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14 Reasons To Eat Avocados During Pregnancy

avocados

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Avocados are known to be the fertility fruit for both men and women (1). The single-seeded berries are eaten not only during periconceptional period but also during pregnancy. Avocados, also known as butter fruits, are pear-shaped, dark green in color and botanically referred to as berries containing a single seed.

Popular for their taste and nutrition, this fruit has wide culinary uses. But can this be included during pregnancy? MomJunction will help you understand if you can have the fruit during pregnancy, and share some easy recipes to treat your taste buds.

Are Avocados Good During Pregnancy?

Avocados are safe to include in maternal diets as they contain high amounts of key nutrients –folate and potassium that are important for fetal growth and development. They are full of good fats, and other vitamins and minerals, all of which have a positive impact on pregnancy.

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What Are The Benefits Of Avocados During Pregnancy?

The various benefits of eating avocado fruits, also known as butter fruits, are as follows.

1. Excellent source of folate

Lack of enough folate or folic acid can cause birth defects in babies. Therefore, the fetus requires sufficient folic acid for proper growth and development of the organs. Avocados being a rich source provide about 5mcg folic acid per half a cup of the fruit (4).

[ Read: Folic Acid During Pregnancy ]

2. Treats anemia

Deficiency of iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia in pregnant women. Avocados contain abundant amounts of iron necessary during pregnancy (5).

3. Aids digestion

Stomach illnesses and constipation are common during pregnancy. The rich fiber content in avocado helps in digestion and eases bowel movements (6).

4. Packed with vitamins

The butter fruit is packed with vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, C, E, and K, all of which are essential for maternal diet and important for the growing fetus (7).

5. Combats morning sickness

This is another common early pregnancy symptom that leaves you tired in the first three months. Vitamin C-rich avocados are useful in dealing with the problem (8).

6. Maintains cholesterol and sugar levels

Regular consumption of avocado helps in keeping cholesterol (9) and sugar levels in control during pregnancy (10).

7. Relieves leg cramps

Leg cramps are also common during pregnancy, and avocados can provide relief from leg cramps. They have more potassium than bananas. Potassium, along with calcium, can help ease cramping (11).

[ Read: Leg Pain During Pregnancy ]

8. Boosts fetal brain development

A single cup of avocado contains 22mg of choline that is necessary for fetal brain and nerve development and also the nerve development (12).

9. Rich in minerals

Avocado contributes to your daily recommended intake of calcium, potassium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and manganese all of which are essential during pregnancy (13).

10. Helps in nutrient absorption

Not only do avocados provide nutrients, but they also help your system absorb nutrients from other foods. For instance, avocados make the absorption of fat soluble vitamins found in foods like sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and carrots (14) possible.

11. Full of healthy fat

Extra calories are required during pregnancy for the growth of the fetus, and good fats are necessary for it. Avocados contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are beneficial for both you and your unborn baby (15).

12. Lowers the risk of weight gain

As avocados are high in dietary fiber, they help lower the chances of tremendous weight gain. Almost 25% of fiber is soluble that helps friendly bacteria in the digestive tract improve metabolic health (16).

13. Reduces the risk of preeclampsia

The rich potassium levels in the fruit help lower the chance of preeclampsia as it is known to reduce the blood pressure levels. It could, therefore, decrease the risk of heart issues in future (17).

Since avocados offer such amazing benefits, you should definitely know the nutritional facts of the fruit.

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Nutritional Value Of Avocado

One avocado includes the following nutrient values as per the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) (18):

NutrientAmount per serving
Total calories322
Calories from fat265
Total fat29.47g
Saturated fat4.273g
Polyunsaturated fat3.65g
Monounsaturated fat19.696g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium14mg
Potassium975mg
Total Carbohydrate17.15g
Dietary fiber13.5g
Sugars1.33g
Protein4.02g
Vitamin A14mcg
Vitamin C20.1mg
Calcium24mg
Iron1.11mg

Though avocados are absolutely beneficial, you must have a cap on the quantity you eat.

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How Much Avocado Should You Eat In A Day?

An avocado a day keeps the neurologist away. However, it is best to limit your daily intake to half a fruit as over-consumption could lead to a few, though rare, side-effects.

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Side Effects Of Avocado During Pregnancy

Here are the situations where you may have to limit or stop eating avocados are:

  • If you are trying to manage weight, avoid consuming the fruit in excess. The high calories, though from good fats, can add up.
  • If you are allergic to latex then be cautious with avocados as the fruit as been linked to latex allergies (19).

