Cranberry during pregnancy can be an excellent addition to your diet, as it boasts a plethora of benefits to your health. In addition to this, it is widely available. Cranberries can also be consumed in several different forms during pregnancy, depending on your preference. Cranberry juice during pregnancy and dried cranberries are both popular forms.
Below we look to answer a few questions regarding cranberries most often asked by pregnant women:
Is It Safe To Eat Cranberries During Pregnancy?
For the most part, it is safe to say that consuming cranberries during pregnancy is perfectly safe. However, like any other food that you might incorporate into your pregnancy diet, cranberries also bear some potential risks. It is also worth noting that like almost all other foods, cranberries are only beneficial in moderation.
Consuming too many cranberries or drinking too much cranberry juice can lead to problems, such as weight gain, diarrhea, kidney stones, and so on.
Nutritional Profile Of Cranberries
Cranberries boast a rather extensive and diverse nutritional profile, generally containing 12% Carbohydrates, 5% Fiber, 4% simple Sugars, and healthy amounts of Fat, Protein, Omega 3, and Omega 6 1. In addition to this, Cranberries also contain 90% water, making them excellent choice for staying well hydrated during pregnancy.
This also allows certain diversity in how cranberries are consumed. Depending on your preference, you can consume it dried, as a juice, or even simply as it is (although, it is a sour berry, so most people tend to add external sweeteners to make it more palatable).
Benefits Of Cranberries During Pregnancy
As mentioned above, cranberries boast a very extensive nutritional profile. As a result, it can offer a plethora of nutritional and health benefits to those who consume it regularly. These benefits include:
1. Helps boost immunity
Boosting immunity during pregnancy is s foremost concern in today’s world. It is extremely common for women to experience a decline in their immunity during pregnancy, due to the increased nutritional demands of the fetus. As a result, this can leave you vulnerable to some minor and major ailments.
Hence, this must be addressed as early as possible. Cranberries, being rich in proanthocyanidins2, help with just this. In addition to this, they also reduce bacterial accumulation, thus helping boost your overall immunity.
2. Helps improve oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is a very important, yet often neglected part of one’s health, particularly during pregnancy. However, you must pay some attention to it, as a lack of oral hygiene can lead to many unwanted complications.
Consuming just a handful of cranberries can greatly improve oral health and helps prevent tooth decay, formation of plaque, and so on.
3. Helps prevent urinary tract infections
Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs, are not an uncommon occurrence in pregnant women. This is because, as the uterus grows, it can press against the bladder, thus blocking the drainage of urine, leading to an infection.
If left unaddressed, this can lead to unwanted complications and cause massive discomfort. Specific antioxidants present in cranberries help with just that, by preventing the accumulation of bacteria within the walls of your urinary tract. Studies prove that cranberries can prevent lower urinary tract infections.
Related Reading: 9 Common Infections During Pregnancy You Should Be Aware Of
4. Helps improve hydration
Hydration is a small, yet important factor to weigh in while trying to maintain good overall health during pregnancy. This does not only mean consuming healthy amounts of water but also consuming foods rich in hydration.
According to studies, Cranberries are composed of water ( around 88%). As such, a regular intake of cranberries is sure to go a long way in keeping you hydrated and healthy.
5. Helps prevent edema
Edema is a very common occurrence in women during pregnancy. Also known as dropsy, edema is essentially just fluid retention – most often found as swelling in your ankles, your eyes, and so on. In rare, severe cases, however, it can also occur in your lungs, leading to complications with breathing.
Needless to say, it is important that you take steps to prevent this. Cranberry juice is known to be a natural diuretic, and hence its regular intake can go a long way in helping prevent edema.
Related Reading: 15 Home Remedies For Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
6. Helps prevent constipation
Constipation is something else that is famously common in pregnant women. This is because factors like your increased nutritional demand and irregularities in food intake can affect your digestive system.
Cranberries, being rich in their fiber content, can help combat just this, by greatly aiding digestion, and thus regulating your bowel movements, making it an easy home remedy for constipation during pregnancy.
7. Helps treat inflammation
Inflammation is yet another occurrence not too uncommon in women during pregnancy. However, chronic inflammation can lead to a number of ailments and diseases including autoimmune diseases, allergies, diabetes, heart diseases, and so on.
