Dry fruits are known to be rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibre, and they are delicious. Dry fruits are excellent and very healthy substitutes for salty and fried snacks. They are especially beneficial for pregnant women.
Here in this article, we will discuss which dry fruits to eat during pregnancy, the best time to eat dry fruits during pregnancy, and the benefits and side effects of dry fruits.
Is It Safe To Eat Dry Fruits During Pregnancy?
According to medical experts, dried fruits contain the same nutrients as fresh fruit, which means that pregnant women can easily obtain their vitamins and minerals by consuming smaller portions of fruits than the same amount of fresh, watery fruits. Thus, you should always strike a balance and not over-indulge. So, yes, it is safe to eat dry fruits during pregnancy.
A note of caution here: it is very important to remember that dried fruit can be very high in sugar and do not have the same water content present in fresh fruit, which means that dry fruits won’t aid digestion. Therefore, pregnant women should only eat dried fruits in moderation and along with fresh fruits. You should not allow anything to interfere with your or your baby's health.
Dry Fruits in Pregnancy
1) Walnut Benefits
Walnuts, aka Akhrot, are a vital addition to your diet. These humble nuts are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient reduces oxidative stress in the brain. It also aids in boosting brain development and protects brain health in unborn children.
How To Consume
Expecting mothers can have three to four kernels of walnuts daily. Walnuts can be consumed raw or after being lightly roasted. Studies suggest that eating nuts during the first trimester of pregnancy can boost a child's neurodevelopment.
2) Apricot Benefits
Eating apricots during pregnancy is advised to boost a mother's iron intake. A handful of apricots, aka Khubani, contains 10% of your daily iron needs. Expecting mothers are vulnerable to anemia. Hence, apricots can be an essential part of a mother's diet.
Research suggests that apricots can also help regulate a mother's digestive process and aid constipation.
How To Consume
Mothers can add one or two chopped-up apricots to their breakfast or have it as a snack.
Also read: Indian foods for pregnancy
3) Fig Benefits
Dried fig or anjeer in pregnancy can help a mother with digestive problems. Figs contain a good amount of calcium, iron, potassium, copper and magnesium. Moreover, eating figs during pregnancy helps to reduce constipation owing to the high amount of fibre.
How To Consume
Pregnant women can have one to three figs in the form of a snack. One can add fresh figs to a salad. One can also consume figs by blending 2 cups of milk with some vanilla extract for taste.
4) Raisin Benefits
Pregnant women often crave sweets. Raisins during pregnancy can ease the sweet tooth while also doubling as a great source of iron and fibre. Raisins, also known as kishmish, help the body absorb water and subsequently create a laxative effect.
How To Consume
Expecting mothers can sprinkle four to five raisins daily on their salad. Raisins can be consumed raw, or they can be soaked in water and used in dishes.
5) Pistachio Benefits
Eating pista during pregnancy provides women with a rich source of energy. It's low on calories and has a high nutritional value. Having four to five pistachios during pregnancy can fulfil daily requirements of calcium, iron and folate. All of these nutrients are essential for the growth and development of your baby.
6) Cashew Benefits
One of the healthiest nuts in pregnancy is cashew (kaju). Cashew is full of fibre, calcium, zinc, iron, folic acid and magnesium. Cashews are also an excellent source of iron and hence increase the hemoglobin levels of a pregnant woman.
How To Consume
Women can mix a handful of cashews with other dry fruits and make it a snack. One can consume cashews during any trimester of pregnancy.
7) Orange Benefits
Oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C. This is an essential antioxidant that prevents cell damage.
How To Consume
Women can consume dry oranges by putting them in an air fryer or dehydrator. Eat these dried orange slices as snacks. You can have them with yoghurt or dark chocolate.
8) Dates Benefits
The answer is yes. Speaking about various dry fruits during pregnancy, dates are essential to your diet. Khajur not only satisfies the sweet tooth but also gives pregnant women the energy to fight off fatigue. Dates contain a high amount of potassium that helps reduce muscle weakness and fatigue.
