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Pregnancy is a delicate time, during which a balanced diet is essential. However, many pregnant ladies find themselves wondering which foods they can eat during this life-changing phase, and it can be quite daunting too to make a decision. One such fruit that most of them are uncertain about is the pear fruit, which is a delicious tropical fruit that has been around for ages.
Although rich in nutrients, some rumours associated with the fruit might make you rethink eating it during pregnancy. Well, you need not fret over it any more. Read on to understand how pears are helpful during pregnancy. Later in the article, we will also share some ways you can eat the fruit, and the precautions you must take while consuming them. Let’s get started with the most basic questions – is it safe to eat pears during pregnancy?
Is It Safe to Consume Pears During Pregnancy?
Pears are completely safe to eat during pregnancy. They have low calories and high nutritional value, which is essential for pregnant women. However, care must be taken to wash them well before consuming; which this applies to all fruits with skins. Washing pears thoroughly helps get rid of harmful pathogens that may be residing on its surface and cause diseases like toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, or severe pregnancy complications. Although it is not required, you may also peel the skin before eating the fruit.
How Many Pears Can You Eat During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women can eat around 1 to 2 medium-sized pears every day. You can decrease the number if you think it is too much, but try not to eat more than two a day.
So, how does the fruit benefit during pregnancy? These health benefits will help you understand why pears are recommended in a pregnancy diet.
Health Benefits of Eating Pear Fruit During Pregnancy
Pears are sweet, tart-tasting fruits mostly available during the summer months. They are nutrient-rich and crucial for the development of a healthy pregnancy. Here are the nutrients found in pear fruit.
Pregnant women eat to provide nutrients for two and require more energy-dense foods than ever. Energy is essential for all body processes, including the growth of the foetus, the development of a pregnancy, milk production, etc. Even though pears are low in calories, they are still a source of healthy carbs.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an extremely important antioxidant as it governs several functions in the human body. Some of them are:
- Vitamin C fights free radicals in the cells, which can cause oxidative damage and interfere with the cellular reactions essential for growth, development and energy production.
- It strengthens gums and teeth in pregnant women.
- It helps absorb nutrients from food, especially iron. Iron is crucial in the development of the baby, especially in the formation of blood, and the circulatory system.
Pears contain potassium in small amounts, but it is still responsible for several body functions at the cellular and tissue levels. Read on to know some of its benefits:
- Potassium helps in the maintenance of blood pressure levels as well as heart health in both pregnant women and their foetuses.
- It helps balance the electrolytes present in the blood as well as tissue fluid, keeping the body functioning efficiently.
- It reduces the likelihood of leg and abdominal cramps.
- It stabilises the nervous system, thus improving motor functions and coordination.
4. Vitamin A
Pears are rich in Vitamin A, which is absolutely essential during pregnancy right from the first trimester until delivery. Deficiency of this nutrient can cause severe problems during pregnancy. Here are some more benefits of Vitamin A:
- Vitamin A helps in building the immune system in conjunction with other nutrients and reduces the chances of contracting infectious diseases. It is derived from beta-carotene, which helps prevent diseases that are caused by pathogenic bacteria.
- It is known to improve visual health and promote eye development in the foetus.
- Vitamin A is known to influence foetal growth and development. For example, the respiratory system, nervous system, circulatory system, etc. Further, organs like the kidneys and bones also need it for proper development.
5. Copper and Magnesium
Copper and magnesium are essential micronutrients that play an important role in pregnancy. We have listed some of their benefits below for you:
- Copper helps in the production of red blood cells, along with iron and Vitamin B. It is crucial as pregnant women have around a litre of blood more than non-pregnant adults.
- Copper is helpful in the development and functioning of several organs and helps maintain the health of the nerves and blood vessels.
- Copper is required in the continuous maintenance of the skeletal system, thereby strengthening the body.
- Magnesium is essential in relaxing body muscles during pregnancy, thereby reducing physical stress and fatigue.
- They also help in promoting good quality sleep.
Fibre is quite essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Here’s how the fibre content in Pears can help during pregnancy:
- Pregnant women experience many digestive problems due to space constriction caused by the growing foetus. A fibre–rich diet helps ease constipation and bloating.
- Fibre consumption in pregnant women has been linked to regulating blood pressure and reduce hypertension during pregnancy. And when the blood pressure levels are maintained and there is sodium-potassium balance, it could lower the chances of developing conditions like preeclampsia.
7. Vitamin B6
The B-Vitamins are a set of essential nutrients for pregnant women. Deficiency of these vitamins can cause foetal defects. An essential vitamin from the B-Vitamins is Vitamin B6. Here are some ways it benefits both the mother and the baby:
- Vitamin B6 supports helps in foetal nerve tissue growth.
- It keeps the body healthy by regulating immune responses against infections.
- It reduces the frequency of pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting, which is common during the first trimester.
8. Folic Acid
Folic acid is another essential nutrient required for foetal growth. Some of its benefits are:
- Folic acid supports the production and development of blood and the circulatory system.
- It also helps in the development of the neural tube, which is crucial in the functioning of the baby’s nervous system.
How to Select and Store Pears
Like all fruits, pears have to be selected and sorted before being eaten. Here’s how you can pick the best and tastiest pears.
- Appearance and Fragrance: Pears should look fresh, without any spots, bruises or marks on the skin. They should smell fruity and appetising. Any other appearance or odour might indicate that the pears have been in storage for too long.
- Storage: Pears can be kept in the fridge, but it is essential to keep them separately in a brown paper bag. This is because the fruit will absorb strong odours of the foods kept in the fridge. Pears are ideally consumed within one week of storage. Unripe pears can be kept in the dark area of the room for a few days, and consumed after they ripen.
- Consumption: The fruit is best consumed a couple of hours after meals. This is because the acids in the fruit can irritate the inner tissue lining of an empty stomach, leading to diarrhoea and vomiting. Further, combining pears and fresh milk tends to result in a laxative effect, so this must be avoided, too.
Including Pear Fruit in Your Pregnancy Diet
In addition to eating the fruit fresh, here’s how you can consume them while pregnant.
- Baked Pears: Pears can be baked with nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar in an oven. Set the temperature at 180 degrees and bake for 15 minutes until they are golden brown on each side.
- Raw Pear: Pears also taste best when consumed raw. So go ahead and include 1-2 pear in your pregnancy diet.
Things to Bear in Mind When Eating Pears
Pears are safe to eat under most conditions, but overeating might lead to health problems. Here’s what you need to be aware of to be able to relish the fruit and stay healthy.
- Thoroughly wash the fruit before eating it to get rid of dirt and microbes that it may carry.
- Eating too many pears can cause gastric problems like bloating, diarrhoea, and vomiting.
- Limit the quantity if you have diabetes.
- Unripe pears have hard fibre which can cause stomach problems, so eat only ripe pears that have developed a yellow or reddish-orange colour.
Pears are among the most popular and healthy fruits available. They are very nutritious, especially for pregnant women. As long as you consume the fruit in limited quantities and take precautionary measures as explained above, there is no need for you to worry about eating the fruit during pregnancy.