During pregnancy, a healthy diet is important for both the mother and baby. But why avoid bananas during pregnancy? Bananas are nutritious fruit containing potassium, fiber, minerals, iron, and other vitamins. However, there is a myth that pregnant women should avoid bananas. In this article, we will explore whether this is true and how much banana consumption is recommended during pregnancy. We will also discuss the benefits of eating bananas and why they should not be completely avoided.
6 Reasons Why to Avoid Banana During Pregnancy
Fruit is a natural and healthy source of nutrition, containing minerals, vitamins, and fiber. However, not all fruits are safe for pregnant women to consume. Papayas and pineapples are to be avoided as they can cause uterine wall contractions and pain during early labor. Similarly, there is some uncertainty surrounding the recommendation to eat green bananas during pregnancy. In this article, we will explore why bananas are believed to be harmful during pregnancy, including their potential negative effects. Also, learn about the Pregnancy Month calculator and find out which month of pregnancy you are in by clicking on my previous article.
1. Risk of Hyperkalaemia
Potassium is plentiful in bananas, and it is necessary for pregnant women. However, consuming too many bananas during pregnancy can result in increased blood potassium levels, making it unsafe. Hyperkalemia is a condition in which the nerves and muscle cells do not function properly when there is an excess of potassium in the blood. During pregnancy, a high potassium level is linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which is the hardening or thickening of the arteries.
2. Risk of allergies
Bananas are a prevalent allergen, and pregnant women may have a higher risk of developing an allergy to them. Pregnant women with a history of food allergies or sensitivities should exercise caution when consuming bananas, as they may be more susceptible to an allergic reaction.
A banana allergy can result in mild to severe symptoms, including anaphylaxis, hives, and itching. As severe allergic reactions to bananas can be life-threatening, pregnant women should be aware of the risks and avoid consuming them if they are already aware of an allergy.
3. Risk of birth defects
According to certain studies, consuming an excessive amount of bananas during pregnancy may raise the risk of birth defects such as cleft lip or palate.
Pregnant women must be mindful of potential risks and consume bananas in moderation, although further research is needed to confirm this link. It is also important to note that birth defects may be caused by other factors, such as maternal health, environmental toxins, and genetics.
Tyramine, a chemical present in bananas, can trigger migraines. Consuming too many bananas can cause this problem, which is harmful to both the mother and the baby. The body converts the amino acids in bananas into tyramine, which can cause severe headaches. The stress and pain of migraines can be very distressing for the mother and can adversely affect the baby. As a result, excessive consumption of bananas should be avoided. Plant foods are known to cause headaches immediately in migraine sufferers, although not in those with tension-type headaches. Although the likelihood is low, bananas fall into this category.
5. Increases sleepiness
Bananas are high in tryptophan, which can dilate blood vessels and cause drowsiness. Consuming too many bananas can result in excessive sleep, which can negatively affect the mother’s mood, causing anxiety, stress, and restlessness during pregnancy. Therefore, eating a banana at night while pregnant is not recommended, as it can lead to stress, which is harmful to the baby’s growth and development.
6. Risk of acid Reflux
Bananas are known to cause acid reflux, which can be particularly uncomfortable for pregnant women as they already have higher acid production. Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy that make it easier for acid to back up into the throat and relax the muscles in the esophagus and stomach, pregnant women already have a higher risk of acid reflux. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid bananas, which can aggravate acid reflux and make it even more uncomfortable.
How many bananas you can eat during Pregnancy?
Assuming you don’t have any kidney issues or high potassium levels, it is recommended that you consume 2-4 medium-sized bananas per day. Please note that this may vary for each pregnant woman. Dietitians typically advise checking your potassium and sugar levels before determining your daily intake.
Bananas can be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. However, it would help if you do not rely solely on bananas for your nutritional needs, as other healthy fruits should be included in your diet.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women consume at least 2-4 servings of fruits, including bananas, per day. A medium-sized banana is considered a serving of fruit. Therefore, consuming 2-4 bananas per day as part of a healthy pregnancy diet is safe. If you want to know how many bananas you should eat during pregnancy, it is best to consult with a doctor first.
Benefits of Eating Bananas During Pregnancy
Consuming bananas in moderation can provide various health benefits as they are a good source of vitamins and minerals that promote energy and fetal growth during pregnancy.
Gives a Quick Energy Boost
Bananas are rich in carbohydrates due to the presence of simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. These sugars can be quickly metabolized by the body, providing an immediate energy boost. In the final trimester of pregnancy, consuming bananas can offer a rapid surge of energy. Therefore, keeping this fruit close by is advisable. Eating bananas can also help combat fatigue and enhance energy levels.
Helps to Alleviate Morning Sickness
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which is known to alleviate symptoms of morning sickness. Having a banana in the morning can help to reduce nausea and vomiting. This is because vitamin B6 plays a vital role in the development of the fetus’s nervous system, particularly during the first trimester. It also helps in the formation of neurotransmitters that can aid in alleviating the symptoms of morning sickness.
Development of the Baby’s Nervous System
Bananas are rich in water-soluble vitamin B6, which is crucial for developing a baby’s central nervous system. Therefore, consuming bananas regularly during the first trimester of pregnancy may also benefit the baby’s brain development.
Maintain Healthy Skin
Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, which is necessary for the body to absorb iron. Moreover, it helps in bone growth, tissue repair, and maintenance of skin health. Being an antioxidant, vitamin C aids in preventing infections. Eating bananas during pregnancy can offer both the unborn child and the expecting mother all the benefits of vitamin C.
Helps Lower the Risk of Oedema
During pregnancy’s second and third trimesters, many expecting mothers experience edema, also known as water retention. This can cause joint swelling in the feet, ankles, and other areas. If you notice swelling in your ankles or joints, it is recommended to avoid salty foods and include bananas in your diet as they can help to reduce swelling.
How to Include Bananas in Your Diet During Pregnancy?
During your pregnancy, there are several ways to include bananas in your diet:
- A delicious way to incorporate fruits into your diet is by having a smoothie or banana milkshake. You can blend low-fat milk, ripe banana, and strawberries to create a tasty smoothie.
- If you crave something to munch on, you can have banana chips during pregnancy. However, these are usually seasoned and deep-fried. To make a healthier version without oil, you can use low-sodium salt and bake them instead of frying.
- If you don’t want to prepare anything, simply eat the whole banana to receive the maximum health benefits.