Fresh and dried figs during pregnancy are safe to consume. These contain higher amounts of fiber and minerals such as iron, magnesium, etc., when compared to other vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Consuming fiber-rich foods help to avoid constipation and related complications in pregnancy. You may eat a few figs (anjeer) to manage sugar cravings. Pregnant women with already known allergies to figs should avoid consuming them.
Read on to know more about the benefits, risks of excess consumption, the safety of figs in pregnancy, and ways to add moderate amounts of figs into your pregnancy diet.
Can You Eat Figs During Pregnancy?
Both fresh and dried figs are safe to consume during pregnancy, albeit in moderate quantities. Figs are among the healthiest fruits and contain essential minerals, sugars, fats, iron, and calcium that the mother-to-be and the baby need (1). Excess consumption of figs is associated with diarrhea and tooth decay due to the high sugar content in the fruit.
Nutritional Profile Of Figs
Figs have a distinct honey-like flavor and differ from other fruits in their taste and the medicinal benefits they offer. Figs are rich in minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper. They also contain vitamins A, D, E, K, and B complex, natural sugars, soluble fibers, organic acids, and fats.
The interesting fact is, it is a low-calorie fruit and a good option for those looking to control their pregnancy weight gain.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium-sized fruit (about 50g) provides 37 calories, 10g carbohydrates, 8g sugars, 1.5g dietary fiber, 0.15g fat, 18mg calcium, 8mg magnesium, 7mg phosphorus, 116mg potassium, 3mcg folate, 4mcg vitamin A, and 3mcg vitamin K (2).
Health Benefits Of Consuming Figs During Pregnancy
When consumed in reasonable quantities, figs can offer the following health benefits during pregnancy.
- The potassium in figs helps manage the blood pressure levels and could reduce the risk of preeclampsia (3).
- Figs have high dietary fiber and were traditionally used as laxatives. They can be taken in moderation to deal with constipation and other digestive issues (4).
- Figs are alkaline and can balance the acid levels in the body.
- Psoralens, a chemical found in figs, could help clear skin pigmentation issues such as melasma.
While these benefits may encourage you to include figs in your everyday diet, you should always consult your doctor before doing so to reduce the risk of any side-effects.
Possible Side-effects Of Eating Figs During Pregnancy
Excess consumption of figs could lead to side-effects such as:
- Loose stools
- A drop in the blood pressure and blood glucose levels
- Allergies, if you are already allergic to pollen or fruits of the mulberry family
- Photodermatitis due to excess psoralens entering the body
Stop eating figs if you experience any of these side-effects. Choosing the right variety and quality of figs is also essential to benefit from the fruit.
How To Select And Store Figs?
Never shopped for figs before? Don’t worry. We tell you how to choose and store figs for consumption during pregnancy.
- Fresh figs are available between mid-June and mid-October.
- When going for fresh figs, choose those with smooth and plain skin.
- Fresh ones will be clean, dry, and soft to touch.
- Avoid taking figs that smell slightly sour as they may have started to ferment and may not be suitable for consumption.
- When stored in the coldest area inside the refrigerator, they can remain fresh for up to two days
- Canned figs will be good to eat for at least one year. Refrigerate them for a longer shelf life.
Ways To Include Figs In Your Pregnancy Diet
You can eat the fruit fresh, as-it-is along with its skin. Other ways of consumption are:
- You can have dried figs as snacks and also to satiate your cravings for sweets.
- Add figs to milk to make milkshakes, ice creams or other desserts.
- Add fresh or dried figs to salads.
- Fig juice is also a good option.
- Cook around 500g chopped figs with one cup sugar in low flame until the mixture is thickened, to make fig preserve.
- Add to bread, cakes, and flour-based items for extra flavor.
It is safe to consume dried and fresh anjeer or figs during pregnancy. Although figs are packed with nutrients, you may consume them in moderation since the sugar content could cause tooth decay and diarrhea. Potassium and dietary fibers in figs are beneficial for pregnant women as they help manage blood pressure and relieve constipation. Avoid figs if you are allergic to pollen or fruits from the mulberry family. You may purchase fresh figs, store them in cold temperatures, dry them, and place them in air-tight containers.
2. Figs, raw, FDC ID: 173021; Food Data Central; USDA
3. Potassium Food List; University of Louisville
4. Fiber, Digestion, and Health; Cornell Health (2012)
5. Are figs good for you? Get the whole sweet story; American Heart Association
6. The health benefits of figs; Leon Fruit and Nut Exchange
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Dr. Shikha Sharma(MBBS)
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