Tomato is loaded with vitamins and minerals. This red vegetable offers lots of health benefits. Craving tomatoes during pregnancy is pretty common given their tangy taste. Adding them to curries and their salads is common in Indian households. But then, how safe is eating tomatoes during pregnancy? Do they pose any side effects? Many expecting mothers have this doubt when they choose to eat salad items. Let’s find out. .
Tomato Craving During Pregnancy
Even though considered as a vegetable, technically speaking, tomatoes are fruits. Craving tomatoes during pregnancy is more often due to hormonal changes that influence your taste buds. It is quite common for expecting women to crave something tangy and sour.
However an abnormal craving for tomatoes during pregnancy can be an indication of nutritional deficiency. This strong craving for tomatoes is called Tomatophagia. This is linked to iron deficiency.
Therefore, if you experience excessive tomato craving during pregnancy, it is important to take it to your doctor’s attention. It is found that eating tomatoes with iron-rich food enhances iron absorption.
Is It Safe To Eat Tomatoes During Pregnancy?
Tomatoes are one of the highly nutritious fruits. The vitamins and minerals in tomatoes are highly beneficial during pregnancy. Eating tomatoes during pregnancy is not only safe but advantageous as well. So never hesitate to use tomato in everyday cooking during pregnancy.
But, just like anything you ingest during pregnancy, moderation is the key when it comes to eating tomatoes during pregnancy. However, eating one juicy tomato per day will not cause any harm to your pregnancy. This doesn’t include what you use for cooking.
Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Tomatoes During Pregnancy
Water accounts for 95% of tomatoes. Rest 5% mainly comprises carbohydrates and fiber. It also holds a significant amount of potassium, Vitamin K, C, and A. It also has carotenoids such as lutein and Lycopene (a red pigment and antioxidant), which are highly beneficial for health.
Tomatoes are loaded with folate. They also have beta-carotene, which converts into Vitamin A once it gets into the body. Now you know why eating tomatoes during pregnancy is highly beneficial.
Related Reading: 15 Fruits Not To Eat During Pregnancy
Health Benefits Of Eating Tomatoes During Pregnancy
Here are some of the top health benefits of eating tomatoes during pregnancy:
1. Helps to avert neural tube defects in the baby
Folic acid is a B vitamin that potentially prevents neural tube defects in babies. Neural tube defects or NTD is a birth defect that affects the brain, spine, and spinal cord. Folate deficiency can end up in neural tube defects in babies.
Tomatoes are rich in folate. Therefore, eating tomatoes during pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.
2. Eating tomatoes during pregnancy boosts immunity
Tomatoes are rich in Lycopene. It is a powerful antioxidant. Moreover, it is loaded with vitamin C. Actually, one medium-sized tomato holds around 40% of the daily needed vitamin C.
This fruit is also blessed with a significant amount of Vitamin A, which is a well-known anti-inflammation vitamin. Thus, eating tomatoes during pregnancy helps to increase immunity and ward off common infections.
3. Aid digestion
Tomatoes are rich in dietary fiber. Constipation is one of the common pregnancy issues. Moderate consumption of tomatoes during pregnancy helps to combat constipation. They also help with healthy digestion and also helps to evade digestive issues like diarrhea.
4. Help keep one well- hydrated
During pregnancy, it is very important to stay well hydrated. Episodes of dehydration should be avoided at any cost. Yet, many a time, expecting women either forget to have adequate water or even cannot have enough plain water as they tend to nauseate.
In such instances, eating water-rich fruits and vegetables will be beneficial. Tomatoes are water-rich fruit. Therefore, add this fruit to your daily pregnancy hydration menu.
5. Offers a lot of energy
Fatigue and tiredness are hallmarks of pregnancy. Tomatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates in the tomatoes offer vital energy that sustains a long time during pregnancy.
6. Reduce the chances of congenital deformities
Tomatoes are a rich source of Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help to fight off free radicals that can potentially cause cell damages in an unborn baby.
Therefore, besides enhancing the immunity of the mother, eating tomatoes during pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of birth defects in babies.
The high vitamin C content in tomatoes helps with the formation of the fetus’s skin, bones, gums, and teeth. Tomatoes, therefore, promote healthy fetal development.
7. Combats iron deficiency
Tomatoes do contain iron, however, we cannot say this fruit is loaded with iron. Yet, tomatoes help to combat iron deficiency and issues associated with it. This is because tomatoes are rich in vitamin C. This vitamin is very important for iron absorption.
Therefore, eating tomatoes with other iron-rich food increases the absorption of iron by the body.
Related Reading: Radish During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
8. Reduce the risk of preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a condition marked by high blood pressure. If not detected and treated on time, it can be fatal. Tomatoes have high potassium content. This element helps to alleviate tension in the wall of blood vessels.
This improves blood circulation and thereby helps in regulating blood pressure. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is abundantly found in tomatoes, also helps to combat preeclampsia.
9. Help to deal with gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is another issue experienced by many pregnant women. This increases their risk of Type II diabetes in the future. Eating tomatoes regularly during pregnancy helps reduce the oxidative stress that paves the way for diabetes.
