Nutrition is probably one of the most important parts of pregnancy – not just because you’re taking care of your own body, but because everything you do affects your baby. This is why it’s so important for women to include a wide variety of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals in their daily diets. But there are some foods you should eat regularly during pregnancy; grapefruit is one of them.
Bred in the 18th century as a cross between a pomelo and an orange, grapefruits were given their names because of how they grow. They range in color from white to pink and red, and they can vary in taste from acidic or bitter to sweet or sugary. While low in calories, they’re packed full of nutrients that can provide you and baby with multiple health benefits that extend well beyond pregnancy.
Blood Pressure and Pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia occurs in approximately 8 percent of all pregnant women. It can result in premature birth, and even death if not monitored correctly. Developing pre-eclampsia during your first pregnancy can also increase your risk of developing it during a subsequent pregnancy. Those at highest risk are those that suffer from high blood pressure prior to conception.
Because it contains both potassium and lycopene, grapefruit does a bit of double-duty, so to speak, when it comes to blood pressure problems; not only can it help in the fight to lower blood pressure in those already suffering from elevated levels, it can also help prevent blood pressure problems – even those relating to pregnancy.
Struggling with high cholesterol problems? Containing both fiber and pectin, grapefruit works as a natural vasodilator. Keep in mind, however, that this should not be considered a substitute for proper medical care or treatment.
During the last trimester, sleeping can be uncomfortable. Paired with last minute jitters and nerves, it can lead to an insomnia problem for expectant mothers. Grapefruit has been found to help alleviate symptoms, especially if consumed just before bed.
While it’s important to gain the proper amount of weight during pregnancy, there are expectant mothers that struggle with either gaining too much weight, or gaining it too quickly. This makes grapefruit a wonderful snack or meal addition. Containing only 52 calories, it has been shown in studies to help with weight loss. This isn’t the goal while pregnant, of course, but this suggests that it may help curb fast or excessive weight gain.
Indigestion and Heartburn
As baby begins to grow, there is less room in mom’s body for vital organs. This can lead to all kinds of pregnancy related symptoms, including heartburn and indigestion. Grapefruit can help neutralize stomach acid and reduce such complications.
Early pregnancy can mean morning sickness for many expectant mothers. For some, it’s worse than others. Grapefruit can help, especially early in the morning. Its sweet-sour taste can help curb the waves of nausea, and its fiber content helps to settle the stomach.
Some studies suggest that diets high in B vitamins can reduce the risk of anemia. As a common problem among pregnant women, grapefruits can work as both a preventative, as well as something to use in conjunction with medical care if anemia problems already exist.
Studies have suggested that diets high in vitamin C can help lower a person’s risk of developing asthma. Though this benefit may or may not transfer to baby, this is an important thing to consider since asthma during pregnancy could raise your child’s risk of developing it as well.
Swelling and Water Retention
Water retention and swelling in the legs and feet are extremely common during pregnancy, especially during the final trimester. Because grapefruits contain both bioflavonoids and vitamin C, they can help reduce both water retention and swelling.
Bone Density Loss and Calcium Intake
Calcium is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, and some mothers struggle to get enough of it. This can lead to problems for baby, as well as mother later on in life. A single grapefruit provides 2% of the daily calcium intake. When paired with other sources, it can help fight bone density loss later in life for mother and help ensure proper bone formation for baby.
Bowel Problems and Hydration
Pregnancy can cause a slew of digestive issues, especially as the pregnancy progresses. Constipation can be extremely troublesome. Dehydration – which can be an issue for summer pregnancies as well as those suffering from severe morning sickness – can further compound constipation issues. Because it has one of the highest water contents of all fruits (91%) and is full of electrolytes, grapefruit can help curb both dehydration and constipation.
Cold and Flu
Being pregnant is enough work without getting sick. Plus, you want to stay as healthy as possible for your baby. Because of its high vitamin C content, grapefruit can help you do just that.
People talk about the pregnancy glow – but clearer, brighter skin isn’t always a reality. This is because hormones are changing, and sometimes new allergies can pop up, causing mild to severe skin problems. Vitamin C found within grapefruit can help promote healthy skin, and may even help reduce signs of skin damage from both sun and pollution.
It’s never too early to think about cancer prevention – and grapefruit can provide you with a slew of it. From breast cancer to esophageal cancer and stomach cancer, grapefruit provides antioxidants well-known for their cancer preventative benefits.
Diabetes and Glucose Problems
For some expectant mothers, diabetes is a problem at the onset of pregnancy. For others, gestational diabetes may present sometime during the second or third trimester. For both types, grapefruit can be helpful in reducing the starches and sweets in the system. And, because grapefruit is low in sugars, it can be safely consumed, unlike some other types of fruits.
Warning: If you take certain medications, you should check with your doctor before consuming grapefruit; it has been found to change the effectiveness of some types of medications. Those suffering from GERD or kidney disease should also discuss potential side effects of grapefruit consumption.