Good nutrition is essential for a healthy pregnancy. It is important to make sure what you eat provides all the vitamins and minerals for the healthy development of the fetus. It is equally important to double-check the safety of anything you put in your mouth. What about dry fruits? And the sweet raisins during pregnancy- are they safe?
Having a sweet tooth during pregnancy is not healthy, per se. But you can always substitute unhealthy sweets with healthy food loaded with natural sugars. This way you satisfy your sweet craving without compromising on a healthy pregnancy. Raisin intake during pregnancy is one such option.
Is It Safe To Eat Raisins During Pregnancy?
In one word- Yes. Eating raisins during pregnancy is completely safe if you eat them in moderation. Raisins are the dried form of grapes. They are loaded with fructose and glucose making them appealing and a healthier option for someone with a sweet tooth.
Kishmish or raisin can be counted as a healthy substitute for sugary desserts. Being enriched in nutrients like phosphorous, calcium, and potassium, it offers many health benefits for the unborn baby and mother.
Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Raisins During Pregnancy
These sugary beads of Mother Nature are unbelievably nutritious. This makes raisin a must-have member in a pregnancy meal plan. Both normal and black raisins during pregnancy are equally beneficial. Here are 4 major nutrients in raisin which make them an ideal food for an expecting mother.
During pregnancy, expecting women should have fiber-rich food for a range of reasons. The main reason is it helps to alleviates many digestive issues that arise due to the surge of pregnancy hormones. During pregnancy, women need around 30 grams of fiber every day.
Raisins are an excellent source of fiber. Half a cup of raisins meets around 10 % (4 grams) of daily needed fiber.
Pregnant women require twice the amount of iron when compared to non-pregnant women. The blood volume during pregnancy increases about by 50%.
This is to take more oxygen to the mother’s cells and developing fetus. For this, more hemoglobin should be generated. Iron is essential to create hemoglobin.
To meet the new demands, pregnant women require 30 mg of iron every day. Iron deficiency can bring about many complications during pregnancy. That is why it is recommended to include iron-rich food in the pregnancy diet. Half a cup of raisins contains 1.7 mg of iron
Potassium plays a major role in keeping up the electrolyte balance. The blood volume increases by 50% during pregnancy. Therefore, the body needs more electrolytes to maintain the chemical balance. 1/2 cup raisins contain 598 mg of potassium.
So add raisins to your pregnancy diet without a second thought.
Calcium is another key mineral every pregnant woman requires. An expecting woman should make sure she gets at least 1000 mg of calcium from her daily diet. Calcium is very crucial for the bone development of the baby.
If the pregnancy diet does not contain enough calcium, the fetus absorbs it from the mother’s bones. This can bring about critical health issues in the future. Therefore, ensuring adequate calcium intake during pregnancy is more important for the mother than the baby. Half a cup of raisins contains 45 milligrams of calcium.
Related Reading: What Teas Are Safe To Drink While Pregnant?
Health Benefits of Eating Raisins (Kishmish) During Pregnancy
Raisins offer numerous health benefits for both the mother and the unborn baby.
1. Helps to combat constipation
Constipation is a common issue during pregnancy. The surging hormones that hinder normal bowel movements are the main reason for constipation during pregnancy. Raisins are an excellent source of fiber and help to relieve constipation.
Eating soaked raisins during pregnancy not only helps to prevent or ease constipation, but it also boosts digestion and therefore helps to prevent symptoms of indigestion like heartburn.
2. Raisins during pregnancy for instant energy
Raisins are loaded with glucose and fructose. They are counted as one of those foods that provide instant energy. As the sugars in raisins are already in simple forms, the body can use them directly without breaking.
This provides instant energy. Pregnancy is a time when you feel your energy depleting every now and then. Munching a few raisins is an instant solution for combating fatigue due to low energy.
3. Promote healthy teeth and gums
Pregnancy hormones can take a toll on the dental and gum health of the expecting mother. They are, thus, vulnerable to cavities, tooth decay, bad breath, and gum issues.
Raisins are rich in calcium. Besides, according to studies, raisins contain phytochemicals that can potentially improve the health of the teeth and gums. These phytochemicals, especially oleanolic acid, help to fight off the cavity-causing microbes in the mouth. Chewing raisins also helps to get rid of bad breath.
4. Helps to improve the production of RBC
Raisins are rich in Iron, and therefore, they help to increase the level of hemoglobin. This promotes the formation of new red blood corpuscles. As the blood volume increases up to 50% during pregnancy, RBC production must also be increased accordingly. Eating raisins helps to boost the production of RBC.
