Everyone loves those delicious and juicy red fruits. Their tantalizingiXEnticing or tempting and tangy taste makes them irresistible, and they are especially tempting when you experience cravings during pregnancy.
If you want to consume cherries during pregnancy but are unsure about their safety, read on as we tell you the benefits and side effects of consuming cherries during pregnancy. We also give you some easy-to-make cherry recipes that you could try at home.
Is It Safe To Eat Cherries During Pregnancy?
Yes. Cherries are safe to eat unless you are allergic to them. They are a rich source of nutrients and pack a healthy punch. The pit is the only part that should not be eaten. Also, do not overeat them, as they can create gas and cause bloating. Eating cherries moderately is absolutely fine and is good for your body.
Dr. Abrar Al-Shaer, a US-based registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in functional and integrative medicine for women’s health, says, “Acerola berries are safe to consume as a food in pregnancy, just like you would eat blueberries or raspberries. Acerola berries are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps with the development of baby’s bones and teeth! However, you should not use it in the form of supplements in pregnancy because acerola berry supplements are too concentrated, so the amount of vitamin C can be too high.”
Health Benefits Of Cherries During Pregnancy
The delicious red fruit can boost your health during pregnancy as cherries are a storehouse of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, iron, calcium and others. Therefore, cherries can be a healthy snack option for pregnant women. Here are a few more ways cherries can benefit you (1):
1. Boost the immune levels:
Cherries contain healthy levels of vitamin C, which have antioxidant properties. They play a vital role in removing the free radicals, which can cause various infections and diseases. Moreover, the immunity levels remain low during pregnancy. Cherries contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant made by plants to fight infections and boost your immunity levels.
2. Promote newborn’s brain health:
AnthocyaninsiXNaturally occurring pigments in fruits and vegetables that benefit human health found in cherries protect neural cells and promote brain health of the fetus (2). A new variety, Balaton cherries can help you in preventing pregnancy forgetfulness.
3. Relieve swelling and inflammation:
Anthocyanin, the red pigment in cherries, is known to be very effective in reducing the inflammation, swelling and joint pains that you usually experience when you are pregnant.
4. Prevent gestational diabetes:
Cherries help in keeping the blood sugar levels under control and thereby may assist in preventing gestational diabetes (3).
5. Alleviate fatigue:
Loaded with excess water content, cherries, on regular consumption, give an energy boost, and help keep fatigue away.
6. Control blood pressure levels:
The potassium content in cherries works towards preventing water retention and blood pressure control in the body. It, thereby, prevents the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
7. Promote better sleep:
The antioxidant called melatonin, which is present in cherries, is an ideal sleep inducer. You can have a disturbed sleep during pregnancy due to various discomforts in the body. Drink a glass of cherry juice every day to overcome sleep disturbances. Tart cherries contain more antioxidants than sweet cherries do.
8. Strengthen blood vessels:
Vitamin C present in the cherry fruit strengthens the blood vessels, helping them to pump enough blood to the fetus (4).
9. Helps regulate the sleep – wake cycle:
Cherries are known to contain melatonin that is helpful in maintaining the sleep-wake cycle. It may increase sleep time and overall sleep efficiency (5).
10. Treats constipation:
Cherries contain high fiber content. They normalize the bowel movements and help you get rid of constipation, one of the most common problems during pregnancy.
11. Low-calorie fruit:
If you are careful about weight gain during pregnancy, cherries are the best fruits to consume as they are extremely low in calories.
12. Relieve muscle pains:
Cherries are anti-inflammatory in nature and therefore offer effective relief from muscular pains and issues you may experience during pregnancy (6).
13. Cures migraine headaches:
Doctors believe that estrogeniXA hormone crucial for the development of female sexual characteristics and reproductive health hormone fluctuations, and preeclampsia conditions during pregnancy cause migraine headaches. Cherries contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, which help in mitigating migraine headaches (7).
Aren’t these benefits more than enough to include cherry fruit in your pregnancy diet? But do they cause any adverse reactions as well? You may know below.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Cherries During Pregnancy?
- A few pregnant women suffer from bloating, gas, and abdominal pain after eating cherries.
- Eating cherries can trigger allergic reactions in some women.
If you feel any significant discomfort after consuming cherries, please seek your doctor’s advice immediately.
Words Of Caution
- The leaves, bark and fruit pits of the cherry plant contain hydrocyanic acid, a poisonous chemical. Therefore, eat pitted cherries only (8).
- If you have gestational diabetesiXA temporary state of elevated blood sugar levels occurring during pregnancy , do not eat cherries.
- Wash them before you eat to remove bacteria and infections.
- Consult your doctor before you add cherries to your everyday diet.