It is good to check with your health practitioner in the above cases.

Also, avocado is more beneficial at certain times than others during pregnancy.

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[ Read: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy ]

When Is The Best Time To Eat Avocado While Pregnant?

It is best to include avocado during early pregnancy because of its high folate content. Low folate levels in the early stages of pregnancy are associated with neural tube defects. Including avocado in your prenatal diet can help reduce the risk of deficiency related birth defects (20).

In the next section, we will tell you the different ways to include the fruit in your diet.

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Simple Avocado Recipes

To include avocado every day, you can try the below easy recipes.

1. Raw avocado smoothie

Raw avocado smoothie

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • ½ avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ½ green apple
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • ½ lime, peeled
  • 1 big bunch parsley
  • Ice

How to:

  1. Put all the above ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend it slowly, and increase the speed gradually.
  3. Let it blend for about one minute or until you get a smooth consistency.
  4. Raw avocado smoothie is ready to drink.

Preparation time: 5 min

Servings: One or two

[ Read: Custard Apple During Pregnancy ]

2. Baked eggs in avocado:

Baked eggs in avocado

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • 2 avocados, ripe
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. De-seed the avocados, and slice them in half. Scoop out some flesh from the center so that the egg can fit in.
  3. Place the half sliced avocados on a baking tray and crack one egg in each of the halves.
  4. Try to crack it in a way that the yolk goes first and then the egg white to cover the rest.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cooking time may vary. Ensure that the egg white is set properly.
  6. Once baked, remove and top them with pepper and chives. You can also add any other garnishing of your choice.

Preparation time: 30 min

Servings: Two

[ Read: Eggs During Pregnancy ]

3. ALT (avocado, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches

ALT (Avocado, Lettuce, and Tomato) sandwiches

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 4 large leaves of Romaine/ Boston lettuce
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
  • 8 slices whole-grain bread with flaxseed, toasted
  • 12 thin slices cucumber
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise, fat-free
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, reduced fat and reduced sodium version

How to:

  1. Spread mayonnaise evenly on bread slices.
  2. Layer 4 slices of bread with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice avocado, 1 slice tomato, 3 slices cucumber, and 1 slice Swiss cheese. Top them with remaining 4 bread slices each.
  3. Cut each of the sandwiches diagonally, and they are ready.

Preparation time: 15 min

Servings: Four

4. Guacamole

Guacamole

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 3 medium sized avocados
  • 1 firm tomato, finely chopped
  • ½ white onion
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Salt and pepper (optional)

How to:

  1. Cut the avocados in half, and scoop out the flesh.
  2. Use a fork to mash the flesh so that any hard parts are softened.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and stir them properly.
  4. You can use it right away or refrigerate it.

Preparation time: 10min

Servings: Two and a half cups

So, quickly make these recipes and enjoy the taste and health, all in one.

Below, we cover a few questions that expecting couples may have regarding avocados during pregnancy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to eat avocado with black or brown spots?

Avocados turn black or brown when they are exposed to cold temperatures for a long time before they begin to ripen. The discoloration also occurs as a result of compression with excessive handling. Thefruits can be eaten by removing those spots with a knife.

2. Are avocado seeds edible?

It is not recommended to eat avocado seeds as there is not enough research to support their consumption. However, there are studies on the potential benefits of avocado seed extracts rather than the seeds. The extract is known to have antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties (21).

3. What happens if you eat too much avocado?

If you overeat avocados, it will likely cause weight gain.

4. Does eating avocados make you fat?

Eating more calories than the body requires, no matter the source, can lead to weight gain. Avocados are high in a healthy, monounsaturated fat. Your body requires this kind of fat for energy, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K), and mental focus.

5. Is guacamole healthy during pregnancy?

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip that contains abundant monounsaturated fatty acids. It can be used as a dip or spread for chips, crackers, sandwiches, and wraps. You can integrate it into your meals during pregnancy to reap its nutritional benefits.

Most foods are good to eat during pregnancy but you need to take them in moderation. The same is the case with avocados too. Do not overeat them because they are good for health. Do not avoid them completely either. Include avocados in your diet, and mix them with other fruits and vegetables.

So, how are you going to include this super food in your diet during pregnancy? Tell us about it and also, if you know any other recipes, you may drop them in the comments section below.

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