When it comes to pregnancy diets, every expecting mother tries her best to fill her plate with the healthiest food. Fruits are at the top of the list of pregnancy-friendly foods because they are natural and extremely healthy for the body. Coming to eating habits, there is a common trend among soon-to-be mothers. According to studies, around 95.4% of pregnant women opt to eat bananas during pregnancy.
Banana is a tropical fruit. Bananas, unlike many other nutritious fruits, are available throughout the year. Pregnant women can, therefore, rely on this fruit for their nutrition requirements.
Learn how eating bananas can benefit you during pregnancy.
Bananas During Pregnancy- How Safe Are They?
Bananas are completely safe to eat while pregnant. Banana, besides providing instant energy, provides vital nutrients for both the mother and the baby. Since we are talking about bananas, it is quite natural to wonder about eating banana chips during pregnancy.
Bananas should, however, be consumed in moderation because excessive consumption can cause some side effects during pregnancy. This is one of the most recommended fruits to eat during pregnancy if consumed in moderation.
If you don’t have any pregnancy-related complications, such as diabetes, you can eat 1-2 medium-sized bananas per day.
Who should not eat bananas during pregnancy?
Bananas are highly nutritious and pose no harm during pregnancy. However,
- Don’t include bananas in the pregnancy diet if you have a latex allergy. It is found that 30–50% of people who are allergic to latex are also sensitive to some plant foods like bananas
- Likewise, a woman experiencing gestational diabetes should include bananas in their pregnancy diet only after talking to their doctor. This is because a medium banana contains about 15 grams of sugar. Even though its glycemic index is relatively low, excessive consumption may affect the blood sugar level
Nutritional Value Of Bananas
- One medium-sized banana carries 358 mg of Potassium and 27 mg of Magnesium, which is around 8% of the daily needed amount of these minerals
- It is an incredible source of Vitamin B6. A medium-sized banana holds 31% of daily needed vitamin B6
- It is rich in vitamin C
- A medium banana holds around 3 gm of dietary fiber
- Banana also contains traces of choline, zinc, and phosphorus
- It is a good source of vitamin B5
- A medium banana carries about 1 gm of protein which is pretty low, but it is fairly high for a fruit
- Bananas are low in fat content and high in carbohydrate
10 Health Benefits Of Bananas During Pregnancy
The nutritional profile of bananas shows this versatile fruit has countless benefits for an expectant mother and her baby. Following are 10 incredible benefits of eating bananas during pregnancy:
1. Helps to minimize morning sickness
Morning sickness or nauseous feelings are common during the first trimester of pregnancy. Bananas are high in pyridoxine, also known as vitamin B6. It is a vitamin that aids in the reduction of nausea and morning sickness. As a result, eating bananas is extremely beneficial for pregnant women and is a must have on the list of snacks to combat morning sickness, especially during the first trimester.
2. Helps maintain blood pressure
Bananas are loaded with potassium. Potassium’s ability to lower blood pressure, especially when combined with a low sodium intake, is well known. Bananas also contain magnesium, which is essential for blood pressure regulation.
You can maintain optimal blood pressure during pregnancy by including bananas in your diet. Blood pressure fluctuations during pregnancy pave the way for several complications.
3. Improves hemoglobin Levels
Iron is one of the most used nutrients by the body during pregnancy. Optimal iron intake is imperative for a pregnant woman for having a healthy pregnancy. A conflicting fact is that most pregnant women face the deficiency of this nutrient at some point in time. Thanks to the incredibly increasing blood volume.
The deficiency of iron can result in complications like anemia during pregnancy, which is caused due to low hemoglobin levels. Iron deficiency or anemia during pregnancy brings many complications including premature delivery.
Pregnant women with anemia can take advantage of the iron content of banana fruit. Consuming 2 bananas every day can overcome the deficiency of red blood cells or anemia (source).
Related Reading: Spinach During Pregnancy – Benefits, Risks And Precautions
4. Helps lower the risk of edema
During the second and third trimesters of their pregnancies, many pregnant women experience edema or water retention. Edema can cause swelling in the face, ankles, feet, and other joints. Potassium reduces water retention in two ways: it lowers sodium levels and increases urine production.
The potassium content of a banana is high. Thus, if you find swelling in your joints or ankles during pregnancy, avoid salty foods and include bananas in your diet.
5. Helps enhance gut health and prevent constipation
Bananas are particularly high in resistant starch, a type of dietary fiber that has recently piqued the interest of researchers. According to one study, the resistant starch in bananas may be beneficial to gut health.
Constipation is a common pregnancy ailment. Bananas are high in dietary fiber, which aids in the stimulation of bowel movements. Eating bananas during pregnancy at night promotes easy bowel movement in the morning, relieving constipation.
6. Provides an instant energy boost
Bananas contain a lot of carbohydrates. Thus, bananas can help you fight fatigue and increase your energy levels during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, when you feel low energy more often.
It is loaded with simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which the body can quickly metabolize. As a result, eating bananas during pregnancy provides a quick energy boost and is indeed a pregnancy superfood.