A Few Recipes
Here are some interesting cherry recipes you can make at home and enjoy the delicious treat.
1. Cherry Clafoutis:
This is a classic French dessert, a combination of flan and pancake. It is traditionally made without pitting the cherries so that the pits give some almond flavor to this dessert. But, unpitted cherries during pregnancy is a big no-no. So here’s the recipe with pitted cherries.
You will need:
- Fresh sweet cherries – 3 cups, pitted
- Milk – 1 1/4 cups
- Sugar – 2/3 cup
- Eggs – 3
- Vanilla extract – 1tbsp
- Salt – 1/6tsp
- All-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
- Powdered sugar for topping
How to prepare:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, salt and flour, and blend all of them.
- Butter an eight-cup baking pan, and add a layer of about one-fourth inch blended liquid in the bottom. Keep aside the remaining batter.
- Microwave it for about seven to ten minutes. You will see a thin film of batter on the top even though the mixture is not cooked. Remove it from the oven and do not turn off the oven.
- Arrange the pitted cherries on the set batter, sprinkle some sugar and add the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
- Place it in the preheated oven and leave for 45 to 60 minutes until the cherry clafouti turns brown and puffed.
- Sprinkle the remaining sugar powder and eat the dish warm.
2. Cherry Heaven:
The delicious dessert can be whipped up in no time.
You will need:
- Ripe cherries – 12 to 14
- Blueberries – ½ cup
- Greek yogurt (preferably low-fat) – ½ cup
How to prepare:
- Add the cherries and blueberries into a blender and churn to form a smooth paste.
- Now add the yogurt and blend once again.
- Refrigerate until required and eat cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I have dried cherries during pregnancy?
Dried cherries are safe to consume while pregnant. But if you are allergic to sulfites, then you should be careful because sulfites are generally used as preservatives in dried fruits. Therefore, check the label.
2. Can I eat maraschino cherries when pregnant?
Maraschino cherries are sweetened, preserved fruits made of light colored varieties like Gold, Royal Ann, and Rainier cherries. You can eat them but in moderation.
3. Is it normal to crave cherries during pregnancy?
“It’s normal to crave cherries or other foods during pregnancy. Often, cravings are your body’s way of guiding you to eat the nutrients your body needs. If you find yourself craving cherries a lot, see whether you’re properly hydrated and actually eating enough food throughout your day. Cherries are a carbohydrate source, so the craving may be a sign that you haven’t had carbs in a while, and it’s time for a balanced carbohydrate and protein nutritious snack combo,” opines Dr. Al-Shaer.
How many cherries can a pregnant woman eat per day?
A pregnant woman can eat 15 cherries per day (10).
Can cherries help alleviate morning sickness during pregnancy?
Cherries are a nutritious fruit that can provide a range of health benefits, but there is limited scientific evidence to suggest that they can help alleviate morning sickness during pregnancy.
Can cherries cause any harm to the unborn baby?
In general, cherries are safe to eat during pregnancy. They are unlikely to cause harm to the unborn baby when consumed in moderation.
Cherries during pregnancy may help boost immunity, support fetal brain development, and prevent constipation, fatigue, and sleep problems. They help relieve migraine headaches and cough, cold, and asthma symptoms. Cherries are antioxidant-rich fruits that are tasty and easy to eat. They should be consumed in moderation and better avoided if you have gestational diabetes. Avoid dried cherries if you are allergic to sulfites. Make sure you consume the pitted fruits only. However, check with your doctor if you have gastrointestinal issues after consuming cherries.
Infographic: Easy Cherry Recipes To Try
Now that you know cherries can help cope with difficult pregnancy symptoms and aid your baby’s development, we have brought you a few more recipes to add to your diet. Enjoy the goodness of the fruit without getting bored with the delicious ways to cook it.
- Cherries are healthy during pregnancy when consumed in moderation.
- They include antioxidants that protect the body from cellular damage and lessen inflammation.
- Cherry consumption during pregnancy helps in reducing gestational diabetes, managing blood pressure, and promoting quality sleep.
- Overindulgence in cherries may result in bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.
- Benefits of cherries during pregnancy.
- Cherry on top: summer fruits are also good for the brain.
- Eat these fruits for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
- James M. May and Fiona E. Harrison et al.; (2013); Role of Vitamin C in the Function of the Vascular Endothelium.
- Can Cherries Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep?
- Kerry S Kuehl et al; Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial.
- Marta Goschorska et al.; (2020); The Use of Antioxidants in the Treatment of Migraine.
- Prussic Acid Poisoning Could be a Problem in Late Summer and Early Fall.
- Allergy information for: Cherry (Prunus avium ).
- Healthy Eating During Pregnancy