A nutritious diet plays an essential role in a person's overall health, helping the body to function effectively and reducing the risk of some diseases.
Most people are aware that a healthful diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats. However, they may not realize that specific fruits are particularly beneficial during pregnancy.
In this article, we explain why it is important to eat fruit during pregnancy. We also cover which fruits are best to eat during this time, and which types of fruit pregnant women may wish to avoid.
The best fruits to eat during pregnancy
Snacking on fruit can be a great way to boost vitamin intake in addition to curbing sugar cravings.
- vitamins A, C, and E
- beta carotene
All of these nutrients help with the baby's development and growth. Iron can prevent anemia and calcium helps bones and teeth grow strong.
Oranges are an excellent source of:
- vitamin C
Oranges are great for keeping a person hydrated and healthy. Vitamin C can help prevent cell damage and assist with iron absorption.
Folate can help prevent neural tube defects, which can cause brain and spinal cord abnormalities in a baby. Neural tube defects can cause conditions such as spina bifida, where the spinal cord does not develop properly, and anencephaly, in which a large part of the brain and skull is missing.
Pomegranates can provide pregnant women with plenty of:
- vitamin K
Nutrient-dense pomegranates are also a good source of energy, and their high iron content helps prevent iron-deficiency.
Vitamin K is also essential for maintaining healthy bones.
Research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may help to decrease the risk of injury to the placenta.
Avocados are an excellent source of:
- vitamins C, E, and K
- monounsaturated fatty acids
- B vitamins
Avocados contain healthful fats that provide energy and help to prevent neural tube defects. They also boost the cells responsible for building the skin and brain tissues of the developing baby.
The potassium in avocados can provide relief from leg cramps, another symptom that is common during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester.
Eating plenty of grapes can boost people's intake of:
- vitamins C and K
- organic acids
The nutrients in grapes can help to aid the biological changes that occur during pregnancy.
They contain immune-boosting antioxidants, such as flavonol, tannin, linalool, anthocyanins, and geraniol, which also help prevent infections.
Berries are a good source of:
- vitamin C
- healthy carbohydrates
Berries also contain lots of water, so they are an excellent source of hydration. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption and boosts the body's immune system.
Are there any fruits should avoid during pregnancy?
There is no particular fruit that pregnant women should avoid. However, it is essential for women to be aware of portion size. Some fruits have a high sugar content, and certain forms of fruit, such as juices and dried fruits, are often significantly higher in sugar and calories than their fresh counterparts.
Buying organic fruit will ensure that it has not come into contact with fertilizers and pesticides that could damage its quality. However, if organic fruit is not an option, non-organic fruit is still better than eliminating fruit from the diet altogether.
It is important to remove any pesticides and bacteria that might be present on fruit by washing it thoroughly before eating it. People should take other safety precautions by:
- removing areas of bruised fruit, which are more likely to contain bacteria
- storing fruit in a separate area of the fridge to any raw meat products
- avoiding precut melons
- only drinking pasteurized or boiled fruit juice