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Pregnant women need to be careful about what they eat. They are also required to choose nutritious foods for a healthy pregnancy and to ensure optimal growth of the foetus. Fruits and vegetables should be a staple on every pregnant woman’s list of foods to eat. Vegetables and fruits not only contain vitamins but also vital minerals that the mother and in particular her unborn baby needs. There is some confusion with regard to tomatoes, put simply tomatoes are fruits that are considered as vegetables by experts. Tomatoes are a great option for pregnant women. Here’s why.
Can you Eat Tomatoes during Pregnancy?
Not only are tomatoes safe during pregnancy, but there are also several health benefits that tomatoes provide for pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women however, must keep in mind that too much of a good thing may not necessarily be good. This applies to tomatoes as well. Women who consume large quantities of tomatoes may experience acid reflux and nausea due to their acidic content. Tomatoes, in large quantities, could also cause abdominal pain and indigestion. The consumption of a moderate quantity of tomatoes will have several health benefits while avoiding the side effects of consuming large quantities.
Nutritional Value of Tomatoes
Health Benefits of Consuming Tomatoes during Pregnancy
1. Nutritional Value
Tomatoes, besides containing vitamins also include other nutrients like vital minerals, carbohydrates, fibre, folic acid and proteins. In short tomatoes have all the essential nutrients that a pregnant woman would need.
2. As An Energy Booster
Tomatoes are also a good source of carbohydrates and one large tomato could contain nearly thirty calories. Carbohydrates are essential to provide vital energy during pregnancy, which in turn would help pregnant women overcome lethargy, a common affliction during pregnancy. Furthermore, carbohydrates are essential for the mother because they not only provide energy but keep her digestive system running optimally. Carbohydrates also assist the foetus in developing healthily.
3. Source Of Vitamins
A single tomato of a medium size could fulfil up to forty percent of the daily dose of vitamin c and up to twenty percent of Vitamin A. Vitamin C aids in Iron absorption, while vitamin A strengthens the immune system, fights of infections and helps with tissue repair post birth. Additionally, tomatoes also contain Vitamin K which prevents blood loss and reduces the risk of haemorrhages.
4. Dietary Fibre
Pregnant women are not only required to consume nutrient-rich foods, but they also need to ensure that they get the maximum nutrients from what they consume. The fibre content of tomatoes ensures a healthy and robust digestion system.
Lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant is found especially in tomatoes. Lycopene protects from cell damage, preeclampsia and birth defects in babies.
6. As A Natural Antiseptic
The natural antiseptic properties of tomatoes help fight off germs and protect against infections, this quality of tomatoes makes them particularly beneficial for pregnant women.
7. Nicotinic Acid
Nicotinic acid found in tomatoes is known to reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Nicotinic acid improves heart function and will keep the heart healthy during pregnancy.
A lot of women face blood pressure issues during pregnancy, tomatoes are known to purify blood and improve circulation.
9. Folic Acid
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects (Neural tube is that part of the foetus which eventually develops into the spine and the brain) and other birth defects which are related to the nervous system.
Different Ways to Add Tomato in your Pregnancy Diet
If you feel the urge or are craving tomatoes while pregnant don’t worry, you can have tomatoes in various ways; it can be consumed raw, made into juice or soup, added to a salad or cooked.
- One great option is to have tomato juice during pregnancy as it would prevent weakness and improve blood pressure for the mom. Tomato juice would also ensure healthy eyesight and hair for the baby.
- Another great option is to have tomato soup during pregnancy as it is a classic soup loved by many, pregnant women can avail all the health benefits of tomatoes in a warm bowl of tomato soup.
- One convenient way to consume tomatoes is ketchup; tomato ketchup during pregnancy reduces cholesterol and makes really healthy foods palatable.
- Sun-dried tomatoes have all the nutrients of tomatoes in a concentrated form, sun dried tomato in pregnancy not only provide all the nutrients in tomatoes but are also known to reduce the risk of cancer.
How to Choose a Right Tomato?
- Never buy tomatoes that are refrigerated.
- Always buy tomatoes that are openly displayed as tomatoes packed in boxes are not easy to evaluate.
- Tomatoes should be plump and slightly weighty.
- Avoid buying tomatoes with bruised or blemished skins; good quality tomatoes should have a smooth, glossy skin.
- Ripe tomatoes are fragrant and will crush a bit when squeezed; unripe tomatoes are hard and will not crush easily if squeezed in hand.
- Tomatoes are best purchased in farmer markets.
Risks Associated with Consuming Tomato while Pregnant
While moderate consumption of tomatoes is perfectly safe for pregnant women tomatoes can cause complications if consumed in large quantities.
- Tomatoes consumed in large quantities can cause heartburn and acid reflux.
- The acidic content of tomatoes may aggravate the urinary bladder.
- Tomatoes are high in potassium, and their intake in large quantities can cause kidney problems.
- The high sodium content of tomatoes could cause some complications as well.
- Tomatoes are known to trigger a migraine in some women.
Tomatoes are a great dietary addition for pregnant women; they help pregnant women deal with the stresses of pregnancy. The ready availability of vitamins and minerals would have multiple benefits in terms of proper growth and health of the unborn baby. Pregnant women just need to take care that they do not consume too much.