Eating Dry Fruits in Pregnancy: Benefits, Risks & How to Eat

Eating dry fruits in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when you should focus on healthy eating. A balanced diet is the best way to get all the nutrients your body needs to nurture your child. There are certain foods that you should eat more of during this time while there are some that you need to avoid altogether. Dry fruits figure on the list of foods recommended for pregnant mothers due to their benefits to both mother and child.

Are Dry Fruits Safe to Eat When Pregnant?

Dry fruits are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and amino acids, making them a must for expectant mothers. This makes them safe for consumption during pregnancy but like with everything else, caution needs to be exercised in the amount you consume each day. Dry fruits contain crucial vitamins like B1-B9, C, K, E, and H. They can also satiate hunger easily which can prove helpful when pregnant.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Dry Fruits While Pregnant

Calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, and anti-oxidants are all found in dry fruits. They are also good at appeasing hunger making them a perfect snack for pregnant women.

  • Rich in dietary fibre, dry fruits are helpful in preventing constipation which can be a bane during pregnancy. Hormonal changes are the reason behind constipation but you can counter it with a high fibre diet that includes a portion of dry fruits.
  • Iron is integral to a healthy pregnancy and dry fruits like dried figs and dates can help you meet your daily requirements.
  • Dry fruits can provide you with a substantial amount of Vitamin A which is necessary for the development of your baby’s teeth and bones.
  • Vitamin C is also found in dry fruits and is essential for your immune system while helping you absorb iron.
  • The potassium found in dry fruits controls blood pressure and enhances muscle control.
  • Magnesium present in dry fruits helps in the proper development of nerves and bones in your baby.
  • The natural sugar in dry fruits can be digested easily and provides a good dose of energy to your body.
  • Dry fruits like prunes or dates are known to strengthen the muscles of the uterus which aids in a smooth delivery. It also reduces chances of bleeding post-delivery.
  • Eating dry fruits by the mother during pregnancy is believed to help reduce risks of asthma and wheezing in the babies.
  • The Vitamin E in dry fruits helps with baby’s cell and lung development. This Vitamin also regulates your blood sugar and helps safeguard your baby from asthma.

Are There Any Side Effects and Risks of Having Dry Fruits?

When eaten in moderation, dry fruits are perfectly safe for consumption during pregnancy. However, if you eat dry fruits in excess, you are at risk of developing various health issues like:

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating, and diarrhoea.
  • Dry fruits are rich in calories which can lead to excess weight gain.

Side effects: Weight gain

  • Since dry fruits contain natural sugars like fructose, they can cause tooth decay if you aren’t particular about cleaning your teeth well.
  • Some dry fruits like raisins have a high glycemic index which can bring about a surge in energy when blood sugar soars and then lead to a sugar crash and fatigue just as quickly.
  • Possibilities of allergic reactions especially to dried nuts cannot be ruled out.

Precautions

Healthy as they are, it is important to keep in mind a few precautions when consuming dry fruits during pregnancy.

  • Choose sundried fruits instead of those processed in a plant. This way you can avoid a toxin known as acrylamide that is found in food that is heated for an extended period. It is a carcinogen and can have adverse effects on the nervous system and fertility.
  • Check to see whether the dried fruits you buy have added sugar. Dry fruits contain a certain amount of natural sugars but some brands also add sugar, and this is to be avoided.
  • At times, dry fruits and nuts are available with preservatives added. These may contain sulphur dioxide that can lead to allergic reactions or respiratory issues.
  • The drying process which these fruits are subjected to causes an increase in calories. So you need to be careful about how much you eat to regulate your calorie intake.
  • Try to buy organic and preservative-free dry fruits from reputed sellers and buy only what you can eat in a month’s time.
  • If buying from local vendors, check for signs of bugs, mould, or dirt. You can also taste a piece before making up your mind to buy.
  • Store dry fruits in a clean and dry container and place them in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling.

How Much Dry Fruits Can You Consume in a Day?

Dry fruits contain a lot more calories than fresh fruits. So, you need to watch what you eat especially during pregnancy. It is recommended that you do not eat more than 100 gms of dry fruits in a day during this time. For instance, you could eat four to seven pieces of almonds, about four halves of walnuts, two dates, and about eight pistachios at a time. It is also recommended that you eat your daily dose of dry fruits before midday to help the body absorb the nutrients better.

Pregnant woman having dry fruits

Recommended Dry Fruits During Pregnancy

All dry fruits are recommended for consumption during pregnancy but ensure that you include the following in your diet on a regular basis during this special time in your life.

Dry Fruit Nutrients Calories /Cup How It Helps
Almonds Calcium, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, Vitamin E 529
  • Regulates blood pressure in mother
  • Helps develop baby’s teeth and bones.
  • Prevents low birth weight and promotes baby’s brain development.
Dried apricots Fiber, Vitamin A, Copper, Vitamin E 381
  • Prevents constipation
  • boosts the immune system
  • improves muscle and organ functions
  • lowers risk of pre-eclampsia.
Raisins Iron and fibre 488
  • Prevents constipation.
Walnuts Omega 3 fats 720
  • Aids in the development of baby’s brain and vision.
Cashew nuts Phosphorous 640
  • Encourages blood clotting and normal heart rhythm.
Dried apples Fibre, potassium 208
  • Improves bowel function
  • Improves muscle function
  • Controls blood pressure.
Pistachios Copper 330
  • Smooth functioning of organs and muscles.
Dates Fiber 502
  • Promotes digestion and regulates weight gain.
Dried fig Fiber 371
Peanuts Protein 828
  • Healthy birth weight for baby.
Dried bananas Vitamin C 360
  • Boosts immunity
  • prevents heart disease.
Pine nuts Vitamin K
  • Useful for normal blood clotting
  • Generates proteins for bones.

Tips for Having Dry Fruits

If you ask which dry fruits to eat, the answer will vary depending on whom you pose this question to. This is because there are a whole lot of misconceptions and myths associated with dry fruits. Cashews, almonds, apricots, prunes, raisins, dates, walnuts, and pistachios are some dry fruits to eat during pregnancy. Since dry fruits are nutritious, you should aim to include the recommended quantity in your diet each day. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Most dry fruits good for pregnancy can be consumed raw and make for a healthy snack when hungry during pregnancy.
  • These can also be incorporated into salads, sandwiches, and desserts like puddings or custards.

Dry fruits salad

  • Dry fruits can help curb morning sickness to some extent so blending some dry fruits with yoghurt can keep away nausea and vomiting.
  • Eliminate your worries about the quantity of dry fruits to eat by making a compote of dry fruits by soaking them in boiling water in a saucepan for about half an hour. This water can then be consumed all day long.
  • Make your own dry fruit candy by mincing them and rolling in some grated coconut. Store it in the refrigerator for consumption up to ten days.
  • Some types of dry fruits can be hard to bite into or chew. So, you can first soak them in boiling water for about ten minutes.

Pregnancy is a time when you must eat healthily and focus on your well-being and that of your child. It is important not to get overwhelmed when making food choices. You will be inundated with a flood of information on what to eat and what not to by friends and family. Consult with your doctor and gain knowledge about what is best for you and your child.

Disclaimer: This information is just a guide and not a substitute for medical advice from a qualified professional.

Also Read: Pregnancy Diet Chart – A Simple Diet Plan for a Pregnant Woman