Eating right during pregnancy is very important for the safety of both the mother and child. There are many foods that pregnant women should avoid, even if they appear to be healthy in other respects. Excessive consumption of some foods, even those that are nutritionally sound, may be harmful during pregnancy, also there are certain fruits that should be completely avoided during pregnancy. The litchi is one of the most popular and delicious seasonal fruits. This tropical fruit, whose flavor resembles rambutan and longan, is highly desired by pregnant women for its sweet, floral taste. It has been rumored that litchis are unsuitable during pregnancy. Could that be true? How safe is litchi during pregnancy?
Is It Safe To Eat Litchis During Pregnancy?
Litchi is an extremely nutritious fruit that contains elements that are beneficial during pregnancy. However, that does not mean you should eat litchis excessively to make use of their nutrients. Eating too much litchi during pregnancy can cause a number of unwanted side effects.
If you really crave litchis, there’s nothing wrong with having a few every now and then. But remember to practice moderation. If you exceed the limit, it can prove to be dangerous as it contains high amounts of sugar and can cause related complications. Moreover, if you have any underlying medical condition, it is best to consult your healthcare provider or dietician before you include litchi in your pregnancy diet.
The Nutritional Profile Of Litchis
The primary components of litchis are water and carbohydrates, the majority of which are found in the form of sugars. In addition to that, they have a high vitamin C content and zero cholesterol. They don’t have as much fiber as a lot of other fruits do, which is a downside.
According to the source, 100 grams of lichi carry 66 calories. Also,
- Litchis (100 gms) contain 16.5 grams of carbohydrates, 15.2 grams of which are sugar and 1.3 grams of fiber
- The total fat content of litchi is less than one gram (0.4 grams), but it contains 65 mg of omega 3 and 67 mg of omega 6 fatty acids
- It is rich in vitamin C. 100 grams of litchi provides 119% of the daily value of vitamin C
- It also contains traces of vitamin K, niacin, folate, and choline
- It contains traces of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, and selenium
- It also contains a decent amount of potassium and copper
Fresh litchi is probably alkaline, whereas dried, canned, or otherwise processed litchi is acidic in nature. Additionally, fresh litchis are gluten-free1.
Related Reading: 21 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
Health Benefits Of Eating Litchis During Pregnancy
Being rich in vitamin C and a decent amount of other vital nutrients eating litchis during pregnancy may benefit in many ways. Moreover, it is a good source of proanthocyanins and polyphenolic compounds2. However, keep in mind that regular and excessive consumption of litchi during pregnancy is not recommended.
The following are some of the benefits of eating litchi during pregnancy3:
1. Help to enhance immunity
Many infections can be contracted during pregnancy because the immune system weakens during this time. Litchis contain a significant amount of vitamin C, a nutrient that is crucial to the immune system’s ability to function normally. Vitamin C also aids in the body’s ability to fight common infections during pregnancy such as the common cold and flu. Lychee fruits contain Oligonol, which has antioxidant and anti-influenza virus properties4. Antioxidants are critical in the fight against free radicals and in the prevention of oxidative damage. Thus, consuming litchis is one of the natural ways to boost immunity during pregnancy.
2. Helps to maintain blood pressure
Litchi is a potassium-rich, low-sodium fruit that can help to maintain a healthy blood pressure level during pregnancy. In addition to its role in metabolic processes, fluid balance is crucial in the management of hypertension. By maintaining a healthy fluid balance, this fruit helps to reduce high blood pressure.
One of the most important benefits of potassium during pregnancy is that it helps keep the cardiovascular system healthy by decreasing the constriction of arteries and blood vessels. Do you know that dried lychee has almost three times as much potassium as fresh litchi? Additionally, oligonol extracted from lychee fruit is a vasodilator. Further, oligonol derived from lychee fruit too is a vasodilator5.
3. May contribute to fighting anemia
Though the iron content of litchi is not exceptional, it can aid in the fight against anemia. This is because the fruit’s high vitamin C content facilitates iron absorption from other sources.
Furthermore, Litchi is a treasure trove of the nutrients required for the body’s blood production. Copper, manganese, folate, magnesium, and iron are essential for the formation of red blood cells (RBC), and this fruit provides them.
