- Essential Nutrients Provided By Fruits And Vegetables
- Benefits Of Eating Fruits During Pregnancy
- Best Fruits to Eat During Pregnancy
- Are There Any Fruits To Avoid During Pregnancy
- Benefits Of Vegetables During Pregnancy
- List Of Healthy Vegetables During Pregnancy
- Vegetables To Avoid During Pregnancy
- How Much Fruit And Vegetable Should You Eat During Pregnancy
- Fruit And Vegetable Safety Tips
- Easy Ways To Add More Fruits And Vegetables To Your Diet
The Nutrition and Dietetics Journal says that only half the pregnant women eat the right amount of fresh fruits and vegetables required for a healthy pregnancy (1). Fruits and vegetables fall into the healthy food category in your everyday diet. And, eating healthy during pregnancy ensures long-term health of the mother and the baby. MomJunction helps you understand all the fruits and vegetables you can and cannot consume during your pregnancy. So, read on and be healthy!
Why Are Fruits And Vegetables Important During Pregnancy?
Fruits and vegetables are a major source of essential nutrients and play an important role in a healthy pregnancy.
- Vitamin C helps repair body tissues, heals wounds and cuts, maintains the health of teeth and gums, and is essential for strong immunity.
- Potassium helps in maintaining blood pressure.
- Dietary fiber promotes digestion, reduces cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart illnesses, and prevents constipation and the formation of hemorrhoids.
- Folate helps in forming red blood cells and reduces the risk of spina bifida, neural tube defects, and anencephaly in babies.
- Calcium contributes to the development of bones and teeth in babies.
Most fruits are low in sodium, fat, calories, and have zero cholesterol, making them the perfect food to eat (2).
[ Read: Jackfruit During Pregnancy ]
Benefits Of Eating Fruits During Pregnancy:
Fruits and vegetable are nutrient dense, and fulfill your and the fetus’ need for the vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Here’s how fruits support you:
- Reduce the risk of heart diseases and some cancers
- Lower your cholesterol levels in the blood
- Reduce the risk of Type-2 diabetes
- Limit your overall calorie intake
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Lower the risk of kidney stone formation
- Prevent bone loss
- Help maintain healthy weight
- Folate during the first trimester reduces the risk of birth defects
- Plant compounds (phytochemicals) prevent diseases
24 Best Fruits to Eat During Pregnancy:
Below we have listed the fruits to be eaten during pregnancy and their benefits for you and the baby.
Apricots are a type of drupe fruits, where both the kernel and the flesh are edible.
- Apricots contain vitamin A, C, E, beta carotene, phosphorus, silicon, calcium, iron, and potassium.
- They come loaded with all the super nutrients that assist in the healthy development of your baby.
- They are a rich source of iron, which prevents anemia.
- You can have up to two to four apricots a day (3).
Cherries are a great source of vitamin C (4).
- During pregnancy, you will require sufficient amounts of vitamin C to fight infections such as common cold and rashes.
- Eating cherries also helps in efficient blood supply to the placenta and the baby.
- Cherries come packed with melatonin, a powerful antioxidant hormone that helps in stimulating the cell growth while your belly stretches during pregnancy (5).
- Experts say that melatonin also helps you to get a good night sleep with its potent anti-stress factor (6).
Grapes can be your healthy snacking option during pregnancy.
- Grapes are full of vital nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, organic acids, pectin, folic acids, and more that aid the biological changes during pregnancy.
- They contain antioxidants including flavonol, linalool, anthocyanins, tannin, and geraniol, which boost immunity and prevent infections (7).
- The polyphenols in grapes strengthen the heart’s functioning.
[ Read: Avocados During Pregnancy ]
The good old guava is a tropical fruit and highly nutritious. Do not be surprised if you have a strong craving, as it is quite common among pregnant women.
- Guava helps regulate the immune system and blood pressure during pregnancy.
- It is rich in vitamin C, E, iso-flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols (8).
- These nutrients work as muscle and nerve relaxants, reduce constipation, and aid digestion.
- The folic acid in the fruit helps prevent neural tube defects.
Kiwis are nutrient-dense fruits, and both their skin and seeds are edible.
- They are known to have healing effects on the human respiratory system.
- You are less likely to be affected by a cough, cold, or wheezing if you eat kiwis every day.
- The fruit reduces blood clotting because of its rich phosphorus content.
- Kiwi also felicitates natural absorption of iron (9).
Apples are full of fiber and antioxidants, and are beneficial to both the mother and baby.
- They detoxify the body from lead and mercury (10).
- They enhance the immunity and strength of your baby.
