Pomegranate is a sweet-tangy, nutritious fruit that most people love. Some enjoy eating pomegranate seeds, while others enjoy its juice. If you crave pomegranate during pregnancy, knowing how much you can safely consume daily is essential to avert the complications that its excess intake can cause.
Read on as we give you an insight into the safety of pomegranates and its juice for pregnant women, how many pomegranates you can eat daily, its benefits on maternal health, side effects, and effective ways to include the fruit in your pregnancy diet.
Is It Safe To Have Pomegranate And Pomegranate Juice When You Are Pregnant?
Pomegranate juice is known to prevent certain pregnancy risks such as preterm birthiXA birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy and preeclampsiaiXA pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy (1) (2). However, overconsumption of this superfood and its juice is not suggested, as it may have a few side effects during pregnancy.
How Many Pomegranates Can A Pregnant Woman Eat In A Day?
Two to eight ounces of pomegranate juice per day is known to offer benefits for adults. But there is no standard quantity of pomegranate recommended for pregnant women (3). So, it is safe to say that expecting mothers can limit their intake to less than what is suggested for the others.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Pomegranate During Pregnancy?
Pomegranate is a good source of potassium, vitamins, iron, folic acid, fiber, and antioxidants (1). Here are the benefits of consuming pomegranate during pregnancy:
- Reduces hypertension: Some pregnant women suffer from preeclampsia or excessively high blood pressure. This disorder can increase the risks of maternal and fetal mortality. Drinking pomegranate juice can help reduce the blood pressure as it contains a polyphenol called punicalaginiXThe main ingredient in pomegranate, which contains high antioxidants , which is known to have bioactiveiXCompounds capable of increasing metabolism and present in fruits, vegetables, fish, etc. properties (4).
- Improves heart health: The antioxidants in pomegranate reduce cholesterol and prevent heart diseases, which makes the fruit good for your cardiovascular health (5).
- Protects fetal brain: The polyphenolic antioxidantsiXStrong antioxidants that act as a defense against various diseases and keep the body healthy of pomegranate juice and its anti-inflammatory properties are known to reduce inflammation and oxidative stressiXA condition when the body produces more reactive oxygen species in comparison to its ability to counteract their harmful effects . Drinking juice during pregnancy can aid fetal development by helping protect the fetal brain from injuries (6).
- Improves bone density: Eating pomegranate has led to increased bone calcium content in pregnant women. Regular consumption of the fruit can prevent bone loss and also enhance bone formation (7).
- Prevents pregnancy complications: Some pregnant women suffer placental problems that could result in preterm birth or low weight in babies. These may occur due to oxidative stress related to gestational diabetes (8). Antioxidants in pomegranate juice have shown positive effects and consuming the fruit can prevent all such risks (2).
- Strengthens immune system: Antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamin C in pomegranate improve immunity and helps fight infections. So, it is recommended that you drink pomegranate juice when you are pregnant (7). (9).
In the next section, we see if there are any risks associated with eating pomegranates during pregnancy.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Pomegranate Consumption?
- Pomegranate juice can interfere with some medications. To prevent any pregnancy complications, you should consult your doctor before including the fruit in your regular diet.
- Pomegranate is high in calories, hence ingesting more than what is required could increase your weight during pregnancy.
- There is no research suggesting that pregnant women can take pomegranate supplements or extracts. So it is better to avoid them during pregnancy and enjoy the seeds and freshly made juice instead.
How To Include Pomegranate In Your Pregnancy Diet?
Consume pomegranate in the following ways to enjoy its taste and benefits.
- Pop a few pomegranate seeds into your mouth when you want to eat a snack.
- A freshly made glass of pomegranate juice can make you feel rejuvenated.
- Adding the ruby-red seeds of the fruit in cereals and salads can enhance their taste and nutrition.
- You may garnish your dishes with pomegranate seeds.
