If you crave kiwifruit during pregnancy, learning about its safety is essential before including this “nutritional powerhouse” in your diet. Kiwifruit, also known as Chinese gooseberry, is a juicy fruit loaded with vitamin C, E, folic acid, potassium, trace minerals, and fiber. It is also rich in antioxidants that can have several health-promoting effects. This sweet and unique tasting fruit is native to China and New Zealand and is available all around the year.
One can consume kiwifruit as a whole or can make its juice. You can also use it to make fruit salads or toppings on cakes. Read on as we tell you more about the safety of kiwi fruit for pregnant women, its possible health benefits, and how many kiwis you can eat during pregnancy.
Is Kiwifruit Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?
You can eat kiwi during pregnancy, as it high in vitamin C and K. It is also rich in folate that aids in the development of the brain and cognitive abilities, and has shown positive results in the development process of the fetus. Including the fruit both before and during pregnancy might help prevent neural tube defects in babies (1) (2).
Nutritional Profile Of Kiwi
The fruit has tropical flavor, has no cholesterol, and is low in sugars and fats. It contains vitamins C, K, and E, folate, potassium, dietary fiber, choline, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), one medium-sized fruit i.e., about 69g provides 42.1 calories, 0.3g fat, 10g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 64mg vitamin C, 17.2mcg folate and 27.8mcg vitamin K. Kiwi seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and the pulp contains carotenoids, including provitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (3).
The fruit is beneficial provided you have it in limited amounts.
Benefits Of Kiwi During Pregnancy
In addition to the folic acid benefits that kiwi offers, there are other benefits too. Here are a few of them:
- Helps digestion: Dietary fiber in the fruit can help soften the stool and cause smooth bowel movements. It also prevents constipation, relieves bloating, and abdominal pain (4).
- Boosts immune system and energy: Kiwi has high quantity of vitamin C that helps improve immunity and offers protection from free radicals and allergies. It also increases energy levels and alleviates fatigue (5).
- Stimulates neurotransmitters: Vitamin C in kiwi helps in the formation of neurotransmitters that are important in improving brain function (6).
- Manages blood sugar levels: Kiwi is a low glycemic index (GI) fruits and is a good choice if you have gestational diabetes. As 100g of kiwi contains just about 5g or one teaspoon of glucose, it does not lead to an increase in sugars and keeps diabetes under control (7).
- Repairs wounds and improves bone health: The vitamin K helps the blood clot normally (8). It fastens up the healing power of the body and is also essential for bone development (9).
- Prevents anemia: The developing baby requires extra iron that could increase the risk of anemia in the mother. Vitamin C facilitates better absorption of iron from iron-rich foods (10).
Kiwifruit contains some essential nutrients, which means that you can include them in your everyday menu without worry. But that doesn’t mean that you eat it excess quantities.
How Much Kiwi Is Safe To Eat When Pregnant?
You can have two kiwifruits (one serving of fruits) every day for a healthy and safe pregnancy (11). If you develop any allergic symptoms or digestive problems, you should stop eating it as it can have a negative impact on your health.
Side Effects Of Kiwi
You may develop allergic symptoms or other health issues only when you take the fruit excessively. The possible side effects could be:
- Asthma, rashes, hives and latex allergies (12)
- Sores and rashes in the mouth or tongue
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
In any of these above cases, stop eating the fruit for a few days.
Is It Safe To Eat Unripe Kiwifruit During Pregnancy?
Unripe kiwis are more acidic than the ripened ones, and if you overeat them, they may cause sores in the mouth or tongue. To avoid this problem, you may have them with custard or yogurt.
Ways To Include Kiwi In Your Pregnancy Diet
You can eat the fruit as it is as it tastes sweet and juicy. A few other ways to eat kiwi are:
- Add chopped fruit to salads, yogurt or custard
- Have it as a smoothie or mix with other fruit smoothies
- Make popsicles by freezing the pulp or juice in the popsicle molds
- Jam is also a delicious option
- Kiwi puree goes well with grilled chicken or fish
Kiwifruits are rich in vitamin C, K, folate, and fiber. They might help fetal brain development and reduce the risk of neural defects in babies. Eating kiwifruit during pregnancy adds to better digestion, boosts immunity, and controls blood sugar levels in women. In some cases, kiwifruits may give rise to allergic reactions, such as asthma, rashes, and diarrhea. Eating raw kiwifruit in excess may also give you sores in the mouth. Therefore, remember to enjoy this fruit in moderation. Add it to your pregnancy diet in salads, smoothies, or jams. If you experience any side effects, stop eating them and consult a doctor.
2. Preventing neural tube birth defects; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3. Kiwifruit, green, raw; Basic Report; USDA
4. Sun Hwan Bae; Diets for constipation; Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr (2014)
5. David P. Richardson et al.; The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: A review; Eur J Nutr (2018)
6. Matteo Briguglio et al.; Dietary neurotransmitters: A narrative review on current knowledge; Nutrients (2018)
7. Monro JA; Kiwifruit, carbohydrate availability, and the glycemic response; Adv Food Nutr Res (2013)
8. Vitamin K; Clemson University (2007)
9. Vitamin K; University of Nebraska-Lincoln
10. Lesson plan: Iron in a pregnancy diet; Pennsylvania State University
11. Healthy eating during pregnancy and breastfeeding; Family Health Service – Department of Health (2018)
12. Allergenic foods and their allergens, with links to informall; University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2014)
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Dr. Shikha Sharma(MBBS)
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