophagus. Betel nut users are also at a higher risk for oral submucuous fibrosis. This incurable condition can cause stiffness in the mouth and eventually the loss of jaw movement.


heart problems


Heart problems

Studies have found a strong connection between betel nut consumption and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome and obesity.


Tooth problems

Regular chewing of betel nut can cause gum irritation and tooth decay. Teeth may become permanently stained in deep red or even black.


chemical reactions


Chemical reactions

Betel nut may cause toxic reactions in the body when it interacts with other drugs or herbal supplements. It can also reduce the effectiveness of medications.


Other side-effects

Regular use of betel nut may also lead to dependency or withdrawal symptoms when one stops eating it. Doctors do not consider betel nut safe for chewing or eating.


Image Source: Getty

Read more articles on Diet Basics

Write a Review
Is it Helpful Article?YES4 Votes 1288 Views 1 Comment
Post a Comment

Though all possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; Onlymyhealth assumes no liability for the same. Using any information of this website is at the viewers’ risk. Please be informed that we are not responsible for advice/tips given by any third party in form of comments on article pages . If you have or suspect having any medical condition, kindly contact your professional health care provider.

  • Krishna04 Aug 2015

    I'm sure half of the people who chew betel nuts don't know that it can cause mouth cancer.

  • All
  • Article
  • Slideshow
  • Video
  • QnA