- There is a reduced risk of wheezing, asthma, and eczema in your child in the later stages of life (11).
- Apples are rich in insoluble fibers and aid digestion, improve metabolism, and decrease intestinal disorders.
The naturally sweet mangoes make a delicious alternative for your sugary treat.
- They contain heavy amounts of vitamin C that regulates digestion, reduces constipation, and relieves you of minor infections.
- They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and energy.
- They are high in calories and make a good snack for your third trimester when you require more calories (12).
Pears, the close cousin of apples, have a mild taste, sweetness, and a pleasant aroma.
- Pears contain high amounts of folic acid, ideal for would-be-moms, and play a key role in preventing neural tube defects in babies.
- They are a good source of fiber that fights constipation.
- The potassium content aids heart functioning in both the mother-to-be and the baby and stimulates cell regeneration (13).
Just like cherries, strawberries are an excellent snacking delight.You can indulge in a bowl of strawberries any time of the day as the delicious fruit keeps you nourished with significant amounts of vitamins and fiber.
- They are a rich source of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and normalizes blood pressure (14).
- Rich in manganese and potassium, it builds and strengthens the bones of the growing fetus.
- The folate content helps in minimizing the risk of neural tube defects.
[ Read: Custard Apple During Pregnancy ]
Watermelon quenches your thirst, while also being a rich source of vital nutrients including vitamin A, C, B6, magnesium, and potassium.
- It is loaded with minerals and fiber.
- Watermelon helps ward off that queasy feeling during morning sickness.
- In your last trimester, watermelon helps mitigate heartburn, swelling in hands and feet, and muscle cramps, and keeps you hydrated.
Consumption of blueberries should be avoided in excessive quantities. You should only choose organic varieties to avoid pesticides.
- One cup of blueberries contains 114mg potassium, vital for regulating your blood pressure and preventing preeclampsia.
- They are low in calories, high in vitamin C, and thus helpful during pregnancy.
- The antioxidants protect the mother-to-be from oxidative stress and improve cognitive functioning of the brain.
- The best way to consume blueberries is to add them to breakfast such as corn flakes and other cereals (15).
12. Chikoo (sapodilla):
Composed of soft and easily digestible pulp, chikoo is rich in nutrients.
- Chikoo is full of electrolytes, vitamin A, carbohydrates, and energy, perfect for lactating mothers as well.
- It not only helps you cope with dizziness and nausea but also prevents conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
- The fruit also helps fight stomach related disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery (16).
Bananas are highly preferred fruits in the world of nutrition and diet.
- Bananas have folate, vitamin C, B6, potassium, and magnesium.
- The folate does its usual super job of protecting the fetus from neural tube defects.
- Vitamin B6 helps regulate sodium levels and control nausea and vomiting.
- The rich magnesium content in banana helps restore a healthy fluid balance.
- Potassium protects you from the possible attack of stroke or any other pregnancy-related complications (17).
- Doctors usually recommend consuming one banana every day during your first trimester (18).
[ Read: Kiwi Fruits During Pregnancy ]
14. Custard apple:
Custard apple is rich in nutrients, calories and sugars, which help underweight pregnant women gain the necessary weight.
- Loaded with vitamins A and C, the fruit is good for the eyes, skin, hair, and body tissues of your growing baby.
- The tasty seasonal fruit also enhances the cognitive functioning of your child in the prenatal period of development.
- For expectant mommies, high fiber in custard apple prevents constipation and eases pain during labor.
- The rich antioxidants present in this delightful fruit help you stay active and detoxify your body while preparing for childbirth (19).
The red, pearly pomegranates are nature’s gift to pregnant women because of their dense nutrients.
- Pomegranates contain good amounts of energy, calcium, folate, iron, protein, and other nutrients.
- The fiber content helps ease constipation pain.
- It is one of the best natural cures for iron deficiency problems.
- Vitamin K plays a prominent role in strengthening both the mother-to-be and baby’s bones.
- Drinking pomegranate juice in moderation helps lower the risk of injury to the placenta (20).
The sweet and tangy fruits make a right choice for pregnant women.
- Oranges are rich in vitamin C that aids in digestion, prevents cell damage, and helps the blood absorb iron.They also help you remain hydrated and contribute to the daily fluid intake.
- The rich folate reduces the risk of brain and spinal cord defects in babies.
- Potassium helps prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy (21).
Avocados have more folate than any other fruits, and are nutrient dense.
- They are rich sources of vitamins C, B, K, fiber, choline, magnesium, and potassium.
- Potassium and magnesium help relieve nausea.