7. Helps prevent acidity and heartburn
When you’re pregnant, you’re likely to experience acid reflux and heartburn. Banana is an alkaline food. Potassium in bananas contributes to mucus along the lining of the stomach.
Thus, banana protects the esophageal and stomach walls against gastric acid. Bananas also aid digestion. Eating bananas during pregnancy, thus, helps to keep acidity and heartburn at bay.
8. Promotes fetal brain development
Bananas are high in folate. Folate is necessary for the development of the brain and spinal cord of the unborn baby and is critical during the first month of pregnancy, during which fetal brain and spinal cord formation.
Deficiency in folate during this stage of pregnancy contributes to neural tube defects in babies. Eating bananas during pregnancy lowers the risk of folate deficiency and thus aids in the prevention of birth defects.
Bananas are also high in water-soluble Vitamin B6, which is necessary for the development of the baby’s central nervous system. Including bananas in the pregnancy diet during the first trimester of pregnancy thus benefits fetal brain development.
Related Reading: 12 Best Foods For Baby Brain Development
9. Increases immunity
Bananas are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants aid in the fight against free radical damage in the body and prevent cellular damage. This helps to prevent infections. During pregnancy, the immunity of a woman decreases noticeably. Eating bananas during pregnancy is one of the simplest ways to boost immunity during pregnancy, as how important immunity is in today’s world, is not something we need to tell.
10. Helps to reduce the risk of depression and mood swings
Bananas can help with depression and mood swings during pregnancy. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is abundant in bananas. It is well known for its sleep-inducing properties. Vitamin B 6 that is abundantly found in Banana also helps to get quality sleep. Also, magnesium in bananas aids in muscle relaxation.
All of this contributes to a better mood during pregnancy. Furthermore, after eating bananas, your body releases a ‘feel good hormone’ called serotonin, which helps to improve your mood during pregnancy.
Related Reading: 15 Tried And Tested Ways To Handle Emotions During Pregnancy
Common Varieties Of Bananas And Its Benefits During Pregnancy
Three common varieties of bananas are:
When compared to yellow bananas, red bananas are smaller and sweeter. There are more antioxidants and vitamin C in them. Red bananas also contain carotenoids such as lutein and beta carotene. Red banana during pregnancy helps to reduce the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Green bananas are extremely low on the glycaemic index. Hence, green bananas during pregnancy are beneficial for the woman experiencing gestational diabetes.
They have a great aroma and taste when compared to other types of bananas. Robusta banana during pregnancy also provides all the nutrients provided by other bananas.
4 Risks When Eating Bananas During Pregnancy
In most cases, eating bananas will not be harmful to a pregnant woman. Overconsumption, on the other hand, is a different scenario. The following are four risks associated with excessive banana consumption during pregnancy:
1. May trigger constipation
Each serving of banana contains a significant amount of tannic acid. While this chemical isn’t harmful in small doses, anyone who eats a lot of bananas in one sitting may experience a dangerous side effect. According to one study, high levels of tannic acid can result in severe constipation.
2. Can trigger migraine
According to one study, tyramine, a natural compound found in many plants, contributes to migraines. This natural compound is abundantly found in bananas. Overripe bananas have a higher concentration of these amino acids.
Related Reading: 15 Fruits Not To Eat During Pregnancy
3. At times cause digestive problems
Bananas are high in fiber. Banana overconsumption results in an excess of fiber intake. Although a moderate amount of fiber aids digestion, an excessive amount of fiber can cause abdominal cramps, gas, and bloating. Too much fiber can even obstruct calcium and iron absorption, two essential nutrients for the healthy progression of pregnancy.
4. Dental concerns
Bananas, due to their high starch content, can cause serious tooth decay if you do not practice good dental hygiene. According to some studies, bananas are even worse for your oral health than chocolate, red licorice, and chewing gum.
Sugars break up quickly in the mouth, whilst starches disintegrate slowly. As a result, when you eat foods like bananas, the particles can lodge between your teeth for up to two hours. This debris attracts more bacteria, increasing the likelihood of cavities.
Related Reading: Top 10 Protein-Rich Foods For Pregnancy
Precautions While Eating Bananas During Pregnancy
- Bananas should not be consumed in excess during pregnancy. Try not to consume more than two bananas per day
- Keeping bananas in plastic bags will lead to moisture accumulation, causing them to rot. So avoid it
- You should not consume bananas in the evening if you suffer from asthma, a cough, or a cold. Bananas are known to cause mucus, which worsens all of the above health issues
- Avoid bananas that are overripe, darkened, or that have been stored for a long time, as they may be infested with fruit fly eggs and may cause stomach issues
It is been said that the potassium content of bananas may increase the odds of women craving bananas during pregnancy giving birth to baby boys.
The study was conducted among 740 women and discovered that high potassium consumption before getting pregnant was more likely to have a boy than those who didn’t.
Banana peels are edible and nutrient-dense. It’s high in vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also has some fiber and protein in it.
Since pesticides are used in banana groves, it is mandatory to wash banana peels thoroughly before cooking/ eating them.