How To Consume
Pregnant women can have two to three dates daily. It can be mixed into a smoothie or eaten raw.
9) Prunes Benefits
Eating prunes in pregnancy promotes good digestion and combats fatigue.
During the first trimester, women may experience anxiety. As per a study, the high amount of potassium in prunes helps manage anxiety and depression.
How To Consume
Pregnant women can have prunes separately as a snack. One can add it to puddings or salads. Additionally, it can be added to baked items or blended into a smoothie.
Benefits Of Eating Dry Fruits During Pregnancy
As mentioned before, dry fruits and nuts are extremely high in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, selenium etc. They are also a reliable source of antioxidants. They are also good at keeping the stomach full, thereby relieving hunger pangs, leading to overeating.
1. Good for Constipation Issues
Dry fruits, being very rich in dietary fibre, help to prevent constipation in pregnant women. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to constipation and various other problems, which can be solved by consuming dried fruits. A high-fibre diet is good for pregnant women. Thus, eating dry fruits in pregnancy is a good idea.
2. Rich Source of Iron
Iron is an integral part of a healthy pregnancy. Dry fruits like dates and dried figs can help you meet your daily iron requirements. In other words, they can act as iron supplements.
3. Works on Baby’s Bone Health
Dry fruits can provide you with a substantial amount of Vitamin A, which is extremely necessary for developing the foetus' bones and teeth. The magnesium content in dry fruits can help in the proper development of the nerves and bones of the baby. Thus, the consumption of dry fruits and nuts is essential.
4. Controls Blood Pressure
The potassium which is found in dry fruits and nuts can help with controlling blood pressure, and it can also enhance muscle control to a great extent.
5. Provides Energy to the Body
The natural sugar which is present in dry fruits can be digested quite easily and serve to provide a good dose of energy to your body.
6. Strengthens Uterus Muscles
Dry fruits such as dates or prunes are known to strengthen the uterus muscles, which helps make the delivery smooth. It also reduces the chances of postpartum bleeding.
7. Lowers the Risk of Asthma
Eating dry fruits during pregnancy is popularly believed to lower the risks of asthma and wheezing in a baby. Vitamin E, which is present in high amounts in dry fruits and nuts, can help develop the lungs and cells in the baby. This vitamin can also regulate your blood glucose levels and help prevent your baby from developing asthma.
Pro Tips For Consuming Dry Fruits
Here are a few tips for consuming dry fruits during pregnancy:
- It is best to consume raw dry fruits as snacks throughout the day.
- Also, if you are pregnant, it is better to avoid eating dry fruits late at night completely.
- It is recommended to eat almonds soaked in water since it increases the nutrition value of the nuts.
- You can also consume dry fruits and nuts by sprinkling them on a fruit salad. That way, you can consume both dry and fresh fruits simultaneously and strike a balance in your diet.
Side Effects And Risks Of Consuming Dry Fruits In Pregnancy
Consuming dry fruits in pregnancy has the following effects:
1. Weight Gain
Consuming too many dry fruits can lead to weight gain in an expecting mother. This is because dry fruits are high in calories and sugar.
2. Gastrointestinal Problems
Dry fruits can wreak havoc on your digestive systems if consumed in excess since too many dry fruits are difficult to digest.
3. Tooth Decay
As said earlier, dry fruits are high in sugar, so they can harm your dental health and lead to oral cavities.
The complex sugars in the dry fruits can get stored in your muscles, leading to fatigue and lethargy.
Precautions While Eating Dry Fruit
Here are the precautions you can take while eating dry fruits:
- You should avoid those dry fruits with preservatives and added sugars.
- You should always choose sun-dried fruits that have dried naturally instead of processed ones.
- You should store dry fruits and nuts in a closed container in order to prevent mould formation.
- You should check if the fruits are rotten in any way or are smelly before consuming them. Strictly avoid those dry fruits which have been discoloured.
A Dry Fruit Juice Recipe
- Pick a handful of your favourite nuts like cashews, almonds, pistas, dried figs and soak them in water for around one hour.