- Avocados are effective in relieving leg cramps, which are often caused by low potassium and magnesium levels during pregnancy.
- Choline is essential for brain and nerve development in babies.
- The healthy monosaturated fats in the fruit keep the mother away from heart illnesses (22).
Lemons have a refreshing aroma and a pleasant taste. They are known to be highly useful during pregnancy.
- Lemon juice keeps you hydrated, fights morning sickness, and flushes away toxins from the system.
- It is rich in vitamin C, which stimulates the digestive system and treats constipation.
- It prevents common infections and improves your body’s natural defense mechanism.Lemons are a great source of magnesium and calcium, which improve bone development in the mother and the baby.
- Lemon water is diuretic and beneficial in kidney functioning. It also prevents urogenital infections in pregnant women (23).
[ Read: Cherries During Pregnancy ]
Also known as muskmelon, sweet melon, or rock melon, cantaloupe contains essential nutrients required for pregnancy.
- Cantaloupes are a rich source of fiber and water content, which relieve constipation.
- Carotenoids and vitamin C boost the immune system of both the mother-to-be and the baby. It is a good source of folate (24).
- The B complex in cantaloupes reduces morning sickness and prevents heartburn.Potassium is ideal for regulating the fluctuating blood pressure.
- Iron helps in the production of hemoglobin and prevents anemia (25).
Grapefruit is a delicious citrus fruit with a tangy and sweet flavor.
- Its high fiber content makes it an effective laxative and eases bowel movements during pregnancy.
- Sufficient vitamin C wards off a cold, reduces water retention, and also keeps your skin supple.
- Eating the fruit before going to bed helps you relax and get a good night’s sleep.
- It can decrease the chances of nausea and vomiting, which is a common issue in early pregnancy.
- The significant amounts of folic acid reduce the chances of neural tube defects in babies.
This is another sweet and pulpy fruit, which can be had in fresh, raw, or dried forms.
- Persimmons are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which help in the growth and development of the baby’s bones.
- Carotene and vitamin A strengthen your heart muscles, eyesight, and vitamin C enhances immunity.
- The magnesium content helps lower blood pressure and is therefore effective in treating hypertension.
- Vitamin C fights insomnia, stress, and alleviates cold.
- The antioxidant content helps detox the body and liver, and neutralizes free radicals (26).
Pineapple is a safe and healthy choice during pregnancy, as long as you eat in moderation.
- The low saturated fats and high fiber content help ease constipation, which is a major complaint during pregnancy.
- Vitamin C boosts the immunity and promotes collagen production.
- Trace amounts of copper promote the production of RBCs and help in the growth and health of hair and eyes.
- Bromelain fights the bacteria that harbors in the gut and treats gastrointestinal tract (27).
[ Read: Is It Safe Mango During Pregnancy ]
The delicious and edible raspberries are full of nutrients.
- Red raspberries, especially the leaf extract, help ease labor pain due to its uterine stimulator and relaxant properties (28).
- The high amount of folate prevents the risk of neural tube defects in babies.
- The dietary fiber and manganese promote digestion and prevent the risk of digestive disorders.
- They are a rich source of ellagic acid (phytonutrient) and antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer in pregnant women (29).
- Raspberries boost hemoglobin and protect mothers from anemia and fatigue.
Blackberries have a unique taste and this is probably why women crave for the fruit during pregnancy.
- Blackberries are a rich source of energy.
- Fiber contributes to the overall health and eases constipation.
- Folate is important for preventing birth defects and lowering the chances of miscarriage.
- Calcium, potassium, and magnesium promote the proper growth and development of bones in the fetus.
- Anthocyanins and flavonols in blackberries protect pregnant women from heart-related ailments (30).
Are There Any Fruits To Avoid During Pregnancy?
Fruits are good to consume unless you have them in excess.
- Consumption of grapes and pineapples in high amounts is dangerous.
- Raw and unripe papaya contains latex substance, which could cause uterine contractions leading to a miscarriage (31).
Benefits Of Vegetables During Pregnancy:
The growing fetus completely relies on the mother’s diet, and it is therefore essential for the mother to eat healthily. They are important not just for your baby but also for you. Vegetables are a storehouse of nutrients (32).
- Beta carotene is important for the eyes and development of cells and tissues in babies. It also strengthens immune functioning that helps the baby ward off infections.
- Vitamin C aids in the growth of connective tissues including cartilage and tendons, in the fetus.
- Folic acid is necessary for the healthy growth of babies and lowers the risk of neural tube defects.
- Potassium regulates blood pressure, relieves leg cramps, and supports muscle functioning.
