Eating healthy and following a well-balanced diet is crucial during pregnancy. And when one thinks of a healthy diet, they probably think of fruits such as strawberries. If you are unsure whether it is safe to eat strawberry during pregnancy, this post is for you.
The sweet yet tangy taste of strawberry is quite popular among pregnant women. In this post, we tell you the nutritional profile of strawberry and the benefits and side effects of eating strawberries when pregnant. We also give you tips on selecting and storing strawberries and tell you how to add the fruit to your diet.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Strawberries?
According to the UC Davis Health System, California, strawberries are high in vitamin C. The nutrient aids in the baby’s development and also helps you absorb the necessary amounts of iron from food (1). That’s not all. These sweet and sour fruits are a good source of carbohydrates, which give you instant energy (2).
Wash the strawberries before consumption to remove any contaminants such as toxins or pathogenic microorganisms that can be unsafe for your pregnancy (3). Fresh, and clean strawberries are safe during pregnancy as long as you eat them in moderation.
Nutritional Profile Of Strawberries
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one small strawberry could be approximately 7g. And a cup of sliced strawberries could be 166g, which could provide 53kcal, 12.75g carbohydrate, 27mg calcium, 22mg magnesium, 40mg phosphorus, 254mg potassium, 40mcg folate, and 97.6mg vitamin C (4).
With so many essential nutrients, strawberries offer several health benefits to pregnant women.
Benefits Of Strawberry During Pregnancy
Strawberries can hep you meet the RDA of various nutrients. Let’s see a few of them here:
- Folic acid: Studies suggest that 400mcg folic acid can reduce the risk of birth defects by 50%. Strawberries naturally have this nutrient and help you in meeting the RDA (recommended daily allowance) (3).
- Vitamin C: A drop in the number of red blood cells in your body increases the risk of anemia. Consuming foods such as strawberries, which are rich in vitamin C, helps in better absorption of iron to form red blood cells (5).
- Minerals: The vitamin C and mineral content in strawberries can help maintain your immunity, which in turn helps in preventing diseases (6).
- Potassium: During pregnancy, a woman’s RDA of potassium is 4700mg. This nutrient is naturally present in strawberries and can help in maintaining blood pressure, muscle control, nerve function, and electrolyte regulation (7).
- Others: Strawberries also contain other vital nutrients such as vitamin B6 and fiber. Though in lesser amounts, consuming the fruits routinely can help you in hormone regulation, body growth, and indigestion (8) (9).
Like any other food you eat during pregnancy, strawberries should also be consumed in limited quantities. Eating the fruit in excess could be problematic.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Strawberries In Pregnancy?
Be careful of a few things before consuming strawberries during pregnancy.
- If you are allergic to strawberry, you should avoid the fruit as it could be harmful to your pregnancy. Usually, strawberry allergy occurs in people who have a birch-pollen allergy. The reactions include inflammation and itching in the throat or mouth (10).
- Strawberries are among the foods that contain high amounts of pesticides. So, choose organic strawberries over the regular ones (11).
Always remember to wash the fruit before you consume them. If you are taking any medications and are worried they’ll react with strawberries, talk to your doctor about it.
If your doctor gives the go-ahead, you can enjoy the taste and benefits of strawberries in various ways.
Ways To Include Strawberry In Pregnancy Diet
Besides relishing strawberries in their raw form, you can try using them in different recipes.
- You can make jams, syrups, and jellies with fresh strawberries. They go well with bread, pancakes, and muffins.
- Dried or fresh strawberries can be added to a bowl of corn flakes and even to your fruit salad. They can make the snack tasty and nutritious.
- You can add diced strawberries to plain yogurt. If you like nuts, you can add crushed nuts too.
- Making a smoothie is yet another way to eat strawberries.
Irrespective of how you consume them, strawberries can give you the expected health benefits when eaten fresh. Next, we tell you how to pick and store strawberries for consumption.
Tips To Select And Store Strawberries
Here is what to look for when picking strawberries in the store.
- The size of strawberries doesn’t matter. Just look for bright-colored, plump berries.
- The leaves on top of the berries should be green and healthy.
- If you find mold on the berries, don’t pick them. These could rot soon.
- Even the shape of the fruit doesn’t matter, as the shape of every strawberry is unique.
- To store the strawberries, put them in a container, and keep it in the fridge. Remember, strawberries do not last long, so eat them fresh, or as soon as possible.
If you’ve been craving strawberries more than any other fruit lately, there could be a reason. Find out about it next.
Why Do You Crave Strawberries In Pregnancy?
The most common reason behind craving a fruit could be a deficiency of nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium. So, if you are craving strawberries, it could be due to the lack of these nutrients in your body (12).
Also, you crave sweets and sour foods when you are pregnant. Perhaps that is one of the reasons you long for strawberries.
Do Strawberries Induce Labor?
Certain foods are believed to induce labor. But there is no evidence to suggest that strawberries can do so. You may talk to your doctor if you have any doubts.
Strawberries during pregnancy are a healthy source of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that are an essential addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. But it is of foremost importance that you wash the fruit thoroughly to get rid of the toxins and harmful chemicals that might be present. You could include strawberries in many forms in your diet, such as puree, jam, smoothie, or in the dried form. However, overeating anything is not suitable for your health, be it any fruit or vegetable. Thus, have a well-balanced nutritious diet during pregnancy and take proper care of yourself.
2. Healthy Snacking During Pregnancy; University of Michigan
3. Inappropriate Nutrition Practices for Women; Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
4. Strawberries, raw; United States Department of Agriculture
5. Iron; Eat Right; Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics; Sutter Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency
6. S. Wulandari and Ajunnisa; The effect of consumption strawberry juice against level of haemoglobin in third trimester of pregnant woman; International Journal of Medical Research and Pharmaceutical Sciences (2016)
7. L. Bellows and R. Moore; Potassium and the Diet; Colorado State University
8. Pregnancy Nutrition; Lamaze.org
9. Dietary Fiber; Colorado State University
10. Allergy information for: Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa); Manchester Academic Health Science Center
11. Fast Facts about Health Risks of Pesticides in Food; Center for ecogenetics & Environmental Health; University of Washington
12. S. Breeland, M. Stockman, and A. Taschuk; The Correlation Between Cravings And Reported Nutrient Intake In Female University Students Ages 18-24; Texas Christian University (2016)