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Dry Fruits and Nuts During Pregnancy: Benefits, Risks and How to Eat

During pregnancy, food cravings are inevitable, whatever the type of food it is. And during this period, making healthy choices are important. So, why not include something healthy like dry fruits and nuts into your diet to ensure that both you and the baby remain healthy.

Most dry fruits and nuts such as apricots, figs, apples, walnuts, almonds, raisins, and pistachios are good for pregnant women as they are rich in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and so on.

Dry fruits contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruits, just except the water content. Nuts are nutrient-dense food, and eating a handful of them during pregnancy will help you meet your nutritional needs.

Benefits Of Eating Dried Fruits And Nuts During Pregnancy

1. Prevent constipation

Dry fruits and nuts are rich in fibre that aid in preventing constipation, the most common issues women face during pregnancy. During this period, a lot of hormonal imbalances take place which can lead to constipation. Dry fruits are also a great source of polyphenol antioxidants [1] .

2. Increase blood count

Dry fruits and nuts like dates, almonds, and cashews contain a good amount of iron, an essential mineral required during pregnancy [2] . During this period, the body supplies blood and oxygen to your baby, so with the rise in the need for blood supply, the need for iron content in your body too increases.

3. Control blood pressure

Dry fruits and nuts are great sources of potassium, an important mineral that helps in stabilizing blood pressure levels and enhancing muscle control. High blood pressure during pregnancy puts too much pressure on the heart and kidneys, which can increase the risk of heart or kidney disease and stroke [3] .

4. Aid in developing baby's teeth & bones

Dry fruits and nuts provide a substantial amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin required for developing the baby's teeth and bones. It also helps in keeping the immune system functioning properly, maintaining vision and helping in foetal growth and development [4] .

5. Strengthen the bones

Dry fruits and nuts are an excellent source of calcium, which is necessary during pregnancy. When you are pregnant, your body needs more calcium to keep your teeth and bones healthy and also for your baby to develop stronger bones and teeth [5] .

Other benefits of consuming dry fruits and nuts are as follows:

  • Dates and prunes strengthen the uterus muscles and make the delivery process easier by lowering the chances of bleeding post-delivery.
  • Consumption of dry fruits and nuts during pregnancy reduce the risk of asthma and wheezing [6] .
  • Walnuts, cashews, and almonds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids which prevent pre-term labour and delivery, and increase birth weight and lower the risk of preeclampsia.

List Of Dry Fruits And Nuts To Consume During Pregnancy

  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Dried apricots
  • Raisins
  • Dried apples
  • Dates
  • Dried figs
  • Dried bananas
  • Peanuts

Side Effects Of Consuming Dry Fruits And Nuts

Dry fruits and nuts should be consumed in moderation. Excess of it can cause gastrointestinal problems, weight gain, fatigue, and tooth decay because they are high in natural sugars and calories.

Precautions To Take While Consuming Dry Fruits And Nuts

  • Avoid dry fruits which have added sugars and preservatives in it.
  • Choose natural sun-dried fruits instead of the processed ones.
  • Store dry fruits and nuts in a closed container to prevent catching mould.
  • Check if the fruits are rotten and smelly before consuming.
  • Avoid dry fruits which are discoloured.

Ways To Eat Dry Fruits And Nuts During Pregnancy

  • You can consume them raw.
  • Add nuts to some savoury dishes like poha, upma, etc.
  • Add nuts and dry fruits to your salads, pudding, custards, and sandwiches.
  • You can also make your own dry fruit and nut trail mix, a very healthy snack to eat when your food craving arises.
  • Mix it up in your smoothie or milkshake.

How Much Dry Fruits And Nuts To Eat In A Day?

As dry fruits and nuts contain more calories, it is recommended to eat a handful. You can also eat a mix of all the dry fruits and nuts to meet your nutritional requirements.

Also keep in mind that eating dry fruits and nuts alone won't help. Consuming fresh fruits daily will also provide your body with an adequate amount of nutrients.

Note: Please consult your gynaecologist before consuming dry fruits or nuts.

View Article References
  1. [1] Vinson, J. A., Zubik, L., Bose, P., Samman, N., & Proch, J. (2005). Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants.Journal of the American College of Nutrition,24(1), 44-50.
  2. [2] Brannon, P. M., & Taylor, C. L. (2017). Iron Supplementation during Pregnancy and Infancy: Uncertainties and Implications for Research and Policy.Nutrients,9(12), 1327.
  3. [3] Sibai, B. M. (2002). Chronic hypertension in pregnancy.Obstetrics & Gynecology,100(2), 369-377.
  4. [4] Bastos Maia, S., Rolland Souza, A. S., Costa Caminha, M. F., Lins da Silva, S., Callou Cruz, R., Carvalho Dos Santos, C., & Batista Filho, M. (2019). Vitamin A and Pregnancy: A Narrative Review.Nutrients,11(3), 681.
  5. [5] Willemse, J. P., Meertens, L. J., Scheepers, H. C., Achten, N. M., Eussen, S. J., van Dongen, M. C., & Smits, L. J. (2019). Calcium intake from diet and supplement use during early pregnancy: the Expect study I.European journal of nutrition, 1-8.
  6. [6] Grieger, J. A., Wood, L. G., & Clifton, V. L. (2013). Improving asthma during pregnancy with dietary antioxidants: the current evidence.Nutrients,5(8), 3212–3234.

Read more about: dry fruits health benefits
Story first published: Friday, September 13, 2019, 18:17 [IST]
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