- A pomegranate smoothie or milkshake can also fulfill your pregnancy cravings for something sweet and sour.
- Mix pomegranate seeds in any of your dessert recipes.
But before you do that, read about the tips to consume this fruit safely.
Tips For Consuming Pomegranate
- Always buy fresh and ripe pomegranates. Pick the heavy ones with firm skin.
- While scooping out the seeds, see that you are not adding any part of the rind.
- Avoid buying pomegranate juice from outside as they may have preservatives. Make it fresh at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does eating pomegranate during pregnancy make the baby dark?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest a correlation between the consumption of pomegranate in pregnancy and baby color.
2. Can consuming the white membrane surrounding pomegranate seeds be harmful during pregnancy?
Although the white membrane in pomegranate is not proven to be harmful, it is best to avoid consuming it, for it tastes bitter (8) and may not be relished when pregnant.
3. Can consuming pomegranate help in a baby’s brain development during pregnancy?
One study found that in pregnant women with Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), pomegranate juice could impact the fetal brain structure and function. However, more investigations are needed to prove this in a larger population (10).
Eating pomegranates during pregnancy can benefit both the mother and the developing baby. Both seeds and juice in moderate amounts are safe for consumption during this period. The vitamins, iron, folic acid, and antioxidants present in pomegranates support pregnancy and may help reduce its complications. It is better to consume fresh fruit and avoid pomegranate extract or supplements available over-the-counter. Check with your doctor to rule out any effect of pomegranates on the medications you might be taking during pregnancy.
Infographic: Healthy Ways To Include Pomegranate In A Pregnancy Diet
Pomegranate, a fruit known for its vibrant color and distinctive flavor, is often considered a healthy choice for pregnant women. Enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this delicious fruit can provide various health benefits during pregnancy. Let’s check out the infographic below for some tips on how to incorporate pomegranates into your pregnancy diet.
- Pomegranate is a nutritious fruit that is rich in vitamins, minerals (including iron), folic acid, and antioxidants.
- The bioactive properties of pomegranate can help regulate blood pressure, improve heart health, and protect the fetal brain during pregnancy.
- Consuming pomegranate during pregnancy may reduce the possibility of pregnancy complications such as preterm labor, low birth weight in babies, or preeclampsia.
- However, since pomegranate is high in calories, overconsumption may lead to weight gain during pregnancy.
- It is important to note that pomegranate juice may also interact with certain medications. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor before including the fruit in a pregnancy diet.
- N. Breuner, C. Gorgon, K. Hanley, and M. Bunning; Pomegranates; Food Source Information: Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center Of Excellence
- Pomegranates juice may prevent pregnancy complications; Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (2013)
- Y. Wang et al.; Supplementing punicalagin reduces oxidative stress markers and restores angiogenic balance in a rat model of pregnancy-induced hypertension; The Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology (2018)
- Aviram M, Rosenblat M. Pomegranate for Your Cardiovascular Health. RMMJ 2013;4 (2):e0013. doi:10.5041/RMMJ.10113
- Y. Ginsberg et al., Maternal pomegranate attenuates maternal inflammation-induced fetal brain injury; American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2017)
- M. Monsefi, F. Parvin, and T. Talaei-Khozani; Effects of pomegranate extracts on cartilage, bone and mesenchymal cells of mouse fetuses; British Journal of Nutrition (2012)
- Health Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds and Juice; Heal With Food
- The Health Benefits of Pomegranates.
- M. Shah, S. Shah, and M. Patel; Review On: “The Aspects of Punica Granatum”; Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Bioscientific Research (2011)
- Lillian G. Matthews et al., Maternal pomegranate juice intake and brain structure and function in infants with intrauterine growth restriction: A randomized controlled pilot study; PLoS One (2019).
- Yuval Ginsberg et al.; (2017); Maternal pomegranate juice attenuates maternal inflammation–induced fetal brain injury by inhibition of apoptosis, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, and NF-κB in a rat model.