Pregnancy is the phase that connects the mother and the baby and making healthy choices helps both. Healthy and nutritious food results in a healthy baby and also keep the mother away from infections and complications. Including fresh fruits and vegetables in the pregnancy diet offers good nutrient value and ensures proper growth and development of the baby. But some of them should be avoided during pregnancy. While some fruits should be totally avoided during pregnancy, some should be limited or consumed in moderation to reap optimum benefits. One such fruit is banana. Though it is a tropical fruit and has many minerals and vitamins, over-consumption of bananas during pregnancy can create problems.
Let us have a look at different postulates and ‘why avoid bananas during pregnancy?’ is suggested.
Is Banana Harmful During Pregnancy?
No, having a banana is considered safe and there are many health benefits of eating banana during pregnancy. It is also a cause of concern that if it is safe why avoid bananas during pregnancy? It is a wonder fruit that has many minerals, vitamins, and fiber. It is an instant energy booster and having it in moderation is completely safe yet having an excess amount is not good for the mother and the baby.
It should also be avoided if the pregnant woman has allergies or suffers from conditions such as gestational diabetes. It should only be included in the pregnancy diet once the doctor approves of it. For precautions, it is best to have it in moderation, have fresh ones, not to consume overripe bananas, and always consult a doctor before including it in the diet1.
Related Reading: 21 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
Can A Pregnant Woman Eat Banana Every Day?
Bananas are good for relieving morning sickness and are a great source of vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin c, vitamin b6, and fiber. The National Institute of Health recommends 3-4 servings of bananas daily for pregnant women.
Also, a point to ponder is the importance of banana in pregnancy 3rd trimester is advisable against other trimesters.
According to a study in the initial three months, no extra calories are needed by the pregnant woman, but the second trimester demands 350 extra calories daily while 450 extra calories are required daily in the third trimester. Banana has 110 calories and has good fiber content and good minerals and vitamins so are chosen by many pregnant women for a number of reasons.
When Should Bananas Be Avoided During Pregnancy?
Bananas, although a great source of minerals, vitamins and fiber, are yet not suitable for pregnant women. Women. with below conditions should avoid bananas during pregnancy-
- Who have allergies
- Who suffer from diabetes or gestational diabetes
- Those who are asked to stay away from it (by doctors)
Bananas contain a latex-like substance, chitinase, that can increase heat in the body which is not beneficial for the mother and the baby2.
9 Reasons You Should Avoid Bananas During Pregnancy
Having fruits is a healthy and natural way to attain nutrition. Fruits are a powerhouse of minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Some fruits are safe while some fruits are a strict no in pregnancy. Pineapples and papayas are not recommended at all as they tend to induce early labor pain because of the contraction of the uterine walls. Similarly, some confusion is there if having a green banana during pregnancy is recommended. Below are reasons why you should avoid bananas. during pregnancy-
1. Women having gestational diabetes should avoid eating bananas
Consumption of excess bananas can spike sugar levels, so it is advisable to consult a doctor before including bananas in the diet if one has gestational diabetes. It is better to look for other fiber-rich fruits like apples or pears that can give the same nutritional value and energy.
2. Having overripe bananas or black bananas
It is not recommended to have this type of banana as they may carry eggs of fruit flies. This is harmful to the health as it can lead to stomach ailments. It is important to avoid vomiting and diarrhea during pregnancy, as both increase the risk of dehydration. Dehydration during pregnancy triggers many pregnancy complications.
3. In case of an existing allergy bananas should be avoided
If one is allergic to bananas, you should never eat them during pregnancy. No matter how nutritious a food is, pregnancy is simply not the time to experiment with food choices at all. Banana has a latex allergen that increases the heat in the body. Increasing core body temperature during pregnancy is not good both for the mother and the developing baby.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Healthy Baby In Womb- Trimester Wise
4. Suffering from Hyperkalaemia
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. Potassium is essential for pregnant women. Excessive intake of bananas during pregnancy is, however, not safe, as it hikes the blood potassium level. The presence of too much potassium in our bloodstream causes a condition called Hyperkalaemia, a condition that disrupts the functioning of the muscle cells and the nerves3. A high potassium level during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis- a thickening or hardening of the arteries4.
