Bananas are rich in potassium, calcium, and several other essential nutrients. Research regarding the choice of fruits shows that bananas during pregnancy are a popular choice (95.4%), followed by oranges (88.8%), apples (88.3%), and other fruits (40.3%) (1). Bananas have innumerable benefits for both the mother and the fetus. Read this post to know about the safety, health benefits, nutritional value, possible side effects, and precautions one should take while consuming bananas when pregnant.
Is It Safe To Eat Bananas During Pregnancy?
Yes, a banana is rich in nutrients, which makes it safe and healthy for pregnant women (1), as long as they are consumed in moderate portions. Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins C and B, dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, and vital minerals, all of which are important for healthy baby development.
Health Benefits Of Eating Bananas During Pregnancy
Here is why you need to include bananas in your pregnancy diet plan:
1. Folic acid
During pregnancy, folic acid is essential for fetal brain and spinal cord development. Its deficiency will raise the risk of congenital disabilities and also premature delivery. Banana is a good source of folic acid and helps reduce the possibility of these problems (2).
During pregnancy, the need for blood increases for supporting the growth of the fetus, making anemia one of the common prenatal issues. Bananas are loaded with iron, and can hike your iron levels and fight pregnancy anemia (3).
3. Vitamin B6
Morning sickness or feeling nauseous is common in the first three months of pregnancy. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin that can help minimize this symptom, especially when combined with doxylamine, which is an antihistamine (4).
The dietary fiber of bananas, along with potassium, promotes digestion and eliminates toxins from the body by fighting constipation. Also, it is a rich source of pectin that helps improve the process of digestion. Having a banana after every meal is good for regular bowel movements (5).
5. Vitamin C
Bananas are rich in vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant. Antioxidants help in fighting free radical damage in the body and provide protection from cellular damage, thus helping ward off infections (6) (7).
They instantly boost your energy. The presence of simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose play a prominent role in providing energy (8).
Filled with the good kind of carbohydrates, bananas leave you feeling full and can act like a complete meal at times. It is the best food to choose whenever you feel hungry (9).
Potassium is essential in controlling blood pressure fluctuations. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and help the body lose sodium, a major cause of blood pressure (7).
9. Natural stress buster
Next, we give you a detailed account of the nutrients present in a banana.
Nutritional Value Of Bananas
According to the USDA, 100 grams of raw banana contains the following nutrients (11):
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||0.031mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.073mg|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||0.665mg|
|Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)||0.367mg|
|Folic acid (Vitamin B9)||20mcg|
|Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)||8.7mg|
|Retinol (Vitamin A)||64IU|
|Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E)||0.10mg|
|Phylloquinone (Vitamin K)||0.5mcg|
|Total saturated fatty acids||0.112g|
|Total monounsaturated fatty acids||0.032g|
|Total polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.073g|
Although bananas offer numerous benefits and nutrients, you should be mindful of how many you eat and how often you eat them during pregnancy.
How Many Bananas Can You Eat During Pregnancy?
A pregnant woman needs around 4,700mg of potassium per day to help maintain the balance of body fluids and electrolytes. Therefore, you may consume around one to two medium-sized bananas on a daily basis (12). They help you meet most of your nutritional requirements, and it is good to consult your doctor before planning to include them in your everyday diet.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Consuming Bananas During Pregnancy?
There are certain exceptions you need to be aware of bananas.
- Do not consume the fruit if you have gestational diabetes as bananas can increase the sugar levels in the body (13).
- Some people will have allergic reactions to a latex component called chitinase, which is present in bananas (14).
Take some precautions before including bananas in your diet.
What Precautions Should You Take While Eating Bananas?
- Consider organic fruit. Most banana varieties available nowadays are ripened artificially with chemicals, which may increase the risk of allergies, and respiratory problems.
- Prefer fresh and clean bananas. Avoid the ones that have been outside for many days as they tend to attract fruit flies.
- Do not eat overly ripened or distorted bananas.
Some Interesting Ways To Consume Bananas During Pregnancy
You can just eat the banana as it is when you feel like snacking between meals. You can also try the following ways to include them in your diet.
- Banana smoothie: Blend a ripe banana with some low-fat milk, brown sugar or honey to make a fresh smoothie.
- Banana cake: Mix rice powder, mashed banana and a little bit of baking soda. Add honey and any natural flavoring agent. Transfer to mold and steam for about 15 minutes for a spongy cake.
- Banana pancakes: Combine mashed bananas, wheat flour with enough honey. Spread on a pan, have it with berry fruits or organic jam.
- Banana oatmeal: Add sliced bananas and chopped nuts to the oatmeal-yogurt mix to make a healthy breakfast cereal.
- Banana walnut muffins: Mix mashed banana and walnut to muffin batter and bake the mix.
- Banana ice cream: Mix frozen bananas with sugar-free, low-fat ice cream to enjoy on a hot day.
You can also include bananas in sandwiches, fruit salads, and other fresh fruit juices.
Is Red Banana Good During Pregnancy?
Yes, red bananas are safe to consume during pregnancy as they are similar to yellow bananas in nutrition. They are abundant in carotene, vitamin C and fiber. They benefit the immune system, heart and digestion by being a good prebiotic too (15).
These facts about bananas should convince you to include a banana in your everyday diet during pregnancy. When you’re bored of the fresh fruit, try a smoothie, muffin or cake. Keep trying different options to include and enjoy the nutritious fruit every day.
If you have any interesting banana recipes, share them with us in the below comment section.
2. Healthy Eating for Pregnancy and Lactation; The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (2018)
3. Olga P. García et al.; Iron absorption in raw and cooked bananas: a field study using stable isotopes in women; Food Nutr Res (2015)
4. Vitamin B6; The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (2018)
5. Fiber: Bulk of Life; Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State University (2017)
6. Julie Garden-Robinsonb & Allison Dhuyvetter; Nourish Your Immune System (FN1773); NDSU Publications (2015)
7. Bananas need no hype to be considered good; NutritionATC University of Hawaii; 2010
8. Healthy Snacking During Pregnancy; University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) (2015)
9. Bananas; Michigan State University
10. “Your Body Is Where You Live”; A Guide to Healthy Living for People with Disabilities
11. Basic Report; Bananas, raw; USDA
12. Food Safety During Pregnancy; NSW Department of Primary Industries
13. Bananas; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2018)
14. Ronchetti R et al.; Food allergies, cross-reactions and agroalimentary biotechnologies; Penn State University (2007)
15. Arora, Ajay & Choudhary, Divya & Agarwal, Gaurav & Singh, V; Compositional variation in β‐carotene content, carbohydrate and antioxidant enzymes in selected banana cultivars; IJFST (2008)