Eating Cherries during Pregnancy – Benefits, Recipes & Precautions
Pregnant women are often advised to consume a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Among the fruits that are highly recommended during pregnancy are cherries, which are an excellent source of Vitamin C. But, the fruit may not be safe for every pregnant lady to consume as some might develop allergies towards it. In case you are not allergic to the fruit, you should still know its benefits and side effects to avoid or treat any medical issues caused by eating cherries. Read on to know all about eating the fruit during pregnancy.
Is It Safe to Eat Cherries During Pregnancy?
Cherries are safe to consume during pregnancy. They are loaded with Vitamin C and other nutrients that boost immunity in pregnant women. However, ensure you pit them before eating them as swallowing the seeds could be dangerous.
Nutrients in Cherries
As mentioned earlier, cherries are a good source of Vitamin C. The fruit also has some more nutrients that are deemed healthy and essential for pregnant women and the foetus growing in their wombs. Here’s a summary of the essential nutrients present in a cup of cherries:
- Calories – 97 cal
- Carbohydrates – 25 grams
- Vitamin C – 18% of Daily value
- Fibre – 3 grams
- Protein – 2 grams
- Potassium – 10% of Daily value
- Manganese – 5% of Daily value
- Copper – 5% of Daily value
Now that you know that cherries are safe to eat during pregnancy and also how nutritious they are, here are some health benefits you’d gain if you eat cherries during pregnancy.
Benefits of Eating Cherries During Pregnancy
Cherries are a rich source of nutrients. Listed below are some of the benefits of eating cherries during pregnancy.
- It is a great fruit to be eaten during pregnancy because it helps in improving the blood flow to the placenta, which provides nutrition and oxygen to the baby.
- Since they are loaded with healthy minerals, vitamins, enzymes, folic acid, etc., cherries help keep ailments at bay during pregnancy by boosting your immunity.
- The sweet and sour taste of cherries helps in combating common nausea during pregnancy.
- Cherries contain fibre which helps in preventing constipation and eases bowel movement.
- Cherries, when eaten dried, help cure diarrhoea.
- Cherries are also a rich source of iron. Consuming a healthy amount of cherries can help treat anaemia during pregnancy.
- The melatonin present in cherries relaxes the nerves and helps prevent anxiety in pregnant women, thus promoting sound sleep.
- The anthocyanins in cherries are beneficial in protecting the neural cells and improving brain health of the foetus. It also helps in curing migraines in the would-be-mother, which are caused due to the fluctuations in the estrogen level.
- Most pregnant women suffer from oedema (fluid retention), which can be prevented by including cherries in the daily diet.
- The antioxidants and Vitamin C present in cherries prevent inflammation, which is common during pregnancy.
- Cherries are juicy and have high water content. Therefore, they can help prevent dehydration.
- The potassium in cherries boosts energy, thereby avoiding fatigue in pregnant women. It also helps in controlling blood pressure levels, which can prove to be fatal to the foetus as well as the mother.
After knowing how cherries can be beneficial to you during pregnancy, you are probably wondering how you can consume them. Well, you can consume cherries after washing them thoroughly, but that might not be enough for you. So, here are a few simple cherry recipes you can try and make the most of this delicious fruit.
Cherry Recipes You Can Enjoy During Pregnancy
Cherries can be paired and relished with various other foods. Here are a few cherry recipes that you can enjoy during pregnancy:
1. Cherry Lassi
- 2 cups of yoghurt
- 2 cups of milk
- 4 cups fresh deseeded cherries
- Sugar (as per taste)
- A pinch of salt
- Blend all the ingredients in a blender.
- Pour it in a glass and garnish with some chopped cherries.
2. Cherry Halwa
- 2 to 3 cups of deseeded cherries
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 teaspoon water
- 1/2 cup ghee
- ½ cup each of chopped walnuts, cashew nuts & raisins
- Sugar (as per taste)
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder
- Add 1 – 2 tbsp of ghee in a frying pan. Fry the chopped nuts and raisins till they turn golden brown.
- Remove the fried nuts and add the cherries. Cook them until they become soft.
- Then add the sugar and stir it occasionally. Crush the cherries with the ladle in the process. Continue until the cherries are fully cooked.
- Mix the cornstarch with some water and add to the pan. Continue stirring it till it thickens.