5. Bananas can trigger tooth decay
Since banana is rich in sugar content, their excess consumption can affect dental health as well, and as per studies, too many bananas are more harmful to the teeth than chocolates or other sugary products. Dental issues at the time of pregnancy are a tough battle as no dentist can help you as it is not advisable to take X-ray or offer treatments or strong medicines to combat tooth pain. So, it is advisable to look for other fruit alternatives that do not harm the teeth.
6. Bananas can cause constipation
Bananas are high in carbohydrates. It also comprises simple sugars like glucose, sucrose, and fructose, that offer immediate energy boosts. As per research, it contains a good amount of tannic acid, and the excess consumption of bananas can be harmful to the health of the mother and the baby. Even raw banana during pregnancy is also advisable if there are no constipation issues with the pregnant woman.
Related Reading: 18 Home Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy
Bananas contain chemical tyramine that can develop and trigger migraines. So, having excess bananas can lead to this problem which is not beneficial for the mother or the baby. Bananas contain amino acids, that the body converts into tyramine which triggers severe headaches. The migraine pain is very disturbing and stresses the mother which is not good for both the mother and the baby. So excess consumption of bananas should be avoided5. Patients with migraines (but none with tension-type headaches) are found to experience headaches soon after consuming plant foods. Bananas fall into this group even though the chances are relatively low (0.46 %).
Related Reading: 7 Home Remedies For Headache During Pregnancy
Bananas are acidic in nature. If bananas are taken on an empty stomach during pregnancy, it can cause bowel issues. Having acidic problems during pregnancy can be harmful to the mother and indirectly affects the developing baby. So, having some less acidic alternatives would be a better bet6.
9. Bananas increases sleepiness
Having excess consumption of bananas can increase sleepiness due to the presence of high amounts of tryptophan found in them that can dilate the blood vessels. Excessive sleep during pregnancy can hinder the mother’s mood and can lead to anxiety, stress, and restlessness. So, it is not advisable to eat a banana during pregnancy at night as the mother undergoes stress which is not good for the growth and development of the baby.
Is Craving Bananas During Pregnancy Indicative Of Baby Gender?
There are many old wives’ tales that claim to guess the baby’s gender based on many clues. One of those clues is pregnancy craving. Though none of them are proven scientifically, it is a good and funny way to pass time, which many mothers would like to do. And, yes, sometimes it can be true while it can fail at others as well.
In fact, some pregnant women do not have any cravings at all, and the best way to know the baby’s gender is only through the ultrasound and that can be done post the 16th week.
Science does not correlate to the gender prediction based on the cravings of the mother. However, cravings are scientifically linked to the body’s way of meeting certain nutrients that are deficient. In this context, banana cravings could be an indication your body is lacking potassium or a sign of low levels of the amino acid tryptophan. Bananas are a great source of tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin in the body. And serotonin is known to make one relax and enhance the mood7. No wonder the body urges to eat a banana.! Remember mood swings are very common during pregnancy and there are a few tried and tested ways to combat emotions during pregnancy.
Related Reading: Eating Cherries During Pregnancy- Benefits, Risks And Precautions
Thus, bananas are certainly a great source of essential nutrients for pregnant women and have ample health advantages for both the mother and the baby, yet it is important to keep their consumption in moderation. One needs to keep a track of the exceptional cases and avoid the consumption of bananas and find other alternatives to meet the dietary requirement.
To include bananas in the pregnancy diet, the given below ways can be used:
-Banana oatmeal: Adding oatmeal, chopped bananas, almonds with yogurt can be taken as a smoothie, which is high in fiber content and offers extra energy as well
-Banana smoothie: A great way to have a banana is by blending it with some strawberries and low-fat milk and having a smoothie or a banana shake
-Banana chips: In case of excess craving, banana chips during pregnancy are a food option, which should be either baked or made in an air fryer than being deep-fried
-Whole fruit: In case making something is too much of a hassle, then it can be had as a whole fruit also
Consumption of red bananas is considered safe during pregnancy. They have the same nutritional value as yellow bananas and even help to boost lactation.
Bananas should be consumed in moderation. So, having 1-2 medium bananas is good but it is important to get a go-ahead from the doctor and consult how many bananas should be included in the diet.