- Fiber regulates digestion, relieves constipation, treats hemorrhoids, and reduces the risk of gestational diabetes.
List Of Vegetables To Eat During Pregnancy:
Vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, microelements, and many necessary nutrients. Here are some top vegetables you could include in your diet:
- Carrots, spinach (vitamin A)
- Legumes (vitamins A and B)
- Bunch onions (vitamins C)
- Tomatoes (vitamins C and B3)
- Beetroot (vitamins C, P, B)
- Pumpkin (vitamins A, C, B1, B3)
- Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and sweet pepper (vitamins A, C)
- Cabbage, carrot, beetroot, radish, pumpkin, beans, bunch onions, tomatoes, fennel (potassium)
- Potatoes, beetroot, bunch onions, celery, beans (phosphorus)
- Celery, horse radish, pumpkin (calcium)
- Pumpkin, beetroot (magnesium)
- Beetroot (folic acid)
[ Read: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy ]
Vegetables To Avoid During Pregnancy:
There are some vegetables that you should avoid as they may have side effects.
- Spicy vegetables (egg plant, black radish, and garden radish) cause heaviness in the tummy.
- Raw sprouts including broccoli, sunflower, snow peas, clover, alfalfa, could be contaminated with salmonella or E.coli bacteria (33).
Needless to say, everything should be eaten in moderation be it fruits or vegetables. The below list makes it easier for you to understand how many servings of fruits and vegetables you may eat in a day.
How Much Fruits And Vegetables Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
You should be eating three servings of fruit and four servings of vegetable per day (34).
One serving of fruit equals:
- 1 medium whole fruit (about the size of a tennis ball)1 cup cut fruit
- ½ cup raw or canned fruit
- ¾ cup fruit juice (unsweetened)
One serving of vegetable equals:
- 1 cup leafy greens
- ½ cup raw or cooked vegetables
- ½ cup vegetable juice½ cup vegetable juice
Fruits And Vegetables – Safety Tips:
Before you choose to eat or cook fresh fruits and vegetables, you should follow some safety tips to stay healthy and avoid any infections or illnesses (35).
- Opt for organic fruits and vegetables This will reduce your risk of consuming chemicals and pesticide residue.
- Wash them under running water thoroughly.
- Use a scrub brush to remove the bruised areas, which may be prone to microbes.
- Drink pasteurized juices.
- Avoid eating pre-cut fruits and vegetables. Cut them just before you eat.
- Store fresh fruits and vegetables separately from raw foods, meat, and leftovers.
- Avoid soaking fresh fruits and vegetables in water for a long time.
Easy Ways To Add More Fruits And Vegetables In Your Diet:
Here are some ideas to add fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks.
- Add some fresh or dried fruits to your usual eating cereal. For instance, combine muesli with chopped apple, banana, and dates.
- Use mashed banana instead of jam on bread.
- Grill some tomatoes, mushrooms, and add to baked beans, lean bacon, or poached eggs.Have pure and unsweetened orange juice.
- Make your preferred vegetable soup.
- Add watercress or tomato to your usual sandwich.
- Include onions, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms in an omelet.
- Tuna chunks along with chopped olives, capers, and peppers make a good and healthy option.
- Prepare guacamole (avocado, chopped onion, and lime juice) and use it in a wrap along with cooked chicken strips and peppers.
- If you are stir-frying lean meat or prawns, add snap peas, red onions, mushrooms, and yellow pepper for a colorful dish.
- To mashed potatoes, add carrots, swede, cauliflower, and other vegetables of your choice for a vegetable-rich mash.
- Add tomato puree combined with onion and garlic paste instead of cream based sauce.
- Bake chunky sweet potato and parsnip using little olive oil instead of deep-fried chips.
- Add peas and sweetcorn to regular eating rice.
- Add berries to yogurt.
- Bake an apple and sprinkle it with raisins and cinnamon.
- Have dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, and blueberries.
- Snack on carrots, beetroots, or celery along with spicy tomato salsa or hummus.
- Make a smoothie using natural yogurt and a handful of raspberries and blueberries.
- Tomatoes and cucumbers, beetroot and carrot, marrow and pumpkin along with grated apples are some of the best options for salads.
[ Read: Raw Vegetables During Pregnancy ]
You might have now understood the benefits of fruits and vegetables for the mother and the baby. You can include a variety of them in your regular diet. A healthy diet means a healthy baby and a healthy you.
If you have any more fruits or vegetables to add to the list, write to us in the comments section below. And, enjoy the excellent period of pregnancy with your favorite fruits and vegetables.
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