4. Energy booster
Litchi is a good source of vitamin C. It aids in the production of collagen and carnitine, both of which are necessary for fat breakdown. Instant energy is released as a result of the breakdown of the fat. In addition, the sugar and water content of litchis are both sources of immediate energy. Therefore, if you are experiencing extreme fatigue, you can consume a few litchis occasionally.
Related Reading: Fatigue During Pregnancy
5. Enhance digestion and prevents constipation
Most pregnant women suffer from irregular bowel movements and constipation. Thanks to the surging pregnancy hormones. Litchi is not a great source of fiber like many other fruits. It does, however, contain dietary fiber as well as a substantial amount of water. This may help to alleviate constipation during pregnancy and improve digestion.
Furthermore, litchi is rich in flavanol. Its anti-inflammatory properties provide hepatoprotective effects6, thereby improving the overall health of the liver. Bile is produced by the liver and plays an important role in digestion. Eating lychee during pregnancy’s second trimester helps to relieve constipation.
Related Reading: What Causes Evening Nausea In Pregnancy?
Side Effects Of Consuming Litchis During Pregnancy
Consuming litchi does not pose any immediate danger to an unborn child. However, when consumed in excessive quantities, litchi can bring about many adverse side effects.
The following are some of the side effects of consuming litchis excessively during pregnancy:
1. Body’s internal temperature rises
Traditionally, lychees are considered a “hot” fruit in Chinese medicine. Overconsumption has been linked to a variety of health problems, including breakouts of acne, sore throats, and more7. One of its potential adverse effects is increasing core body temperature. Sometimes “hot” food can throw the body’s nutrient levels out of balance. An excessive increase in the internal heat of the mother can be dangerous for the unborn baby, and litchis are known to generate a lot of internal heat. This is considered one of the major disadvantages of litchi during pregnancy.
2. Can trigger a mouth ulcer
Litchi overconsumption can result in sore throats, mouth ulcers, and gum problems8.
3. Hemorrhage and other side effects
Eating too many litchis may lead to a hemorrhage during pregnancy9. Additionally, there is an elevated possibility of catching infections10. Toxins that occur naturally in the lychee fruit are what is responsible for its toxic effects, which include high fever, convulsions, and seizures. The baby may contract certain infections if you eat too many litchis during pregnancy. This could even result in stillbirth.
4. Increases the risk of gestational diabetes
Litchi has high sugar content. It can potentially spike sugar levels in the blood, which may lead to the development of diabetes during pregnancy. So, eating beyond limits can increase the risk of gestational diabetes and worsen the condition if the expecting woman already has it. Stay away from this tropical fruit if you are pregnant and have a history of gestational diabetes.
Related Reading: Everything About Artificial Sweeteners During Pregnancy
5. Possibility of allergy
Litchis can cause a variety of allergies if consumed in large quantities. Pregnant women who eat a lot of litchis may experience itching, swelling of the lips, hives, and other unpleasant symptoms.
How Many Litchis Can A Pregnant Woman Eat In A Day?
About eight litchis are safe for a pregnant woman to consume on a daily basis. However, this number should be adjusted based on the total calorie needs for each trimester. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid eating fruit right after meals because the increased carbohydrate content could raise blood sugar.
How to Eat Litchi During Pregnancy?
There are numerous methods for pregnant women to consume litchi. Since litchi is a delicious and juicy fruit, one can eat it directly by removing the outer covering. Here are a few ways that pregnant women can enjoy litchi.
- Make a milkshake with litchi. It is delicious and has all the nutritional benefits of milk
- Litchi can be added to yogurt to give it a new flavor
- Litchi pulp can be added to desserts
- Litchi can be juiced or blended with other fruits to create a mocktail
Litchi is one of those summer fruits that can be found in almost every region of India. Litchi, with its high water content, is a perfect fruit for the summer. It is generally safe to consume litchi during pregnancy, as long as you do not overindulge and maintain healthy blood sugar.
Consuming litchi juice on an occasional basis is considered to be safe during pregnancy. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be ingesting it every day.
A pregnant woman should limit herself to one small glass of litchi juice per day. One should also ensure that the juice is freshly squeezed, as canned juices are more likely to contain preservatives and a higher amount of sugar.
According to times now, lychees rapidly decrease blood sugar levels when eaten on an empty stomach. Excessive tiredness, dizziness, memory loss, drowsiness, and even death can be the result of this.