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When a woman is pregnant, she needs to eat healthy to ensure the healthy development of the baby. If you are pregnant, your diet should comprise of everything healthy there is. A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies will keep you and your baby healthy. In this article, we will talk about one particular fruit – apple. You know very well that apples taste delicious and are healthy. But are they good for a pregnant woman too? Do they provide any benefit to a pregnant woman? Read this article to find out!
Is it Safe to Eat Apples During Pregnancy?
Apples can be consumed by pregnant women without having second thoughts as there are no known side effects of eating apples (or drinking apple juice) during pregnancy. Apples are a great source of nutrition and highly beneficial for both the mother-to-be and the growing baby.
Before eating them, wash them thoroughly as there is a high chance that they might be contaminated by pesticides. If possible, eat organic apples as they are pesticide-free.
Avoid eating apple seeds as seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous. The seeds, when consumed, release cyanide slowly into the stomach when they are being digested. Hence it could take a while before the symptoms of cyanide poisoning begin to show. Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to make absolutely sure that they are not ingesting the seeds while eating apples.
Nutritional Value of Apples
Apples, primarily contain, water and carbohydrates in them. Apples contain high amounts of simple sugars like glucose and fructose. They are also a rich source of insoluble and dietary fibres. Apples also contain between 1% and 3% of the daily RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of B-complex vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid and folate.
Apples contain Vitamin C (8% of RDA) and Vitamin A, E, and K in small amounts. Apples also contain trace amounts of essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Apples are a great source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, flavonoids, and anthocyanin.
Potassium is the main mineral present in apples, which is known to improve the health of the heart. Apples are also rich in the fibre called pectin, which helps lower sugar levels, improves digestion and help with weight loss.
Benefits of Eating Apples During Pregnancy
Eating apples during pregnancy has several health benefits for both the mom-to-be and the growing baby. Vitamin C and antioxidants in apples reduce damage by free radicals in the body. The B—complex vitamins in apples help in keeping the red blood cells healthy. Eating apples during pregnancy can also be beneficial for the baby as it lowers the risk of childhood allergies and asthma. Read on to know about the health benefits of eating apples during pregnancy.
- Prevents Anaemia: Apples are a good source of iron which boosts the production of haemoglobin in the blood and prevents anaemia. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing iron-deficiency anaemia. To prevent its chances, eating iron-rich foods is recommended. You can include apples in your diet to combat this problem.
- Helps in Digestion: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can slow down the digestion process and lead to constipation. But eating apples can help. Apples contain dietary fibre that softens stools and relieves constipation and reduces flatulence, thus ensuring smooth bowel movements.
- Helps Build Immunity: Apples are a good source of Vitamin C, which can help in building immune strength. So eat this crunchy food and lower your chances of catching infections.
- Prevent Free Radicals: The phytochemicals and flavonoids present in apples are powerful antioxidants that eliminate free radicals in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules in the body that are produced as a by-product of various bodily functions. These can cause oxidation leading to damages in our cells structure, DNA and ability to function. But eating apples can help prevent the formation of free radicals, so eat apples daily.
- Provides Energy: Apples contain simple sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose that can provide you with energy instantly. So, it is a good idea to carry an apple in your purse when you go out, in case you get hungry or suffer from low blood sugar problems.
- May Keep the Heart Healthy: Eating apples daily can help lower bad cholesterol levels, plaques, and inflammation within artery walls. Yes, it can keep your heart healthy. Eating apples can also provide relief from heartburn.
- Prevents Respiratory Problems: Eating apples during pregnancy can lower the risk of developing asthma in your baby. Apples contain antioxidants that strengthen the lungs of the mom-to-be. Stronger lungs help in keeping breathing and respiratory problems at bay.
- Helps in Bone Development: Apples contain calcium which is essential for the development of strong bones in the baby. Calcium can also help strengthen your bones during pregnancy.
- Increases Memory Power: The skin of the apples contains quercetin, an antioxidant that improves memory and cognitive function. It prevents brain cell damage and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Drinking apple juice daily improves memory in the brain by stimulating a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. It also protects the brain from oxidation damage that happens due to dietary deficiencies or genetic inadequacies.
- Improves Vision: Eating apples can also do good to your eyes. Apples contain beta-carotene which is a precursor of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for eye health.
- Lowers the Chances of Birth Defects: Apples contain folate that helps prevent the occurrence of birth defects like Spina bifida in the baby. This condition is a neural tube defect that causes serious developmental problems in the baby.
- Helps Keep the Gums Healthy: The skin of apples contains fibre that acts like a toothbrush and cleans teeth and gums by removing food debris and scrubbing away plaque. The fibrous texture of apples also stimulates gums. Thus, chewing on an apple after a meal can help remove surface deposits from the teeth.
- Softens the Gallstones: Gallstones are small, hard crystalline stones in the gallbladder formed from bile pigments, calcium salts, and cholesterol. They can cause severe pain and block the bile duct. Eating apples and drinking apple juice during pregnancy can help in softening the gallstones so that they can be expelled with a bowel movement. This way, surgical removal of gallstones can be avoided.
Can You Eat Green Apples During Pregnancy?
The health benefits offered by green apples are similar to that of red apples. You can eat green apples during pregnancy as they are healthy too. Green apples contain less sugar and more fibre as compared to red apples. They have a thicker skin and a crisp tartness. Eating green apples is especially good for a woman who is concerned about her carbohydrate and sugar intake during pregnancy. Red apples contain more antioxidants like anthocyanin that eliminate free radicals from the body and have anti-inflammatory properties but green apples are rich in antioxidants too. Green apples can also control blood pressure levels. So you can eat red as well as green apples, they are equally healthy!
Are There Any Side Effects?
Although apples are very good for you and your baby during pregnancy, you must consume them in moderation. Excessive consumption of apples can lead to certain problems during pregnancy.
- It can slow down the metabolic rate: The excess carbohydrate from eating too many apples can increase blood sugar and prevent the body from burning fat, thus slowing down metabolism.
- It can lead to unwanted weight gain: Eating too many apples can increase the daily recommended calorie intake. This can cause issues with managing weight in the future.
Most medical health professionals agree that apples and apple juice are very healthy and beneficial for a pregnant woman and the baby growing in her womb. But that is not to say that you should include this fruit in your pregnancy diet. Eat this fruit in moderation and include other healthy fruits and veggies in your diet too. Follow a well-balanced diet during pregnancy and you and your baby will be fine!