Are dried fruits healthy to eat while you are pregnant? If you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant soon, you may have heard conflicting information about whether dried fruits are good or bad for you and your baby.
The truth is that dried fruits are full of healthy nutrients that are especially important during pregnancy. Here are some nutrition facts for you to consider about dried fruits during pregnancy.
• Dried fruits can help reduce some of the side effects of pregnancy, including heartburn, high blood pressure, and nausea.
• Apples, apricots, coconut, dates, and raisins are all high in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Dietary fiber of both types is essential during pregnancy, because they help protect against the common pregnancy side effects of hemorrhoids and constipation. In their dried form, fruits pack a lot of dietary fiber into a small snack.
• Dried coconut and dates are rich in protein, another essential dietary element during pregnancy. Protein has been called the “building block” of the human body, and therefore, it’s necessary for the developing baby to be formed.
• You need about 27 mg of iron daily while you’re pregnant, and some dried fruits are an excellent source of iron. Dried goji berries are among the best sources of iron. Other good choices include apples, coconuts, dates, and raisins.
• Copper is an essential mineral during pregnancy, required for the developing baby’s brain to form properly. Dried fruits can be an excellent source of copper, especially dried apricots, coconut, and dates.
• Dried fruits are packed with vitamins, which are needed during pregnancy for both parent and child. They contain vitamin E, which is necessary especially during the last month of pregnancy to keep blood pressure at a normal level and help prevent pre-eclampsia, a condition that can be dangerous.
To help you get the maximum benefits from eating dried fruits during pregnancy, remember these tips:
• Fruit contains sugar, and sugar contains calories, so it’s best to stick to a moderate amount–about a handful–of dried fruits every day. Eating more than the recommended serving size won’t necessarily add up to extra benefits.
• Choose fruits that are “sun-dried” or dried naturally. Acrylamide, a chemical used in food processing plants, can have effects on the nervous system and fertility, and it’s best to avoid it during pregnancy.
• Sulfur dioxide, an ingredient used to make dried fruits look more appealing, is safe for most people but can have a negative effect on people who have certain allergies. If you want to avoid eating sulfur dioxide, look for organic dried fruits.
• You can eat your daily allowance of dried fruits by themselves or mix them into smoothies, salads, yogurt, cereals, trail mixes, and even dessert.