Is It Safe To Eat Litchi During Pregnancy?

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Litchi is a tropical fruit with a fleshy pulp and distinctive flavor and fragrance. In addition, it has a pleasantly sweet taste that may make several pregnant women crave litchi during pregnancy.

However, litchi is rich in sugar, which can add extra calories to your total calorie intake. Moreover, it can cause glucose spikes if consumed in excess. Hence, knowing how much litchi one should eat during pregnancy is vital to reap its benefits fully.

Read on as we tell you all you need to know about consuming litchi when pregnant, including its possible health benefits and side effects.

Is It Safe To Eat Litchi During Pregnancy?

It is safe to eat litchi in moderation during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

It is safe to eat litchi in moderation. The fruit contains vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants, which can add to your daily intake of these nutrients during pregnancy.

But consult your doctor before adding them to your diet because having them in excess can affect your pregnancy.

Benefits Of Eating Litchi During Pregnancy

Litchis are rich in fiber and ease digestion during pregnancy

Image: iStock

By including litchis in your diet, you can meet your daily recommended values of essential nutrients.

1. Vitamin C

Litchis contain high levels of vitamin C, which helps improve the immune system (1).

2. Potassium

Potassium is helpful in regulating fluid levels in the body system, therefore, controling heartbeat and blood pressure (2).

3. Fiber

Litchis are rich in dietary fiber, which eases digestion, prevents constipation and improves bowel movements (2).

4. Antioxidants

The fruit contains good amount of antioxidants, which play a crucial role in fighting free radicals and preventing oxidative damage (2).

Did you know?
Litchi has more antioxidants than some common fruits, such as melon and avocados, which many pregnant women consume during pregnancy (9).

5. Polyphenols

Litchis contain a significant amount of phenolic compounds, which help in managing weight and treating liver damage (2). They also work against type 2 diabetes.

Keep reading to know about the nutrition value of litchis in detail.

Nutritional Value Of Litchi

According to the USDA, the nutrition present in 100g of raw litchi fruit is as follows (3):

NutrientAmount
Water81.76g
Calories66kcal
Carbohydrates16.53g
Protein0.83g
Fiber1.3g
Fat0.44g
Sugars15.23g
Vitamins
Vitamin C71.5mg
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)0.011mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.065mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)0.603mg
Folate (Vitamin B9)14mcg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.07mg
Electrolytes
Potassium171mg
Sodium1mg
Minerals
Calcium5mg
Iron0.31mg
Magnesium10mg
Zinc0.07mg
Phosphorus31mg

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms; IU=international unit

Although nutritious, litchis can be bad for you when taken in excess amounts.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Litchi In Pregnancy?

Eating litchis in excess may cause a sore throat and mouth ulcers

Image: Shutterstock

Be mindful of the quantity of litchis in your diet, for over-consumption of the fruit can cause the following complications.

  • Generates internal heat, which is bad for you and your baby (4). It is known to cause an imbalance in the body, giving rise to some conditions such as a sore throat, bleeding nose, mouth ulcers and more.
  • The excess sugar in the fruit will cause a sudden surge in blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of gestational diabetes and worsening the condition if you already have it. Studies also suggest that litchis can work at dropping the blood sugar levels when taken in the right quantities (5).
  • Overeating litchis can lower your blood pressure to dangerous levels, causing conditions such as blurred vision, dizziness, cold, nausea, shallow breathing and extreme tiredness.
  • Litchi can increase the risk of bleeding when they interact with drugs such as aspirin, anticoagulants (heparin or warfarin), antiplatelet medications (clopidogrel) and NSAIDs (naproxen or ibuprofen).
  • Litchi can also cause hemorrhage when taken with herbs and supplements such as Ginkgo Biloba, garlic or saw palmetto (6).

These risks can be mitigated by carefully selecting quality litchis and storing them the right way.

How To Choose And Store Litchis?

Do not choose litchis that are soft and have black spots

Image: iStock

The best litchis are those that are firm, reasonably hard, feel heavy and have a pinkish-brown dry shell. Do not choose the ones which are soft to hold, have black or cracked spots.