Therefore, eating tomatoes during pregnancy helps to manage gestational diabetes to an extent.
10. Protect against infection
The antiseptic property of tomatoes makes it an excellent remedy to fight off common infections during pregnancy.
11. Lower the bad cholesterol level
Eating tomatoes during pregnancy helps to bring down the level of bad cholesterol-LDL and triglycerides. This increases cardiac health. A healthy heart promotes blood circulation and prevents several health issues.
12. Tomatoes during pregnancy prevent hemorrhage
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin K. This vitamin is essential for the clotting of the blood. Sun-dried tomatoes contain more vitamin K. This prevents blood loss and reduces the risk of bleeding.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Tomatoes During Pregnancy?
Even though moderate consumption of tomatoes is safe during pregnancy, excessive consumption can backfire. Here are some side effects of excessive intake of tomatoes during pregnancy:
1. Heartburn: Tomatoes are acidic in nature. Therefore excessive consumption of tomatoes during pregnancy can trigger heartburn. Even cooking this fruit will not help when it comes to acidity. Therefore, if you are prone to heartburn, try to limit its intake or, if possible, avoid it during pregnancy.
2. Allergy: Tomatoes can potentially trigger an allergy in some people. Especially those who suffer from grass pollen allergies can be allergic to tomatoes as well. The symptoms of tomato allergy include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in face and mouth, red patch in eyelids or eyebrow, and itchiness in the throat
Is it bad to eat raw tomatoes?
Most expecting mothers like to relish fresh salads, and raw tomatoes are part of most of the salads. But one of the times you have safety concerns while eating tomatoes during pregnancy is when you eat it in raw form.
You can enjoy raw tomatoes. But, only after thoroughly washing them in plenty of water. Tomatoes are one of the top ten vegetables/fruits that bear a high risk of bacterial contamination and pesticides. Thorough washing them properly is a must to surpass this issue.
During pregnancy, try to eat salads and tomato sandwiches at home rather than from food vendors. If a tomato is raw and washed or cooked, it’s perfectly safe during pregnancy.
Let us now know the various ways tomatoes are available in the market and whether they are safe for you as a pregnant woman.
1. Canned tomatoes during pregnancy
It is better to avoid canned tomatoes during pregnancy. Even though canned tomatoes of top brands are sterilized and strictly follow all the rules of the canning process, it is always better to rely on fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables during pregnancy.
Besides, during the sterilization process, which aims to kill microbes, the nutrients and enzymes in the tomatoes will also be destroyed. Another important concern of having canned tomatoes during pregnancy is the increased risk of BPA exposure.
The inner wall of food can usually have a plastic lining to prevent the can from getting eroded by the food’s natural acid. This plastic coating more often contains an element called bisphenol A (BPA). Getting exposed to BPA during pregnancy is dangerous for both the mother and the fetus.
However, there is no need to panic if you have eaten canned once or twice during pregnancy. Higher or repeated levels of exposure to BPA is required to kick start the ill effects.
Related Reading: Isabgol During Pregnancy- Is It Safe?
2. Tomato sauce during pregnancy
Are you craving tomato sauce during pregnancy? Don’t worry. You can treat yourself with tomato ketchup and sauces as long as you are not overdoing it. Also, there must be lots of time before the expiry date approaches.
You have to consider a few points though. Ketchup that accumulates in the cap, over time, harbors bacteria, which can create issues, therefore, make it a rule to wipe it every time after using the bottle.
Opt for sauce in glass jars rather than cans and plastic pouches. Tomato ketchup and sauce are safe during pregnancy if taken in moderation. Even then, it is always better to try out homemade ones during pregnancy.
3. Tomato juice during pregnancy
Tomato juice also carries all the health benefits of fresh tomatoes. It is completely safe to drink tomato juice during pregnancy. It provides instant energy. Drink tomato juice prepared at home rather than the packed ones.
However, use one medium-sized tomato to make the juice. Add less sugar or better, completely skip it. In fact, a pinch of salt is tastier than sugar when it comes to tomato juice.
Does Eating Tomatoes During Pregnancy Indicate Gender?
Some old wives tales take a craving for sour foods such as tomatoes during pregnancy as an indication the mother is carrying a baby boy. However, this is only one of those myths without a scientific base and, therefore, unreliable. But it doesn’t hurt to have some fun, so have a laugh or two but do not subscribe to the idea completely.
When Should Avoid Tomatoes During Pregnancy?
- Limit the intake of tomatoes if you are prone to heartburn.
- Tomatoes are rich in potassium and water content. Therefore, if you have kidney issues, never eat tomatoes without the permission of a doctor.
Ways to Include Tomatoes in A Pregnancy Diet
There are different ways to incorporate tomatoes in the pregnancy diet.
- You can have it in soup form. Tomato soup during pregnancy helps to combat morning sickness. It can also be a healthy alternative to a meal.
- Thoroughly washed raw tomatoes can be used in sandwiches and salads.
- Replace canned tomatoes with fresh tomatoes in recipes.
- Consuming tomato paste when pregnant does not cause any harm. You can prepare excellent dishes using tomato paste. Tomatoes are one of the primary ingredients in many Indian curries.