- Once it thickens, check the consistency (if you can draw a line on the ladle with your finger, it is the right consistency).
- Reduce the flame and put a tablespoon of ghee. Keep stirring till it is mixed well with the cherry paste. Then add another tablespoon of ghee.
- Continue the process until the paste stops absorbing ghee. At this point, you can see some ghee floating above the mixture.
- Then switch off the stove, add the cardamom powder and the fried chopped dry fruits.
- You can have this halwa either hot or cold.
3. Cherry Chuski
- ½ cup chopped fresh cherries (pitted)
- 1 cup of castor sugar
- 1 cup of water
- ½ teaspoon edible red colour (optional)
- Ice cream sticks
- Mix water and castor sugar in a saucepan. On a low flame, stir it continuously until the sugar dissolves.
- Turn off the flame and let it cool.
- Cook the pitted cherries in a pressure cooker till they are soft (1 to 2 whistles).
- Then puree the cooked cherries.
- Add the sugar syrup to the puree.
- Use a fine sieve to strain the puree. You may add some edible red colour at this point if you wish to.
- Pour the sorbet into ice cream moulds and freeze it till they set.
4. Cherry Lemonade
- 1 cup of fresh cherries
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Some cold water
- Sugar (as per taste)
- Lemon wedges and mint leaves (for garnishing)
- Wash the cherries and pit them.
- Blend the cherries with some lemon juice and water.
- Strain the liquid.
- Add sugar and some more water to the mixture.
- Pour it into glasses and garnish it with lemon wedges and mint leaves.
- You can also muddle some mint leaves and add to the drink.
So, these are a few ways you can include cherries into your pregnancy diet. But, because this period is critical health-wise, your body may or may not respond well to the fruit. It is, therefore, better that you are aware of the possible side effects cherries could have on you during pregnancy and the precautions you should take.
Side Effects of Eating Cherries During Pregnancy
Cherries are packed with nutrients. However, some pregnant ladies might experience side-effects after consuming them.
- Although cherries are said to be anti-inflammatory, they may trigger an allergic reaction in some women during pregnancy, like oral allergy syndrome.
- Consuming too many cherries can be harmful, even if you are not allergic to cherries. It may result in anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis in rare cases, which can prove to be fatal.
- Eating too many cherries may cause bloating, gas and stomach ache. Therefore, it is advised to consume cherries in moderation.
- The sweeter varieties of cherries have a higher concentration of natural sugar. Too much of the fruit is likely to raise the blood sugar level. So, it is advisable for women with gestational diabetes to avoid this fruit.
- Eating large quantities of dried, sweetened cherries or maraschino cherries can cause excess weight gain in pregnant women. Therefore, watch your portion and avoid eating too many of them or don’t eat them at all.
Precautions to Take While Consuming Cherries
Here are some of the precautions that you need to take before eating cherries. These precautions must be taken by everyone who wants to eat cherries.
- Remember to wash the cherries well before eating them as they may cause infections and pose health issues for the mother as well as the foetus.
- Always eat pitted cherries because the pit contains prussicacid/ cyanide, which is a poisonous chemical. If you do happen to pop a cherry with the pit, just remove it immediately and not chew on it.
- Remember to consult your doctor before including cherries in your pregnancy diet.
- Dried cherries are coated with sulphites to preserve them. If you are allergic to sulphite, avoid them. In case you have a craving to eat dried cherry, keep it dipped in warm water for half an hour so that the sulphites are washed off before you eat them.
Want to know more about cherry fruit in pregnancy? Here is a list of frequently asked questions that may help.
1. Can I consume maraschino cherries when pregnant?
Maraschino cherries are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, which are essential for the growth and development of the foetus. However, consuming too many of them could raise your blood sugar levels.
2. Is it safe to eat dried cherries during pregnancy?
Dried cherries are laced with sulphites to preserve them. Therefore, it may trigger inflammation in pregnant women who are allergic to sulphites.
3. How to select fresh cherries?
Select the ones which have a green stem attached to them and feel firm to touch. Also, look for a deep red colour as it signifies the cherries are ripe and ready to be eaten.
It is a known fact that eating cherries during pregnancy is beneficial for the mother as well as the unborn baby. However, remember to eat them in moderation since too many of them may do more harm than good.
Also Read: Consuming Kiwi Fruit in Pregnancy