It may seem as though there is no way out of the dietary restrictions imposed during pregnancy: no caffeine, no seafood, no deli meat, etc. Some foods and drinks may have an adverse effect on a developing baby, so it’s important for women to be careful about what they consume. Pregnant women should be mindful of their diets, but what about fruit? Pregnant women often try to increase their fruit consumption because of the health benefits they may offer to the growing baby. But not all fruits are safe during pregnancy. What is the verdict on the safety of grapefruit during pregnancy? Let’s find out.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Grapefruit?
Grapefruit is one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, so it’s great for pregnant women. Grapefruit is a great addition to an expecting mothers’ morning meal. This is because it provides nutrients necessary for the baby’s development, such as the B complex vitamins, calcium, and potassium.
If consumed in moderation, it is safe for both the mother and her developing child. However, they must be thoroughly cleaned before being cut. This is done to prevent the transfer of bacteria and harmful chemicals into the citrus fruit’s flesh. For those craving grapefruit during pregnancy, consuming organic grapefruit is the safest and healthiest option as they have not been exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides.
The Nutritional Profile Of Grapefruit
Grapefruit is actually a hybrid between an orange and a pomelo1. Depending on the variety, this citrus fruit can be pink, orange, or even white and may have a sweet or sour flavor. It carries all the nutrients of pomelo and orange. And oranges during pregnancy offer a host of benefits.
Grapefruits are low in calories, but they are packed with nutrients. Potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and zinc are just some of the minerals present, along with B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, thiamin, and plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats2.
The Nutritional Value of Grapefruit
One cup of fresh whole grapefruit sections has the following nutritional value3–
- Calories: 74
- Total fat: 0.23 grams (g)
- Calcium: 28 milligrams (mg)
- Iron: 0.1 mg
- Magnesium: 21 mg
- Vitamin C: 77 mg
- Carbohydrates: 18.5 g
- Dietary fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 1.6 g
- Sugars: 16.05 g
- Phosphorus: 18 mg
- Potassium: 340 mg
- Zinc: 0.2 mg
How Does Eating Grapefruit Benefit Your Pregnancy?
Ninety percent of grapefruit is water. You can prevent dehydration thanks to the high water and electrolyte content of this food. Also, citrus fruits like grapefruit are very effective in deterring morning sickness. The list does not stop there. Consuming grapefruit while one is pregnant has many wonderful health benefits, some of which are listed below.
1. Improves the functioning of the immune system
During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system gets weaker, making her more likely to get infections. Antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory are just some of the properties of grapefruit4. Furthermore, grapefruit is loaded with Vitamin C. In addition, grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C has the potential to prevent a number of infections as per this source.
It has phytonutrients5 strengthen the immune system against colds and coughs that are prevalent in pregnant women. The fruit also contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin A. Vitamin A’s anti-inflammatory and disease-preventive effects are well-established6. Small amounts of B vitamins, zinc, copper, and iron can be found in grapefruit as well. They work together to boost the immune system7.
Related Reading: 11 Simple Ways To Boost Immunity During Pregnancy
2. Helps with fetal development
Grapefruits, especially red and pink ones, are an excellent source of vitamin A, providing 16% of the recommended daily allowance in just one medium grapefruit8. Vitamin A is essential for fetal development. It contributes to the development of the skin, the eyes, and the alveoli in the fetal lungs.
3. Grapefruit during pregnancy can help to fight constipation
The consumption of grapefruit during pregnancy third trimester has also been associated with relieving constipation. The third trimester can bemost discomforting for digestive issues. Citrus fruits, including grapefruit, are rich in fiber9. Grapefruit, like many other citrus fruits, is a good source of naringenin10. The flavanol naringenin has been linked to an increase in colonic fluid and has a laxative effect.
Related Reading: 18 Home Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy
4. Fights edema
Grapefruit has antioxidative properties that help reduce pain and swelling in the feet. Grapefruit has a diuretic effect, making it useful in the treatment of edema. Consuming a glass of grapefruit juice can aid in the elimination of excess fluids, toxins, and salt that can build up in the body during pregnancy.
5. Relieves insomnia
A lot of pregnant women worry about not being able to sleep. Sleep deprivation is a reality when you are pregnant, Consuming a few slices of fruit prior to bedtime can help alleviate pregnancy-related insomnia. This is because some of the fruit’s nutrients make it easier to unwind and nod off to sleep. Lycopene, a bright red carotenoid hydrocarbon, helps to induce sleep. Those with higher lycopene consumption reported less trouble nodding off11. And good news is that Grapefruits contain lycopene12.
Related Reading: 11 Things You Can Do When Pregnant And Can’t Sleep At Night
6. Prevents gestational diabetes
Pregnancy hormones put women at an increased risk for developing diabetes. Gestational diabetes can affect the baby’s birth weight and delivery. Antioxidants in grapefruit help to maintain blood sugar. Thus, the expectant mother’s risk of developing diabetes is reduced when she consumes grapefruit. It regulates the insulin level in the blood, which in turn aids the proper functioning of all other organs13.
7. Prevents preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in urine in the 20th week of pregnancy. If left untreated, it can cause heavy bleeding and premature placenta separation. Grapefruit may reduce preeclampsia. The belief stems from grapefruit’s potassium and flavonoid content, which may help regulate blood pressure.
8. May contribute to preventing anemia
Anemia is one of the greatest fears during pregnancy. Grapefruit, being rich in vitamin C, helps your body absorb iron and, therefore, can possibly reduce the risk of anemia14. However, consuming vitamin-C-rich fruits isn’t enough to control anemia during pregnancy.
