Fruits are an important powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to up the nutritional intake of an expectant mum. ‘Citrus fruits in particular are beneficial on many accounts during pregnancy. On an average a pregnant woman should consume 3 to 4 servings of fruits a day, of which up to 2 servings can be of citrus fruits for their varied benefits. Also try and have more of whole fruits than fruit juices. Some of the citrus fruits that do a great deal of good to a pregnant woman are:
What it offers: Oranges are rich sources of vitamin C and helps in absorption of other nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium by the body. The peel of the fruit is said to contain nearly twice the amount of vitamin C as compared to the fruit. ‘The peel can be included in the diet by scraping some rind and adding it to kanjis and sweet dishes as natural flavouring agents.
How it helps: ’Studies have shown that consumption of oranges increases the intake of vitamin C which in turn reduces the risk of allergies in the mother and boosts baby’s brain function too. Additionally, oranges are a rich source of folate which helps in preventing congenital conditions like spina bifida in the fetus. Folic acid is also associated with the red blood count, brain function and birth weight of the baby.
What it offers: Apart from being a rich source of folic acid, kiwis are also loaded with potassium, phosphorus, and copper among other nutrients. Low in fat and sugar, they make a great snack option and are also devoid of any cholesterol.
How it helps: ‘The rich fibre of the fruit helps in stabilizing the maternal blood glucose to prevent formation of macrosomic babies or large babies. It also helps in dealing with constipation, bloating and other digestive discomforts a woman faces during pregnancy,. Because the fruit is rich in folic acid women taking it even during the preconception period can also benefit from it. Additionally kiwi is rich in water soluble vitamin C and fat soluble vitamin D.
What it offers: This fruit is rich in folic acid and bioflavanoids like liminoids, lycopene, vitamin A, vitamin B5, potassium and fibre.
How it helps: ‘The bioflavanoid present in grapefruit helps in strengthening the connective tissues, reduce inflammation and hence protect from various allergies contributing towards both maternal and fetal health. Also its vitamin C and folic acid content makes it a must-have fruit for pregnant woman.
What it offers: Apart from being a rich source of vitamin C, sweet lime is also considered to be a storehouse of folic acid and antioxidants that are good for the developing baby.
How it helps: ‘Lime juice when consumed during pregnancy helps relieve some of the conditions like constipation, gas, nausea, poor digestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and swollen feet among many others.