9 Health Benefits Of Eating Bananas During Pregnancy

Banana During Pregnancy

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Research shows that bananas are the most commonly eaten fresh fruits during pregnancy (95.4%), followed by oranges (88.8%), apples (88.3%) and other fruits (40.3%) (1). Packed with potassium, calcium and several essential nutrients, bananas provide umpteen benefits for both the expectant mom and the baby.

In this MomJunction post, we tell you more about bananas during pregnancy and also answer several questions you may have about them.

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.

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Health Benefits Of Eating Bananas During Pregnancy

Here is why you need to include bananas in your pregnancy diet plan:

1. Prevents birth defects and premature labor

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 will prevent these problems (2).

2. Cures anemia:

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. Treats morning sickness:

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 by significantly, especially when combined with doxylamine, which is an antihistamine (4).

4. Aids proper digestion:

The dietary fiber of bananas promotes digestion and eliminates the toxins from the body by fighting constipation. Having a banana after every meal is good for regular bowel movements (5).

5. Boosts immunity:

Bananas are rich in vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant. They can boost your immune levels and help ward off infections (6) (7).

6. Offers instant energy:

They are super sources of energy and instantly boost your energy. The presence of glucose, fructose, and sucrose play a prominent role in providing energy to anyone (8).

7. Curbs hunger pangs:

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).

8. Maintains blood pressure:

Potassium is essential in controlling blood pressure fluctuations. Bananas are excellent sources of potassium and help in managing blood pressure in the mother (7).

9. Natural stress buster:

Feelings of tension and apprehension are quite normal when you are pregnant. Consuming bananas works excellently in lowering your stress and anxiety levels (10).

Next, we give you a detailed account of the nutrients present in a banana.

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Nutritional Value Of Bananas

According to the USDA, 100 grams of raw banana contains the following nutrients (11):

NUTRIENTAMOUNT
Calories89kcal
Water74.91g
Carbohydrates22.84g
Sugars12.23g
Protein1.09g
Fiber2.6g
Fat0.33g
Vitamins
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
Electrolytes
Potassium358mg
Sodium1mg
Minerals
Calcium5mg
Iron0.26mg
Phosphorus22mg
Magnesium27mg
Zinc0.15mg
Lipids
Total saturated fatty acids0.112g
Total monounsaturated fatty acids0.032g
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids0.073g

Although bananas offer numerous benefits and nutrients, you should be mindful of how many you eat and how often you eat them during pregnancy.

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How Many Bananas Can You Eat During Pregnancy?

You can 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.

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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.

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What Precautions Should You Take While Eating Bananas?

  • Consider organic fruit. Most banana varieties available nowadays are ripened artificially with chemicals, which might be harmful to the mother and the baby.
  • 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.

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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.

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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 (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.

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If you have any interesting banana recipes, share them with us in the below comment section.

References:

1. Sarah E Santiago et al.; Consumption habits of pregnant women and implications for developmental biology: a survey of predominantly Hispanic women in California; Nutr J (2013)
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. Kim Reid & Cindy Nance; Break the Stress Eating Habit With De-Stressing Foods; NC State University
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)

 

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Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
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