- Drain the water and peel the skin from the almonds. Add all of these into a blender. You can add some chopped dates to sweeten the shake. Blend these with 3/4th cups of milk.
- Add some cardamom powder for better digestion and taste. Serve the dry fruit juice immediately.
The following are the benefits of dry fruit juice:
- Helps to beat insomnia
- Prevents constipation
- Helps decrease nutritional deficiencies
- Promotes healthy weight gain
Pregnant women can have one glass of dry fruit juice daily.
Dry Fruits During the First Trimester of Pregnancy
Eating dry fruits early on in your pregnancy is crucial and beneficial for your body. Eating dry fruits has been associated with smart and intelligent babies in the past.
Dry Fruits During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Consuming dry fruits in moderation is the route you should take during your second trimester. This ensures an uncomplicated and smooth pregnancy.
Dry Fruits During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy
It should come as no surprise that one must consume dry fruits in the third trimester as well. Walnuts, especially, are said to aid pregnant women greatly. They regulate melatonin production and thus, induce sleep, providing mothers with much-needed rest during this challenging period.
Also read: Amla during pregnancy
Summing Up on Dry Fruits During Pregnancy
To sum up, dry fruits are a great source of nutrients for pregnant women. However, one should never indulge them in excess or eat dry fruits that are rotten, discoloured or have been processed. Always remember to pair dry fruits with fresh fruits to minimise any side effects of eating dry fruits.
Which Ladoo to Eat During Pregnancy?
Research suggests that pregnant women can have nachni or ragi ladoos. These ladoos are nutrient-dense and laden with iron.
How Much Dry Fruits Should You Eat in a Day?
Since dry fruits are high in sugar and calories, it is recommended that a pregnant woman should not eat more than 100 grams of dry fruits in a day during this time. It is important to watch what we eat during pregnancy since a lot of the baby’s health depends on what you eat. You should not consume any high-calorie foods during this time.
Can We Eat Cashew During Pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat cashew during pregnancy but only in limited quantities since cashew is a very high-fat nut. But otherwise, nuts are a great source of nutrition, whether it is during the first, second, or third trimester. Whether it is almonds, cashew, pistachios, or walnuts, they are all loaded with nutrients. You can eat 60 grams of nuts during the first trimester, 90 grams during the second, and 100-120 grams during the final phase.
Can We Eat Kaju in Pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat Kaju in pregnancy. Kaju and cashew are the same. Nuts, including cashews, are nutritious when consumed in moderation.
Can We Eat Prunes in Pregnancy?
The benefits of prunes are many since they are great for preventing constipation and aiding iron growth. It also controls pressure and fights depression. Eating prunes while keeping within limits during your pregnancy is usually safe and healthy. Each and every pregnancy is unique and has its own special needs, and whether or not you can eat prunes during your pregnancy will depend to a large extent on your overall health. If you truly want to know whether eating prunes will be good for your health or not, then consult your doctor. They will be your best guide to tell you about how many prunes you can consume daily.
Can We Eat Apricots in Pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat apricots in pregnancy. Apricots are a great source of iron. During pregnancy, a good source of iron is required to produce red blood cells, and iron is a greatly required nutrient during pregnancy; therefore, you should try to add some chopped apricots to your breakfast or have a couple of them as a snack.
Can We Eat Figs in Pregnancy?
Can pregnant women eat anjeer? The answer is yes. Intake of dried figs during pregnancy can provide a large number of health benefits for the stability of the body. However, they should not be consumed in excess because it might lead to a drop in blood sugar levels in pregnant women.
Qaiser Jabeen (2011) The pharmacological activities of prunes: The dried plums (Research Gate) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/215580910_The_pharmacological_activities_of_prunes_The_dried_plums
Anil Kumar, Mamta Metwal (2016) Nutraceutical Value of Finger Millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.], and Their Improvement Using Omics Approaches (U.S. National Library of Medicine) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925701/
Tabasum Fatima (2018) Nutritional and health benefits of apricots (Research Gate) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328274247_Nutritional_and_health_benefits_of_apricots