5. Provides extra calories
During pregnancy, especially when you enter the third trimester, the mother needs an extra 200 calories a day. Eating raisins will help to meet this target very easily, without putting on extra weight. ¼ cup of raisins offers 124 calories.
Related Reading: 11 Reasons You Might Be Losing Weight During Pregnancy
6. Helps to ease leg cramps
Expecting mothers experience leg cramps or muscle pain during some point of pregnancy. This is more often due to the lack or insufficiency of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
100 grams of raisins provides 744 mg of potassium, 62 mg calcium, and 36 mg magnesium. Therefore, eating raisins during pregnancy helps to relieve muscle cramps.
7. Prevents anemia
Folic acid (vilaminB9) deficiency and iron deficiency are two major reasons that trigger anemia during pregnancy. Raisins are rich in iron and contain a considerable amount of B complex. Therefore, raisins are one of the best choices to prevent anemia during pregnancy.
8. Provide benefits of antioxidants
Pregnancy is a time the body gets into lots of stresses and strains that can bring about many health issues in the future. Developing a habit of munching a few raisins will help to decrease the risk of many health issues.
Raisins are rich in phytonutrients, such as phenols and polyphenols. These phytonutrients have strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that can potentially cause may serious health issues like osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.
Antioxidants in raisins also help to prevent eye damages in the fetus that bring about by free radicals. Studies show the antioxidants from the diet can boost immunity incredibly. Therefore, eating raisins during pregnancy helps to prevent or combat common viral and bacterial infections like cough, fever, cold, etc.
9. Improves appetite
During pregnancy, many mothers experience a loss of appetite. This is common during the first trimester when morning sickness takes a toll on them. Fiber, magnesium, and potassium in raisins together help to improve appetite. As raisins are high in potassium and low in sodium, they can be a healthy snack.
Related Reading: 15 Fruits Not To Eat During Pregnancy
10. Brings down blood pressure
Raisins are packed with potassium, which is a key element that regulates blood pressure. The antioxidants and dietary fiber in raisins favor the health of blood vessels. Therefore eating raisins is very beneficial for those who experiencing pregnancy hypertension.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Raisins During Pregnancy?
Intake of raisins during pregnancy is highly beneficial. However, if crossed the limits it can bring about many side effects. Many of these side effects are not at all favorable for the healthy progression of pregnancy.
Some of the side effects of excess intake of raisins are:
1. Increases the risk of gestational diabetes: Excessive intake of raisins results in shooting up blood sugar levels. This increases the chances of gestation diabetes. This may also increase the chances of type 2 diabetes in babies.
2. Can cause gas and bloating issues: Overconsumption of raisins increases the level of soluble fibers. This can bring about gastrointestinal issues like stomach pain, gas, and bloating.
3. Concerns of contamination: Raisins are dried versions of grapes. If the grapes which undergo the drying process are sprayed with pesticides during cultivation, the chances are more for raisins bearing its residue. Besides, the area where the raisins are stored will be fumigated regularly to get rid of the pests.
All these increase the risk of contamination of raisins. Eating contaminated raisins is not safe. Therefore, to avoid this risk, go for organic raisins during pregnancy.
Who Should Avoid Eating Raisins?
In spite of all its health benefits, eating raisins is not recommended to mothers who are experiencing gestational diabetes. Also, if you are having some chronic health issues, it is always recommended to get approval from the doctor before adding anything to your regular diet.
How Many Raisins Can You Eat Daily?
You can munch a few raisins whenever you crave something sweet. But be watchful as you can easily overdo it. To avoid this, always take a hand full of raisins in a small box. This is your daily ration. You can munch this together or spread it across the day.
How To Include Raisins In Your Pregnancy Diet?
Here are some ways to incorporate raisins during pregnancy:
- You can pair raisins with some protein and fat. Mix raisins with nuts like almonds and dried apricot; this will make a healthy snack.
- Take soaked raisins along with milk before bedtime. It will enhance the quality of sleep.
- You can store some nuts, raisins, and honey in a glass container. Have one tablespoon of this combination everyday morning. Ding this regularly will enhance your energy levels.
Why Soaked Raisins Are More Beneficial?
Soaking the raisins overnight and eating them along with the water in the morning increases the bioavailability of nutrients. This is because the vitamins and nutrients in the outer skin of the raisins dissolve in the water and easily get absorbed into the body.
It is also found that soaking raisins increase their antioxidant property. However, always select organic raisins for this purpose.