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Undoubtedly pregnancy is both exciting and rewarding, but it does come with its share of dos and don’ts. Pregnant women are especially not at liberty to consume everything that they want during this time. Eating certain foods like pineapples and papayas are considered risky and are primarily avoided by pregnant women due to the fear of miscarriages.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pineapple?
Although pineapple and pregnancy don’t quite resonate with many, it is perfectly safe to eat pineapples during pregnancy. Adding a cup or two of pineapples is not just safe, but may even have health benefits for both you and your little one. Pineapple is usually shunned by pregnant women as it contains an enzyme called bromelain which may be responsible for miscarriages when present in your body in large quantities. Try to limit your pineapple intake to seven or eight cups in a week. You can also choose canned pineapples as bromelain is extracted from the fruit during the canning process.
Health Benefits of Eating Pineapple during Pregnancy
Pineapples, when consumed in the right amount, have a lot to offer to pregnant women. Some of the health benefits of eating pineapples during pregnancy include:
- They are a rich source of vitamin C. One cup of pineapples can provide 80 to 85 mg of vitamin C, which meets the daily requirement during pregnancy. These vitamins help boost immunity in the body and also prevent and repair the cell damage that takes place in the body. Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen in the body, a structural protein that is in charge of the growth of your baby’s skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage.
- It also has manganese which promotes bone health and prevents the risk of osteoporosis.
- Pineapple contains vitamin B1 or thiamine, which regulates the heart, nervous system and is essential for the functioning of the muscles.
- Vitamin B6 present is pineapples promote the production of red blood cells, thereby preventing anaemia. It also produces antibodies and boosts energy along with relieving your morning sickness.
- Copper in the pineapple is necessary during the formation of your baby’s heart. It also aids in the production of red blood cells.
- The dietary fibres in pineapple prevent constipation during pregnancy.
- The fruit is also a good source of iron which helps produce red blood cells. It boosts the production of folic acid, which is vital in pregnant women as it prevents congenital disabilities in babies.
- Bromelain present in the fruit is the reason for many to avoid the fruit. However, it also helps clear out gut bacteria and also helps repair any damages in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Water retention and swelling are common during pregnancy. Pineapple is a diuretic; which means that it helps remove excess liquid from your body.
- Varicose veins are when the veins in the leg of pregnant women swell, twist and enlarge causing pain. Bromelain is known to reduce the formation of fibrous deposits on these veins and lower discomfort.
- Bromelain is a natural blood thinner and can lower blood pressure in pregnant women. It can also prevent the formation of blood clots.
- The aroma of pineapples is known to enhance mood and lower stress, which can help prevent depression and anxiety that many pregnant women face.
Risks of having Pineapple during Pregnancy
The negative effects of pineapple on pregnancy are only prominent when consumed in large amounts; unless you have an underlying condition that may be aggravated due to the fruit. Here are a few risks that you may need to keep in mind before eating pineapple during pregnancy.
- Pineapples have acids that can contribute to acid reflux or heartburn. So, if you have a weak digestive system or a sensitive stomach, it is best to avoid it.
- The bromelain in pineapples is known to soften the cervix and lead to miscarriage or premature labour if it accumulates in excess in the body. It may also cause uterine contractions, rashes, and vomiting during the first trimester of your pregnancy.
- Pineapples contain a lot of sugar which is not advisable for women with gestational diabetes.
- Pineapples have high-calorie content and hence not recommended for pregnant women who are overweight.
- Bromelain is also responsible for diarrhoea if consumed in large quantities.
- If you have low blood pressure, it is best to avoid pineapple, as it can further lower your blood pressure.
In case you’re not used to eating pineapples and are trying it for the first time, you may have a few allergic reactions like itching, swelling in the mouth, runny nose or asthma in some cases.
Myths about Eating Pineapple in Pregnancy
There is a myth that eating pineapple induces labour. However, this is may be true only if it is consumed in unusually large quantities and there is no evidence that eating pineapple in normal amounts can lead to such a condition. You would probably need to eat around seven to ten pineapples all at once to cause this reaction.
How much Pineapple can a Pregnant Woman Eat?
It is best not to eat any pineapple during the first trimester. During the second trimester, you can eat around 50 to 100 gram of pineapple in a week. In the third trimester around 250 gram of pineapple in a day can be consumed. However, since excess pineapples can cause uterine contractions, the quantity consumed should be regulated carefully. You can also check with your doctor about the amount of pineapple you can eat based on your body weight and height.
How to Include Pineapple in your Diet
Pineapples can be combined with various dishes for a delicious bite if you aren’t willing to just eat them plain. Here are a few interesting ways to include pineapple in your diet:
- Grill a few pieces of pineapple and add them to your pork chops to accentuate the taste.
- Mix some pineapple cubes with fresh yogurt.
- Add it on a kabob stick along with meat and vegetables.
- Freeze pineapple chunks and blend them to make a smoothie.
- Make simple pineapple popsicles for a summer day.
- Finely chop the pineapple to make salsa.
- Grill pineapple slices for an easy dessert.
- Make a fruit salad with pineapple and other fruits.
- Add pineapples as a topping to your chicken and spinach salad.
- Add grilled pineapple slices to your chicken sandwich.
- Make a Hawaiian pineapple pizza.
- Consume pineapple juice
When to avoid Pineapple
It is best to avoid pineapple in the following cases:
- If you have gestational diabetes, as it contains high sugar content.
- If you have low blood pressure, as it will lower it further.
- If you’re in your first trimester. This is a precaution to avoid consuming bromelain.
- If you’re allergic to latex or pollen, you may be allergic to the fruit. Hence it is best to avoid it.
- If you have a high-risk pregnancy and you may already be at risk of miscarriage, it is best to avoid eating pineapple as a precaution.
The debate around whether pregnant women can eat pineapple has been going on for a long time. But can pineapple induce labour? As already mentioned, you would need to consume pineapple in unusually large quantities (about seven to ten pineapples at a go) for it to affect your labour. However, in case you are still unsure, you can always reach out to your doctor and see what is best for you.