Fruit should be one of the building blocks of your diet during pregnancy, but not all fruits are created equal. Additionally, health conditions such as gestational diabetes may pose some extra considerations. A healthy, balanced diet is essential for optimal development of the fetus. The Midwifery Today website recommends getting essential vitamins and minerals from natural food sources when possible and eating three servings of well-washed healthy fruits daily.
According to the National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet, adequate folate prevents anemia and birth defects. Folate is a water-soluble B-vitamin essential for maintaining new cells while the fetus is growing rapidly. Citrus fruits, avocados, cantaloupes, bananas and papayas are naturally rich in folate. Avocado is a healthy substitute for margarine and butter. You can spread ripe avocado on a sandwich like any other spread.
A woman's need for vitamin C increases during pregnancy. Healthy fruits rich in vitamin C include citrus like oranges and grapefruits. Cantaloupes, honeydew melons and strawberries make vitamin-C-rich snacks also. Water-soluble vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, providing protection for cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting the immune system and maintaining eye health.
Pregnant and lactating women also have an increased need for vitamin B6. This vitamin is essential in keeping the nervous system healthy, building new red blood cells and maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. Bananas and avocados are good sources of vitamin B6. One medium banana and half a cup of raw avocado equal 16 percent of the recommended daily value.
Fiber is classified in two categories: soluble and insoluble. Citrus fruits and apples are rich in soluble fiber, essential in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber also prevents constipation and lowers cholesterol. Apples, oranges and grapefruits are naturally low in calories, fiber rich and nutrient dense, which helps prevent excess weight gain during pregnancy. Juicing fruits removes the fiber, so be sure to eat fruits whole to reap the benefits.
Gestational diabetes occurs in up to 14 percent of pregnancies. In this case, keeping blood glucose levels stable is especially important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests avoiding fruits and fruit juices at breakfast. Eating smaller meals more often will help keep blood sugar levels stable. Apples and citrus fruits high in soluble fiber slow the absorption of food and the rise of blood glucose. This may reduce the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, according to MayoClinic.com.
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