Related Reading: 7 Nutritional Benefits Of Kale During Pregnancy And 6 Ways To Eat It
9. Promotes Bone Health
The consumption of grapefruit juice has been shown to improve bone quality by increasing bone mineral deposition. It enhances calcium absorption as well. If a woman does not get enough calcium during pregnancy, her bone health will suffer. In addition to preserving bone mineral density, grapefruits reduce bone loss and osteoporosis risk15.
10. Heartburn and indigestion
Heartburn and indigestion are common during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones and the pressure of the growing uterus upon the stomach could also lead to heartburn and indigestion. Grapefruit contains D-limonene. It has acid-neutralizing properties. D-limonene can therefore aid in reducing stomach acid and restoring regular peristaltic action.
Thus, eating grapefruit is a good choice for dealing with heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy16. Eating grapefruit at night during pregnancy is however not a good idea for women who are prone to acidity.
11. Lowers blood pressure and improves heart health
Antioxidants like naringin and lycopene can be found in abundance in grapefruit. It also contains a lot of fiber. These nutrients might be helpful in controlling the levels of cholesterol in the body17. Moreover, grapefruit is loaded with beneficial nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and choline, all of which contribute to maintaining a healthy heart.
Grapefruit lowers blood pressure because of the vasodilation effects owing to potassium. Furthermore, the potassium in grapefruit has vasodilating effects, which contribute to the fruit’s ability to reduce blood pressure. It helps to reduce triglyceride levels.
12. Beneficial for pregnant women who are overweight
Pregnancy necessitates a healthy weight gain. However, excessive weight gain will impede the process of smooth delivery. It can also result in undesirable pregnancy complications such as gestational hypertension. Grapefruits are a fantastic choice for pregnant women who need to watch their calorie intake because they are overweight, as they contain few calories and a wealth of beneficial nutrients.
According to studies, consuming foods rich in vitamin C can reduce the risk of developing asthma17. Pregnancy-related asthma has been linked to maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality18. Asthma must be closely monitored during pregnancy and labor to prevent adverse outcomes. Flavonoids and lycopene, both of which are abundant in grapefruit, may be useful for managing asthma during pregnancy19.
Can You Drink Grapefruit Juice While Pregnant?
Many expectant mothers enjoy the fruit in juice form, while others enjoy munching on it. Grapefruit juice is safe during pregnancy. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before drinking grapefruit juice while pregnant:
- A pregnant woman should try to only drink grapefruit juice made at home
- Grapefruit juice should be made from fresh grapefruits and not from concentrate
- Bottled grapefruit juice loses a lot of its nutritional value due to processing and packaging. They may also contain added sugars
- It is not safe to drink unpasteurized grapefruit juice while pregnant because of the increased risk of a bacterial infection
- When making juice at home, avoid straining the pulp. As a result, you will not lose the fiber content of the fruit
Related Reading: 11 Healthy And Refreshing Juices During Pregnancy To Drink
The Recommended Intake Of Grapefruit During Pregnancy
Pregnant women can benefit from eating grapefruit, but too much of it can be harmful. Hypervitaminosis is one of the most significant negative effects of excessive grapefruit consumption. Obstetricians state that the risk of Hypervitaminosis can be avoided by consuming no more than one grapefruit of medium size per day.
Risks And Precautions When Eating Grapefruit During Pregnancy
As previously stated, nothing is beneficial during pregnancy when it is excessive. And grapefruit does not serve as a substitute for prenatal vitamins. Excessive grapefruit consumption during pregnancy is associated with a few risks. These are:
- Fetal growth and development may be stunted if the mother consumes a lot of fructose while she’s pregnant. And grapefruits increase the fructose level. So you should have it limited
- Fetal development may be compromised by excessive grapefruit consumption.
- Those with issues like kidney disease, hepatitis, or stomach ulcers should also avoid these fruits
- Chemicals in the fruit can interact with certain drugs, increasing their potency20
- People taking medication for heart disease should discuss whether or not they should consume grapefruit because of possible drug interactions
- Acidity and heartburn are the results of eating grapefruit on an empty stomach
It has been discovered that grapefruit interacts with some medications, but there is no evidence that grapefruit juice has the same effect on vitamin or mineral supplements. So grapefruit and prenatal vitamins may go hand in hand.
- Grapefruits should be avoided by pregnant women who have an allergy to citrus fruits
- Grapefruit supplements, oils, or extracts can potentially interfere with many prescription medications
- Very little research has been done on the safety of grapefruit oil or extracts for pregnant women, so it’s probably best to avoid it
- Grapefruit is fine to eat or drink before bed under normal circumstances, but those with acidity problems should avoid doing so because the fruit’s high vitamin-C content can lead to stomach acidity and heartburn
Grapefruit oil comes from the actual fruit because it is extracted from the grapefruit’s peel glands. A diffuser or bath with grapefruit essential oil is a great way to revitalize your senses and fight fatigue. The essential oil extracted from grapefruit has been shown to have antimicrobial properties21. In any case, pregnant women should only use it sparingly and after diluting it.
Pregnant women can benefit from eating grapefruits. However, medical professionals do not advise taking grapefruit seed extract during pregnancy because the safety of grapefruit seed extract while pregnant has not been established through extensive research.
Grapefruit can be consumed at any time of day, including at night. Drinking a glass of grapefruit juice before bed or eating grapefruit at night during pregnancy helps to regulate the secretion of insulin in the body. However, those mothers who are prone to acidity should avoid having any citrus fruits just before bedtime.
The pregnancy craving for grapefruit is extremely common. The belief that craving grapefruit or citrus is an indication of vitamin C deficiency is not supported by scientific evidence. A craving for grapefruit is not indicative of illness or malnutrition.