With pregnancy comes a whole host of symptoms, one of which is food cravings. While the common phrase used to describe the pregnancy diet is "eating for two", that isn't necessarily true. You need to have a healthy, nutritious diet to meet the extra nutritional needs of your growing child, without overeating.
Fruits play a large role in your pregnancy diet—they are rich in fibre as well as essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin C, and can help satisfy any pregnancy sugar cravings. Some fruits like bananas even have natural laxative properties that can prevent constipation. In this article, we cover some of the best fruits for you to eat during pregnancy, how much to eat, and which fruits you should avoid.
This ever-popular fruit is a good way to build your child's immunity and strength and helps reduce the risk of wheezing, asthma and eczema in your child as he grows. They are also rich in vitamins A, E and D, as well as zinc.
Bananas are by far one of the best fruits to eat during pregnancy because they are a great source of essential nutrients like folate, vitamin C, B6, potassium and magnesium. Folate is an important nutrient during pregnancy and helps prevent anaemia in for the pregnant mum. Vitamin B6 helps balance your sodium levels. Magnesium ensures a healthy fluid balance in your body, which can reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Oranges are rich in folate, vitamin C, and water, and it also aids in the absorption of iron. Just like bananas, the folate found in oranges can be a significant help in preventing spina bifida—where the spine and spinal cord don't form properly—and anencephaly.
These fruits are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. In fact, just 1 cup of chopped mangoes will fulfil 100% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and over 30% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
These rich, creamy fruits are a great source of vitamins B, C, E, and K, monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, choline and copper during pregnancy. The healthy fats found in avocado prevent neural tube defects and boost the development of your child's skin and brain tissues. Choline is crucial for your child's brain and nerve development; in fact, a lack of choline can lead to them having memory issues later on.
Guavas are rich in a huge variety of vitamins and nutrients—including vitamin C and vitamin E, polyphenols, carotenoids, isoflavonoids and folate—which is ideal for you to eat during pregnancy. Guavas also help with digestion and can strengthen your child's nervous system.
Watermelons are a source of vitamin A, C, and B6, along with magnesium and potassium. They're also rich in fibre, which aids in bowel movements and reduces constipation. Eating watermelon during the last trimester of your pregnancy can be a way to relieve muscle cramps, heartburn, and swelling in hands and feet (oedema).
Grapes provide you with a good amount of vitamin C and vitamin K, folate, fibre, organic acids, pectin and immune-boosting antioxidants that can help prevent infections.
Pomegranates are high calcium, folate, iron, protein and vitamin C. Because they are so iron-dense, pomegranates are a good way to prevent anaemia. Also, some research has shown that drinking pomegranate juice is a way to decrease the risk of injury to the placenta during pregnancy.
Eating apricots is a great way to get vitamins A, C, and E, as well as calcium, iron, potassium, beta carotene, phosphorous and silicon—all of which play a part in the growth and development of your child.
During pregnancy, you should consume 2 to 4 servings of fruit every day to maintain a healthy diet for both you and your child. While fresh fruit is the best, canned fruit, fruit juice and dried fruit are suitable as well. If you don't like eating fruits on their own, you can mix them into a salad, yoghurt and even your cereal, use them as a topping for pancakes, or just blend them into a smoothie. If you're craving sugar, try snacking on dried fruit like raisins and mangoes instead of junk food. And if you are likely to forget to eat fruits during your pregnancy, try keeping a bowl of them in sight as a useful reminder.
While most fruits are beneficial to you during pregnancy, there are some that you should either eat in limited amounts, or avoid altogether. For example, even though eating grapes is a way to boost the levels of antioxidants in your body, black grapes can be a way produce body heat, so you may want to stay away from them during the first month of your pregnancy as it may be harmful for you during pregnancy.
Papayas can be useful as a laxative, but unripe and semi-ripe papayas contain latex, which can lead to uterine contractions and early labour.
Dates act as a stimulant for the muscles of the uterus and generate body heat.
Pineapples contain bromelain which can cause uterine contractions and lead to early labour.
Be sure to check with your doctor before consuming any of these fruits during pregnancy. They will be able to assess your overall health, and give you an accurate recommendation of what to consume, and how much.