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An exciting period for the mother-to-be, pregnancy is a time to eat healthy to ensure that the baby gets all the nutrition it needs to grow in the womb. Eating more fruits and vegetables is recommended for all pregnant women. Fruits and vegetables are full of essential nutrients and packed with fibre. They provide the baby with minerals and vitamins necessary for its growth. One such nutritious fruit is the banana. Bananas are tropical fruits full of essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and dietary fibre.
Is Banana Good during Pregnancy?
Bananas contain high amounts of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, and minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, and selenium. All these nutrients help in the healthy development of the baby in the womb.
Bananas also help in relieving some side effects of pregnancy and have several health benefits for both the mom and the baby.
Amazing Benefits of Eating Banana during Pregnancy
Some of the benefits of eating bananas during pregnancy are:
- Relieves Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy: Bananas are a rich source of Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 can control nausea and morning sickness. Hence, eating bananas in pregnancy’s first trimester relieves nausea and reduces morning sickness.
- Helps Reduce Oedema: Many pregnant women experience oedema or water retention in their body in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy caused by the hormone progesterone. This results in swelling of the ankles, feet and other joints. Avoiding salty foods and including bananas in the diet will help reduce the swelling and water retention. Thus, eating bananas in pregnancy’s 2nd trimester helps control oedema.
- Provides Quick Energy Boost: Bananas are high in carbohydrates as they contain simple sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose that can be metabolised quickly by the body to provide an immediate energy boost. During the last trimester of pregnancy, the mother to be may feel a drop in her energy level. Eating a banana can give you a quick energy boost. So, keep this fruit handy, like eating a banana in pregnancy’s 3rd trimester can help fight fatigue and increase your energy levels.
- Good Source of Folate: Bananas are a good source of folate, which is necessary for the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Eating bananas during pregnancy improves folate levels in the body and helps in preventing folate deficiencies that can cause birth defects in the baby.
- Helps prevent Anaemia: Anaemia is a condition where there is a deficiency of haemoglobin in the blood, leading to reduced levels of red blood cells in the body. This causes paleness of skin, fatigue, and is very harmful for the baby. Bananas help prevent anaemia and are a good source of Iron.
- Help in Development of the Baby’s Nervous System: Bananas are a rich source of the water-soluble vitamin B6, which is necessary for the development of the central nervous system of the baby. Thus, regularly consuming bananas in the first trimester of pregnancy is beneficial for the baby’s brain and nerve development.
- Relieves Constipation: Bananas have high amounts of dietary fibre, which help in stimulating bowel movements and reduce bloating in the stomach due to gas. A medium sized banana contains about 6 grams of fibre. Constipation is a common side effect of pregnancy, as high levels of the hormone progesterone cause the relaxation of muscles in the bowels. Bananas can help fight this problem and improve bowel movements, thus relieving constipation.
- Helps Maintain Blood Pressure: Bananas are a rich source of potassium. A cup of mashed bananas weighing 225 grams contains over 800 milligrams of potassium. This is an essential mineral that controls blood pressure levels in the body. So, regularly eating bananas during pregnancy can help in avoiding fluctuations in blood pressure.
- Helps Prevent Acidity and Heartburn: Bananas secrete a lot of mucus, which helps protect the stomach and oesophageal walls from gastric acid. Acidity and heartburn are a common side effect of pregnancy. Eating bananas during pregnancy can keep acidity and heartburn at bay. It also aids in overall digestion.
- Good for Development of Bones: Bananas are an excellent source of calcium, which is necessary for the development of strong bones in both the baby and the mother. Calcium is also necessary for regulation of muscle contraction in the body.
- Good Source of Vitamin C: Bananas are a good source of vitamin C. Around 225 g of banana contains over 19 mg of vitamin C. This vitamin, also called ascorbic acid, is essential for absorption of iron in the body. It also helps in growth of bones, repairing tissues, and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and helps in fighting off infections. Eating bananas during pregnancy gives the baby and mother to be all the benefits of vitamin C.
- Helps in Treating Diarrhoea: Bananas are helpful for treating diarrhoea. They are rich in fibre but gentle enough to be easily processed by a weakened digestive tract. The potassium and the soluble fibre pectin present in bananas can help condense stools and act as a thickener in the intestine. So eating bananas during pregnancy can help soothe diarrhoea and alleviate intestinal cramps.
- Good for Breastfeeding: Bananas contain minerals, vitamin C and carbohydrates, all of which are very good for breastfeeding moms. The nutrients from bananas get passed onto the baby through the breast milk.
- Appetite Stimulant: Bananas act as an appetite stimulant. Pregnant women who suffer from a loss of appetite should consume bananas that can help stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion.
Are there any Harmful Effects of Consuming Banana when Pregnant?
Bananas are absolutely safe to consume during pregnancy. They contain plenty of nutrients which have several health benefits for both the mom and the baby. However, as with anything else, they should be eaten in moderation.
Women with gestational diabetes should not consume too many bananas as they can cause sugar levels to increase rapidly. It is best to consult your doctor about eating bananas if you suffer from gestational diabetes.
Pregnant women who are allergic to bananas should avoid eating them. Bananas contain chitinase, which is an allergen that causes the latex-fruit syndrome. This group includes other fruits like kiwis and avocados. Pregnant women who are allergic or sensitive to latex should avoid bananas.
Precautions to Take While Eating Banana
It is best to consume bananas that are fresh and clean. Avoid eating bananas that have been lying around for days, are overripe or have fully blackened skin. Also make sure to consult your doctor about including bananas in your diet, especially if you are allergic or suffer from gestational diabetes.
Best Ways to Enjoy Bananas
Bananas can be included in your diet in various ways:
- Banana Smoothie: Having a smoothie or banana milkshake in pregnancy is a great way to include the fruit in your diet. Blend a ripe banana with some strawberries and low-fat milk for a tasty snack.
- Banana Oatmeal: Add some chopped bananas and nuts like almonds to oatmeal in yoghurt for a healthy breakfast. This breakfast is high in fibre, carbohydrates and minerals and will give you an energy boost that will last all day.
- Banana Walnut Muffins: Add mashed bananas and walnut to muffin batter before baking to make banana walnut muffins. These make a great snack for any time of the day, especially those between meal cravings.
- Banana Ice Cream: Thaw frozen bananas and blend them with low fat, sugar-free ice cream to make banana flavoured ice cream. Enjoy this healthy treat on a hot summer day.
- Use it in Sandwiches and Fruit Salads: Use bananas in peanut butter sandwiches or fruit salads to benefit from all its nutrients.
- Chips: You can have banana chips during pregnancy when you have a craving to munch on something. However, banana chips are usually deep fried and salty. You can make a healthy, oil-free version by using low sodium salt and baking instead of frying.
1. Is Red Banana Safe During Pregnancy?
Red bananas are absolutely safe to eat during pregnancy. They are similar to yellow bananas in nutritional content. They also help improve lactation.
2. How Many Bananas Can I Eat Daily?
Bananas, like anything else, should be eaten in moderation to benefit from their nutrients. You can eat 1 to 3 medium-sized bananas in a day. However, make sure to get your doctor’s advice on the number of bananas to include in your diet. Eating raw banana during pregnancy by cooking them into a savoury dish is also another way to include bananas in your diet. Raw bananas are also called green or unripe bananas and are cooked and added to savoury dishes.
Thus, it is evident that bananas are an excellent source of nutrition for pregnant women and have several health benefits for both the baby and the mother. So go ahead and enjoy that banana smoothie or muffin! However, make sure you talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet during pregnancy.