Litchis do not have an extended shelf life and need to be refrigerated for later use. Put them in a plastic bag and refrigerate to keep them fresh for a couple of weeks at most. The best way to benefit from litchis is to consume them fresh, without refrigerating them for long.

Quick tip
Fresh litchis have a floral scent. If they have any odd odor, don’t buy them. Also, don’t store them in an airtight container, which can trap moisture and cause mold development.

How To Consume Litchis?

Make fresh juices or mocktails with litchi

Image: Shutterstock

Here is how you can enjoy this flavorful fruit.

  • Eat it whole by removing the skin and the seed.
  • Add to a pudding or make smoothies.
  • Add them to salad, cereal or yogurt.
  • Make fresh juices or mocktails in combination with other fruits.
  • Make a spread or topping along with other fruits.
  • Add them to desserts or serve on a cheese platter.
Quick tip
Chicken and litchi curry and ravioli with litchi butter sauce are delectable, savory dishes you can include in your pregnancy diet.

Keep reading for more about eating litchis when you are pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I drink litchi juice while pregnant?

Yes, you can drink litchi juice during pregnancy. But choose fresh litchi juice over canned ones to avoid excess sugars.

2. Can eating litchi increase the risk of gestational diabetes?

Over-consumption of litchi can increase the risk of gestational diabetes as this fruit falls under high glycemic index (GI) foods. High GI foods break down quickly after intake, raising the blood sugar levels (7).

3. What happens if you eat a litchi seed during pregnancy?

Litchi seeds are not known to have any effects on pregnancy, so eating them may not be harmful in any way. In fact, it could be beneficial since the extract from the seeds is known to possess antiviral and antioxidant properties (8).

Consuming litchi during pregnancy is considered safe for women as they are a rich source of iron and several essential vitamins. However, too much of anything is not good. So it is advised that you should have it in moderation to enjoy all its benefits. There are various ways to include litchi in your diet–eat it raw, make a smoothie, or add it to other desserts with fruits. Consult your doctor immediately if you sense any signs of allergy or irritation after consuming litchi.

Infographic: Pros And Cons Of Eating Litchi While Pregnant

Loaded with vitamin C, Litchi is a delicious pulpy tropical fruit and a perfect combination for the summer season. You can even enjoy this wonderful fruit when you’re pregnant. However, be careful and do not overeat. We bring you the infographic below to learn the health benefits and risks of eating litchi during pregnancy.

possible benefits and risks of litchi during pregnancy [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Tropical Fruits.
    https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1990/V1-337.html
  2. What are the health benefits of Lychee (Litchi) fruit?
    https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_are_the_health_benefits_of_Lychee_Litchi_fruit
  3. Litchis, raw.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169086/nutrients
  4. Yang Zhou et al.; (2012); Effects of Litchi chinensis fruit isolates on prostaglandin E2 and nitric oxide production in J774 murine macrophage cells.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307436/
  5. E. K. Kilari et al.; (2015); Effect of aqueous pericarp extract of Litchi chinensis on hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activities in normal and in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.
    https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effect-of-aqueous-pericarp-extract-of-Litchi-on-and-Kilari-Koratana/a38a0f469b057ec07661cc7f62c2083c942b8226#paper-header
  6. Eswar Kumar Kilari and Swathi Putta; (2016); Biological and Phytopharmacological Descriptions of Litchi Chinensis.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791990/
  7. Wu-Qing Huang et al.; (2017); Excessive fruit consumption during the second trimester is associated with increased likelihood of gestational diabetes mellitus: a prospective study.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5341573/
  8. H. Wang et al.; (2008); Antiviral effect in vitro of extract from seed of Litchi chinensis Sonn and preliminary study on its antiviral mode.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287068568_Antiviral_effect_in_vitro_of_extract_from_seed_of_Litchi_chinensis_Sonn_and_preliminary_study_on_its_antiviral_mode
  9. Pierre Brat et al.; (2009); Daily polyphenol intake in France from fruit and vegetables.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16920856/
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