Craving Tomatoes During Pregnancy? Here’s What it Means

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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While pregnancy cravings are fairly common, you may wonder why you are craving certain foods, such as tomatoes! 

Overall, craving tomatoes during pregnancy is very common and nothing to worry about. Cravings may be caused by the natural hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

From tomato juice to whole tomatoes and more, let’s talk about your unusual craving for tomatoes during pregnancy and how to safely indulge. 

What Does It Mean If I’m Craving Tomatoes When Pregnant? 

Pregnancy cravings are incredibly common are nothing to worry about, as long as you only crave safe foods or beverages. In fact, it is estimated that 50 to 90 percent of women experience specific food cravings during pregnancy (source: Frontiers in Psychology). 

Craving tomatoes or other acidic foods during pregnancy can have many meanings. During pregnancy, hormones fluctuate greatly, which can impact the senses, including taste and smell (source: Frontiers in Psychology).

Therefore, many researchers believe hormone fluctuations are the leading cause of cravings in pregnancy.

heap of fresh tomatoes

Additionally, it is often thought that increased food sensitivity protects pregnant women from potential toxins.

Pregnancy cravings might also come from nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, craving tomatoes would suggest a lack of vitamin C, fiber, or antioxidants in the diet.

However, this hypothesis would not necessarily explain why many pregnant women crave food low in nutrition, such as desserts, salty snacks, or fast food. 

In other words, there is no straightforward answer to why you are craving tomatoes during month of pregnancy. However, whether you are craving them because of a nutrient deficiency, hormonal changes, or an entirely different reason, there are ways to safely and healthfully indulge in this strange craving. 

First and foremost, make sure you thoroughly wash raw, whole tomatoes under clean running water to reduce the risk of foodborne illness (source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration [FDA]).

Additionally, avoid cross-contamination with raw meats, poultry, eggs, or seafood by using different knives, cutting boards, and kitchen workstations. 

Since tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and more, there is no reason to limit how much you eat. However, if you are prone to reflux, you might want to limit your daily intake.

Additionally, if you are not used to eating very much dietary fiber in your healthy diet, slowly and gradually increase the amount of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables you consume in order to avoid any uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating or diarrhea

tomato soup with pasta in a bowl

If you are craving tomato soup or tomato sauce, it is important to focus on limiting your sodium level intake. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. However, having no more than 1,500 milligrams is considered ideal for heart health. 

Look for tomato soup and sauce that state they are “Low Sodium” or have “No Added Salt.” Additionally, you could make tomato soup and sauce at home to control precisely how much salt you add in.

Some brands of tomato juice are also high in sodium, but lower salt options are available in most grocery stores. However, tomato juice removes much of the fiber you would get in a whole tomato.

Fiber is essential in slowing down digestion and absorption of the sugars in the fruit, therefore preventing large spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Fiber also helps you feel full and satisfied for longer after you eat or drink. Therefore, it’s preferable to stick with raw or whole tomatoes more often than tomato juice. 

Does Craving Tomatoes Mean I’m Having a Boy or Girl?

Some people believe that craving tomatoes during pregnancy can indicate whether you will have a boy or girl. While it can be fun to speculate and guess the sex of your unborn baby, there is, unfortunately, no evidence-based research to support this common myth.

tomatoes canned and fresh

Is Craving Tomato a Sign of Pregnancy? 

Additionally, for those who are not pregnant, you may have heard that craving tomatoes may indicate pregnancy. This claim also has no scientific backing. 

I hope this article gave you some ideas about how to safely indulge your tomato craving during month of pregnancy!