Fruits and vegetables take the top position when it comes to eating right during pregnancy. A soon-to-be mom is exposed to advice from different sources on what to eat and what not to?
Of the various options that are generally suggested berries do find a mention and of all the berries, blueberry finds a special mention owing to its strong nutrient profile and beneficial properties. Blueberries are liked and enjoyed by people of all ages and are found to be safe for consumption. However, is it safe to eat blueberry during pregnancy? Lets us dig deeper into the topic and explore the answer in this article.
Table of Content:
What Is Blueberry?
Native to North America, blueberry is a small dark blue fruit which is sweet and juicy in taste. Women often crave blueberries during pregnancy. Though native to North America, it has successfully crossed boundaries and has become part of many cuisines in various countries because of its tremendous nutrition profile. Blueberry comes from a perennial flowering plant with blue coloured berries. These berries get their colour and health benefits from a substance called anthocyanin which are phytochemicals responsible for blue colour. Botanically, it belongs to Ericaceae family and Vaccinium genus which also includes other berries like cranberries and bilberries. Traditionally, blueberries are handpicked, so they require intense labouring effort during harvesting.
Beautiful Blueberry – Nutrition Profile
Because of the presence of phytochemicals like anthocyanin, kaempferol and flavonoids; blueberries become a powerful source of antioxidants. They contain folate, Vitamin C and K and mineral like manganese and calcium. They also provide iron, sodium and zinc. Blueberries contain carbohydrate in the form of naturally occurring sugar and fibre.
One serving of blueberry (150 gms) contains
- 80 calories,
- Around 4 gram of fibre,
- Roughly 100 milligrams of potassium,
- Zero cholesterol and
- About 1 g of protein
How Good Are Blueberries For Health – Benefits Of Blueberries?
Management of type II diabetes and prevention of heart ailments: consumption of blueberry is shown to be associated with the improved level of blood sugar. Blueberry has no cholesterol and it is rich in potassium, fibre, vitamin C and phytonutrients; it is considered to be beneficial when it comes to managing heart health as well.
Prevention from Cancer and other degenerative diseases: Rich in antioxidants, blueberry fruit helps protect the cells from damaging action of the free radicals and various diseases linked to them; cancer being one of them. Antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and they are also shown to be associated with decreased growth of tumours.
Maintenance of healthy bones and joints: Rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron, blueberry consumption aids to healthy bones and joints.
Skin Health: Collagen; the main structural protein that is found in skin and other connective tissue is dependent on vitamin C for its efficient functioning and since Blueberry fruit is rich in vitamin C; it helps in maintaining good skin health and delays wrinkles.
Overall health and wellness: Blueberries are a good source of phytonutrients such as minerals, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants and at the same time low in calorie content so put together they contribute to the overall well being of the individual.
Pregnancy And Blueberry – Is it Safe To Eat Blueberry During Pregnancy?
Eating blueberry during pregnancy is very safe when eaten in moderation; as established by Medline Plus. Since there are not sufficient research and evidence on results when they are consumed excessively during gestation so, it will be prudent to avoid excessive consumption of the blueberry fruit during this time.
Why Eat Blueberry During Pregnancy – Health Profile
Good Source Of Vitamin C:
When immunity goes low in pregnancy and there are limited choices of medicine that can be administered; blueberries come to the rescue by boosting immunity, all courtesy to its vitamin C content. Vitamin C is also associated with efficient absorption of iron, a mineral which is of paramount importance during pregnancy. Hence it becomes vital to eat blueberry during pregnancy.
Maintains Bowel Movement:
As a source of dietary fibre, blueberry aids the digestion process and reduces symptoms of constipation, witnessed commonly during pregnancy. There are evidences which have suggested that fibers also help in reducing chances of gestational diabetes.
Good For Cardiovascular Profile:
Laden with antioxidants, blueberries are very good for heart health and blood pressure. Source of one of the most critical nutrient during pregnancy called folate (a naturally occurring form of folic acid). Folic acid is shown to be important for the neural tube development of the fetus, hence it is of prime importance to eat blueberry during pregnancy not only for the mother but for the fetus as well.
Low in fat and high fibre blesses blueberry with an apt weight management profile. Rich fibre content gives a feeling of satiation without adding pounds. So a pregnant woman can enjoy blueberries’ nutrition profile keeping weight worry at bay.
Good For Baby:
Blueberries are full of vitamins and minerals which help promote growth. It contains polyphenols which is supposed to make your baby's bones grow stronger. Also, consuming blueberries during pregnancy can help protect your baby from several long-term diseases.
Maintains body fluid and electrolyte balance: since the body undergoes various transformations during gestation which includes an increase of blood volume as well; it becomes important that electrolyte balance is maintained failing which the body might witness dehydration and muscle cramps.
Uses Of Blueberry
1. Blueberry is used for the treatment of various conditions like cataracts, cancer, haemorrhoids, colic pain, diabetes, arthritis etc.
2. Blueberry tea made from its dried leaves is used for treating inflammation and swelling of the throat
3. It is used for the treatment of diarrhoea in dried form along with its leaves
4. In the combination of other elements, blueberry is used for treating some skin ailments.
5. Blueberry extract, a natural substance is sold in various forms like juice, supplement or powder and used for various diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure or muscular degeneration which are age-related.
How To Include Blueberry In The Diet – Blueberries During Pregnancy And Beyond
1. With fresh, dried, frozen varieties of blueberry fruit that are available, it has become easier to include them in the diet.
2. They can be eaten fresh as a replacement for some unhealthy sugary snack especially when it comes to eating blueberries during pregnancy.
3. As salad: Fresh or dried blueberries can be used in various salads ranging from our regular salads to something made in a combination of strawberry, nuts, greens and cheese. A handy and healthy option to eat blueberry when pregnant.
4. In breakfast as a flavouring in a smoothie made from low-fat milk or yoghurt along with frozen blueberries
5. As a light dessert or a topping over pancakes, waffles, oatmeals etc. A tastier way to enjoy blueberry in pregnancy.
6. In combination with wholegrain: they can be mixed with millet, brown rice and quinoa a little before they are ready to be served.