Needless to say, without proper care and preventative measures, inflammation can cause no short amount of complications and pain. According to studies, cranberries are known to have high amounts of antioxidants, which along with helping fight unwanted bacteria, will also help fight inflammation.
Risks And Side Effects Of Cranberry During Pregnancy
Cranberries are perfectly safe for consumption during pregnancy, and offer a plethora of nutritional and health benefits, so long as it is consumed in moderation. As with anything else, consuming cranberries can have a few potential risks if consumed in excess. These risks include:
- Excess amounts of cranberries are known to cause diarrhea and other digestive problems
- Those suffering from gastritis, stomach ulcers, or liver problems must avoid consuming cranberries at all costs
- Consuming too many cranberries can accelerate the formation of oxalic acid in your urine, leading to the formation of kidney stones
Related Reading: 10 Drinks To Avoid During Pregnancy
Is Drinking Cranberry Juice Safe During Pregnancy?
Cranberry juice is perfectly safe for consumption and can offer a number of benefits for pregnant women, as long as it is consumed in moderation. If consumed in inordinate amounts, however, it can lead to a few potential risks to your health. These include:
1. Weight gain
A single glass of cranberry juice does not contain too many calories, so to speak. However, if you consume around three or four glasses per day, the calories tend to add up. In the long term, this can lead to a significant weight gain, and as such, it is recommended that you consume one or at most, two glasses of cranberry juice per day
2. Digestive issues
Cranberries by themselves are notably rich in fiber, which is really good for your digestive system. When in juice form, however, it is significantly lacking in fiber. As such, this can have a notable impact on your digestive health when consumed in excess amounts and can lead to issues like constipation
3. Excess sugar
While cranberries themselves do not contain too much sugar, cranberry juices are usually rich in them. A single glass of cranberry juice can have more sugar than an equal amount of cola. And while we can argue that the sugars in cranberry juice are natural, their impact on your health is not that different from the synthetic sugars contained in cola
Related Reading: Sugarcane Juice During Pregnancy- Health Benefits And Precautions
All things said and done, cranberry juice is a perfectly good way of incorporating cranberries into your pregnancy diet, as long as you do not consume it in excess. Moderation is most certainly the key. As such, it is highly advised that you consult your doctor or dietician in order to determine the appropriate amounts of juice to consume per day.
Ways To Incorporate Cranberry In Pregnancy Diet
As mentioned above, there are a number of ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet during pregnancy. Here are a few of them:
- Cranberry juice is a widely popular way of consuming cranberries among pregnant women. Being in liquid form, it boasts a number of additional benefits such as improving hydration and bowel movement. It is also not uncommon for women to be craving cranberry juice while pregnant, as it is also relatively more delicious
- Dried cranberry in pregnancyis another popular way of consuming cranberries. While it may not be as delicious as the juice, it is still the preference of many people. In addition to this, it also has its own benefits, being in a dried form
- Cranberries may also be consumed as it is, although not many people go with this option as it is a sour berry. Therefore, most people opt to add external sweeteners like sugar or honey, or even prepare a variety of healthy, cranberry-based dishes to better incorporate them into their diets
Related Reading: 21 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
Ultimately, whatever way you choose to consume cranberries is entirely up to you. Being a powerhouse of nutrition, and offering no short amount of benefits, it is most certainly worth having in your pregnancy diet. Although, it is advised that you consult your doctor or dietician beforehand in order to get a more informed opinion on the method of consumption as well as the dosage.
As of yet, no research can vouch for or against the consumption of dried cranberries during pregnancy. However, it is worth noting that as it is dried, it will not offer the hydrating benefits of regular cranberries.
It is also worth noting that dried cranberries are usually available coated with sugar. As such, consuming them in access may do more harm than good. It is also essential that you buy them from a trusted source. Beyond that, dried cranberries are a perfectly harmless way of consuming cranberries during pregnancy.
This is a very commonly asked question. And the answer is pretty straightforward. Certain research conducted in 2013 has proven that consuming cranberry juice during pregnancy is in no way harmful to you or your baby.
In fact, some doctors even go so far as to recommend consuming cranberry juice to induce labor. Although, it is worth noting that while certain foods are known to induce labor, one usually needs to consume quite large amounts of them to do so.