Cranberry during Pregnancy – Health Benefits and Risks

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Cranberry during Pregnancy

Cranberries are a healthy mix of anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals. All these put together will help in keeping the body’s free radicals in check and also in treating many ailments. It is highly effective in fighting infections during pregnancy. However, cranberries during pregnancy have their share of side effects too. It should especially be avoided by pregnant women who have diabetes since the high sugar content in the berry can elevate the sugar level further causing more harm than good. Moreover, too much of the berry may cause diarrhoea, dizziness, fatigue, headache and frequent urination which may add to the physical discomfort in a pregnant woman.

Calorie Count and Nutritional Value of Cranberry

Cranberries which are very sour are usually taken in the form of juice by sweetening it or blending it with other fruit juices.

100 grams of raw cranberries consist of 46 calories, about 90% of water, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar (simple sugar – sucrose, glucose, and fructose), 5 grams of fibre, and very nominal amount of protein, fat, omega 3 and omega 6.

Benefits of Consuming Cranberries and Cranberry Juice During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when your body requires a lot of vitamins, minerals, and nutrition. Therefore, daily intake of various types of fruits helps in the healthy growth of the foetus and also in treating ailments or infections in a pregnant woman. Cranberry is one such fruit which has several benefits and which, when consumed during pregnancy, can help in keeping many health problems at bay.

Listed below are some of the benefits of consuming cranberries during pregnancy.

1. Decreases and helps in treating inflammation

Inflammation is a leading cause of several diseases like heart diseases, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, allergy etc. Cranberries are said to contain the highest amount of anti-oxidants which is required to protect the cells in our body from any damage caused by free radicals. These anti-oxidants naturally help in fighting inflammation.

2. Improves immunity

Women during pregnancy and after delivery are low on immunity. Therefore, cranberries which are high on proanthocyanidins help the body to keep the immunity level high. Moreover, cranberries can stop bacteria from accumulating and growing in the gut lining. This helps the immune-boosting bacteria to grow and defend the body against all types of illnesses and diseases.

3. Prevents UTI

The uterus grows and presses the bladder during pregnancy, blocking the drainage of urine from the bladder. This causes infection in the urinary tract.

Specific antioxidants in cranberries do not allow bacteria to stick to the walls of the urinary tract thereby minimising the chances of an infection.

4. Beneficial in Oral hygiene

Cranberries

Quite a few experience tooth problems during their pregnancy. Eating a handful of cranberries or a glass of cranberry juice a day can help in preventing tooth decay, plaque formation, and cavities.

5. Prevents Constipation

Constipation is common during pregnancy. Cranberry, which is said to be high on fibre helps in preventing it.

6. Hydrates the body

It is necessary to keep the body hydrated, especially when one is pregnant. Cranberries are made up of 90% water. Therefore, regular intake of cranberries helps in keeping the body hydrated.

7. Prevents water retention (edemas)

Edemas are very common during pregnancy. Cranberry juice is a natural diuretic. Therefore the intake of cranberry juice during pregnancy on a regular basis can prevent or cure water retention.

Risks Associated With Cranberry Consumption in Pregnancy

Cranberries are said to do wonders if taken during pregnancy. It prevents a lot of many pregnancy-related complications. However, it is also said to be associated with a lot of risks. Just as too much of anything is terrible, similarly too much of the juice of cranberries is seen to do more harm than good to pregnant women. Therefore, caution should be practised while taken during pregnancy.

  • Too much of cranberry or the juice of the berry can cause loose motions or diarrhoea.
  • Intake of too many concentrated cranberry tablets may increase the oxalic acid in the urine causing kidney stones.
  • Pregnant women suffering from chronic liver problems, gastritis or stomach ulcers should avoid taking cranberry in any form.

Cranberry Recipes for Pregnant Women

Cranberries being sour are a treat to the taste buds during the pregnancy when most of us suffer from nausea. Dried cranberries during pregnancy are as good as fresh ones. Listed below are few recipes which can be made from these fruits.

1. Cranberry Pickle

The pickle is a mix of cranberries with mustard oil and Indian spices. It is easy to make and tastes excellent with puffed rice, parathas or a bowl of hot rice and dal.

Ingredients

  • Cranberries: 500 gms
  • Mustard oil: 500 ml
  • Mustard seeds: 2 tbsps
  • Jeera seeds: 5 tbsps
  • Dhania seeds: 4 tbsps
  • Fenugreek seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Chilli Powder: 2 tbsp (or more if you want it to be spicier)
  • Salt: to taste

Method

  • Wash the cranberries and dry them thoroughly.
  • Cut all the berries in equal halves.
  • Mix them with chilli powder and salt. Leave it out in the sun after covering it with a muslin cloth and occasionally toss it.
  • Keep it in the sun for 5 – 7 days until it looks shrivelled and dry.
  • Dry roast all the masala together and grind it roughly.
  • In a glass jar, pour the dried up cranberries, mustard oil, and the ground masala.
  • Give it a good shake and mix it up well.

2. Cranberry juice

“Is cranberry juice good for pregnancy?” is a common question asked by many. It prevents many ailments and diseases associated with pregnancy.

Cranberry Juice

Ingredients

  • Cranberries
  • Water
  • Sugar syrup (optional)

Method

  • In a large pan, add water and cranberries. Bring it to boil.
  • Reduce the flame and cook until the berries burst open and become soft.
  • Strain the juice using a filter or a muslin cloth.
  • You can add the sugar syrup if you find the juice too sour or can mix it with honey.
  • You can also add the juice of some other fruit.

3. Cranberry Jam

It is one of the easiest and tasty recipes that can be made with cranberries.

Ingredients

  • Fresh Cranberries: 250 gms
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 1 cup
  • Jaggery: 2 cups
  • Vinegar: ½ cup
  • Cardamom: ½ tsp.

Method

  • Wash the cranberries and cook them in water until the skin pops out.
  • Make a puree of the half cooked cranberries.
  • Take a pan and add the sugar, jaggery, vinegar, cardamom powder, and bring it to boil.
  • Add the puree and cook until it gets a jam-like consistency.

Cranberry can be termed as a wonder berry since it is a cure for many ailments which seem to pop up more often when the body is weak, tender and low on immunity during pregnancy. Cranberry juice for UTI while pregnant is also a well-known remedy. However, having too much of the berry can have its downsides. Therefore, taking precaution and consulting a doctor before including it in your daily diet is advisable.

Also Read: Consuming Blueberries during Pregnancy

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